Democrats & Liberals Archives

Gotcha Politics

Yesterday there was a “debate” between Obama and Clinton with Gibson and Stephanopolous as moderators - or should I say gotcha catchers. For at least 1 hour out of the 2-hour program, both moderators kept throwing inconsequentilal questions primarily at Obama. Very little of what could be called “issues” were asked about.

Obama was aked about his "bitter" remarks, Farrakahn, a guy named Ayer from the Weather Underground, why he does not wear a lapel pin with an American flag on it (neither did anyone else on the stage), and of course, about Reverend Wright. Obama had answered these gotcha questions previously.

With respect to Rev Wright, I was startled today when I came across the following remarks by Daniel Schorr on NPR :

Who is the real patriot, willing to service his country? One such man in 1963 served two years in the Marines, then volunteered to become a Navy medical corpsman. In that capacity, he helped to care for President Johnson after his surgery in 1966. ... And who was that patriot? A young, African-American man who went on to become the pastor of a church in Chicago. That's right, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

I was startled because I have not heard this before, not in any newspaper, not on any TV show, not anywhere. You would think that the way the media has attacked both Obama and the reverend they would want to say something positive - you know, to even the playing field. The media did not do this because if they did what would happen to the "scandal"? How could there possibly be an election campaign without "scandals"?

The media follow the Republicans who are reknown for their Karl-Rove-character assassination capabilities. The Republicans have spent decades making "liberal" a dirty word. Since this caused conflict, the media followed suit. The media have reached the point where gotcha is lauded.

Conservative David Brooks gave the moderators an A for an excellent performance: the media are suppose to produce controversy and Gibson and Stephanopolous did just that. Most other Republican commentators agreed.

This type of politics is what Obama has criticized. As the Washington Post reports:

Obama was right on the money when he complained about the campaign being bogged down in media-driven inanities and obsessiveness over any misstatement a candidate might make along the way, whether in a speech or while being eavesdropped upon by the opposition. The tactic has been to "take one statement and beat it to death," he said.

I said the Republicans started gotcha politics. Yes, but Clinton is doing the same thing. She denigrates Obama every chance she gets and the media love it because it produces conflict. But it also produces polarization and hatreds and sniping and is preventing us from solving real problems. Barack Obama wants to change all this. He wants to replace non-issues with real issues, bombast with discussion and negative with positive political debate.

Barack Obama wants to replace the politics of gotcha with the politics of reason.

Posted by Paul Siegel at April 17, 2008 5:18 PM
Comments
Comment #250837

Paul:

Obama obviously wants to put his best foot forward. This is all normal vetting. He is the front runner and will only get more between now and August.

Hang on. You have a liberal newcomer to national politics for your standard bearer.

Instead of whinning about what is normal, just enjoy the ride. Take the good and the bad of your candidate. It should be quite a campaign goign forward.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 17, 2008 6:47 PM
Comment #250839
Barack Obama wants to replace the politics of gotcha with the politics of reason.
Good idea.

Perhaps the avoidance of real issues may also be due to the candidates’ voting records on the issues (www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/issues/) :

  • ISSUE # 1: 42% - Economy, Economic stimulus

  • ISSUE # 2: 21% - War in Iraq

  • ISSUE # 3: 18% - Health care
  • ISSUE # 4: 10% - Terrorism
  • ISSUE # 5: 07% - Illegal Immigration
  • ISSUE # 6: 02% - Other: Abortion, Education , Energy, Environment, Free trade, Guns, Homeland Security, Housing, Iran, Same-sex marriage, Social Security, Stem cell research, Taxes ;

  • (1) Hillary Clinton: (most unacceptable)
    • (grades.betterimmigration.com/compare.php3?District=NY&Category=0&Status=Career&VIPID=896”) illegal immigration voting record: “D-” (27%)
  • (3) Ralph Nader:
    • (ontheissues.org/Ralph_Nader.htm#Immigration) positions;

How would you rate each candidate on the top 5 issues that most Americans consider the most important issues?

  • (01) Clinton[_] , McCain[_] , Nader[_] , Obama[_] , None[_] , All[_] , NoDifference[_] : 42% - Economy

  • (02) Clinton[_] , McCain[_] , Nader[_] , Obama[_] , None[_] , All[_] , NoDifference[_] : 21% - War in Iraq

  • (03) Clinton[_] , McCain[_] , Nader[_] , Obama[_] , None[_] , All[_] , NoDifference[_] : 18% - Health care

  • (04) Clinton[_] , McCain[_] , Nader[_] , Obama[_] , None[_] , All[_] , NoDifference[_] : 10% - Terrorism

  • (05) Clinton[_] , McCain[_] , Nader[_] , Obama[_] , None[_] , All[_] , NoDifference[X] : 07% - Illegal Immigration

  • (06) Clinton[_] , McCain[_] , Nader[_] , Obama[_] , None[_] , All[_] , NoDifference[_] : 02% - Other: (Abortion, Education , Energy, Environment, Free trade, Guns, Homeland Security, Housing, Iran, Same-sex marriage, Social Security, Stem cell research, Taxes)

Hmmmmmm … it’s not very encouraging.

Therefore, whoever the next president is, the voters should not forget about Congress.
Otherwise, the next may not be able to accomplish much if saddled with the same, irresponsible, FOR-SALE, corrupt, bloated, incompetent, and wasteful Congress.
Repeatedly rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians with 93%-to-99% re-election rates certainly doesn’t seem to be working.
Also, does anyone think there’s anything strange about that prioritization (order) of issues above?

At any rate, the voters will have the government that the voters elect, and deserve.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 17, 2008 7:34 PM
Comment #250841

Not very much is known about this guy, so what do you expect? People want to know what this guy is all about, more than just knowing he’s a smooth talker.

Posted by: KAP at April 17, 2008 8:15 PM
Comment #250842

If one wants to know about someone, there are all sorts of ways to do it. Taking valuable time in a debate where issues are supposed to be aired with the kind of bullshit we heard last night was no attempt to get to know Obama. Hillary is, at once, killing her approval numbers and needlessly damaging the eventual nominee by her actions.

I was very disappointed at the lack of discussion of things that matter to me as a voter. Rule of thumb; if you need to disparage the other guy rather than tout your own virtues in an election, you’re pretty darn desperate. At least Obama didn’t stoop to her level.He could have, had he chose to, torn her a new one on the Bosnia “sniper fire” issue. Good on him for not doing so. And the “moderators”? Aye aye aye!! If this is the “normal” way that candidates are vetted, I’d hate to see an extreme vetting.I seriously doubt that the general election will be one bit worse for Obama.

Posted by: steve miller at April 17, 2008 8:31 PM
Comment #250843

IMHO the biggest “gotcha” moment was when Mr. Gibson asked Senator Obama about raising the capital gains tax and Senator Obama apparently had no clue as to what happenes when the rate is cut or raised.

Gibson: “You said on CNBC, and I quote, “I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28%.” It’s now 15%. That’s almost a doubling, if you went to 28%. But actually Bill Clinton in 1997 signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20%. And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28%, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that a hundred million people in this country own stock and would be affected?”


Senator Obama: “I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. We saw an article today which showed that the top, uh, 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year, $29 billion for 50 individuals. And part of what has happened, uh, is that those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. That’s not fair.”

Mr. Gibson: “But history shows that when you drop the capital gains tax, the revenues go up.”

Senator Obama: “Well, uh, uh, uh, that might happen, or it might not. It depends on what’s happening on Wall Street and how business is going.”

I have several problems with Senator Obama’s answers:

1. “I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.” How is it fair to reduce the amount of money coming into the federal coffers in a time when both those on the left and right can agree that balancing the budget and reducing the national debt should be THE top priority for our nation? Is trying to soak a few of the rich worth decreasing revenues in a financial crisis? Did this work by something similar with the AMT?

A) If capital gains rates are raised by nearly double, one would have a lot less incentive to invest in companies via stocks. Companies would less revenue to operate with and would struggle to expand. Most would have to contract into core buisnesses, causing a loss in jobs(at the very least a loss in NEW jobs). This helps the economy how? Would he be willing to cut spending by the same amount so that raising the capital gains tax rate is revenue neutral? PAYGO anyone?

B) People at retirement age who are heavily invested in their 401k would be facing the option of retiring with up 14% less money, or work for several more years just to make up the difference of the capital gains rate. This is not some far fetched scenario that I have dreamed up. I work at a major chemical company that has a reputation for good pay and benefits. In upper east Tennessee, we are THE company to work for. As a maintenance mechanic, my base salary in in the $55k range and $100k is not out of the queation for those that choose 1000 hours of overtime. We employ roughly 8,000 directly and another 4,000 contractors. Roughly 40% of our workforce is eligible to retire and most are heavily invested in the market through our 401k program. Please explain to me why they should lose their retirements due to the “raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.” Not to raise revenue for the federal government, not to balance the federal budget, not to save Social Security, but FOR THE PURPOSE OF FAIRNESS!

2. IMHO, Senator Obama was presented with data that was in direct conflict with his policies. Not only was he not able to bring facts or figures to support his policies, he totally dismissed and sidestepped that which he was confronted with as out of hand. When confronted with historical facts that have been repeated his reply was “Well, uh, uh, uh, that might happen, or it might not. It depends on what’s happening on Wall Street and how business is going”. The example provided used a Democratic President’s policy and therefore disabled the partisan attacks/defences, and the Senator that promises to bridge the gap, to unite the country, to end partisan bickering, to change the way politics in Washington are carried out, AND to solve the problems of America, could not even state that he would consider any alternatives to his policies that are based on facts nor refute the facts presented.

I have may more disagreements with Senator Obama’s policies. I was watching the debate with the intent of examinating policy. I learned a lot. IMHO he and Senator Clinton were blessed with the moderators for the fact that neither could handle the policy questions well and they will get a pass due to people trying to dimminish the debate by focusing on anything but the answers to substantial questions. It appears to be happening already.

Posted by: submarinesforever at April 17, 2008 8:52 PM
Comment #250846

Until last night the Dem candidates had all the soft ball questions and were scared to death to debate on Fox with hard questions. Now we understand why, they can’t stand the heat.

I am sure many of you recall those great probing questions asked in the debate that featured u-tube questioners. Boy, wasn’t that just great, what kind of shorts does Obama wear and, will Bill be planning the state dinners and arranging the flowers. I didn’t hear any complaints from y’all then. Get over it…or not. There’s lots more coming. Grow a thicker hide or don’t watch and listen. It’s hardball politics suitable only for the strong.

Question! Would BC have been elected if voters had known more about his character and nefarious ways? No, I think not and it is just one example of why we need to see the candidate…warts and all. After the election it’s too late. Should Obama be elected president he deserves to have a chance without all this shit coming to light and preventing him from doing his best. Let’s find out everything negative now so he can govern, if elected, without the baggage.

What thinking American wants to elect a person president and then spend four years embroiled in breaking news about that persons past which is just coming to light?

The last minute revelation of GW’s DUI was probably just fine with many of you and the timing was rather suspicious. Wouldn’t you rather have Obama’s warts on display now, rather than a week before the general election?

Truman said it best, if you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen.

Posted by: Jim M at April 17, 2008 9:09 PM
Comment #250847

Paul Siegel, steve miller, I couldn’t agree more.

Last nights “debate” was without a doubt the very WORST, most ham-handed attempt I have ever seen in my entire life. Gibson and Stephanopolous just removed any claim to professionalism they might have had by spending most of the time on tabloid-esque questions, rather than many substantive issues and presidential policies.

It seemed like nothing but a National Enquirer-style hit job from start to finish. Mostly the hit job was being directed full force against Obama, but they managed to hit Clinton a couple of times, too. (Although I noticed Hillary was lucky enough for them to completely overlook Penn and Bill’s Columbia connections.)

ABC should have advertised it as the Republican Debate, since the whole exercise was to humiliate Democrats.

Amazingly, Obama still came off dignified and classy throughout the entire disaster, which I consider no small feat!
And yes, Clinton was in full Clownton mode. At this point, her whole campaign is about framing everything from a Republican perspective, painting the GOP slime machine as an all powerful monster, and attacking Obama with her Rovian “kitchen sink.”
Absurd. Pathetic. Disgraceful.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at April 17, 2008 9:27 PM
Comment #250849

To all of you:

I of course have a totally different take. Remember that no matter what neither candidate is going to win enough delegates to win the nomination.

That means the battle is really not for you guys at all, or the voters in Penn. Rather, the debate if for the superdelegates Right?

Here is the email all of you evidently receive.

From: Superdelates

To: George Step on all of us

IE: Tonight’s debate.

I am an undecided superdelagate. I understand clearly where each candidate stands on the issues but am wondering about electibility. Could you please pick the four issues that you believe the Republicans are going to bring up and hit them hard with them, so we as superdelegates can see how they might react in the fall?

We have nothing to loose, because surely these same points will be brought up later by the Republicans. At a minimum it will give our candidates practice dealing with it on national tv before the general election.

Thank you,

undecided superdelagate.

If you had gotten the above memo/email you would have understood last night’s debate. It might have been written by Howard Dean himself.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 17, 2008 9:40 PM
Comment #250850

The game the media and the politicians are playing is this: instead of doing actual research and coming up with issues of substance that might- God forbid - inform or transform the debate, they are lazily following and compounding the most inane subjects. I mean, flag pins, for crying out loud. I could understand if somebody dug up Obama burning a flag. Then he’d have something to apologize for. But flag pins? Which half the time his persecutors on the subject are too dumb to wear themselves?

I don’t know, but it occurs to me that if we want to have real character debates about our candidates, it might be useful to base them on somthing like real issues, their own behavior, and associations which actually matter to their professional lives.

Like say, McCain, and the massive amounts of lobbyists around him. Or if we’re going to talk about crazy preachers, let’s ask about his campaign director, Charlie Black, essentially arranging a coronation for South Korean cult leader Reverend Moon (owner of the Washington Times) As the World’s Messiah in the Senate Office Building.

Or we could stick to the fact that he was, until a week or two ago, the leader of his own lobbyist firm at the same time as he was running McCain’s campaign from the Fricking Straight Talk Express.

Of course, there’s an explanation for this. There has to be. There must be. John “I hate Washington Corruption” McCain couldn’t possibly be consorting with lobbyists, much less employing more of them Hillary and Rudy Giuliani combined. Excuse me while I rehearse my “Darth Vader My Father?!?!” scream of the word “No.”

This is vetting the way an initiatory beating to get into a gang is vetting, and it reflects just as well on the character of those administering it.

Look, first, lets not call it vetting. Vetting is friendly. You vet a vice presidential candidate for your own nominee in order to make sure you’re not making the Anti-Christ his running mate. It’s meant to be helpful. It’s the opposite of trying to ruin somebody’s candidacy, which to be blunt is Hillary’s strategy.

And McCain? Republicans better hope he’s not trying to be helpful to Obama. And I don’t think he is.

These people are rivals, and they are not friendly rivals. Hillary sticks the knife in without hesitation. And I think she pays for it.

However much Obama sweated in the debate, he was quick to give an iconic response to the BS of that debate: The Brush off. (just wait for it, it’s a great moment) And people liked that.

The truth is, there are a lot of people who just feel that crap is stupid, and it’s thrilling for them to see a candidate agree, not go through the timid motions that all too many have gone through of excusing this focus on trivial errors in words, casual associations to various undesirables, and condemnation of positions majorities of Americans hold.

That’s part of Barack Obama’s appeal: he seems more in touch with the real world of politics than that insular subset of politics that surrounds the political elites. He can talk plainly to an audience and impress them with his intelligence and logic, his character and charisma, rather than read the laundry list of focus-grouped phrases that seems mandatory for politicians nowadays.

The audience has moved on in a way that many politicians are not yet savvy to.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 17, 2008 9:49 PM
Comment #250851

Craig Holmes-
Screw electability. Electability is issues trying to rise to the level of disqualification, that on their own have no such strength. Gaffes, Flag Pins, the dead horse that is the Rev. Wright issue, not to mention a fresh turd passed on by Stephanopolos from none other than Hannity himself. Jeez, Obama had some dealings with a radical. Send him packing now. Now. Now, I tell you. Now for the love of all that is good.

YAAAWN.

Screw electability. That’s pointless navel gazing about crap that may or may not matter to some people down the line

Try Qualifications. Try competence. Try broad popular appeal. Try loyalty to the party. Try novel questions about foreign policy, domestic policy, stuff that actually took some preparation. It would be nice to get some decent geeks and wonks together and come up with some questions that make people think about more than how to word their answers.

Which brings me to a final point: this style of politics encourages situations where you get these pathological liars or sociopaths who can get up there and convincingly put up a front. Nobody can be perfect enough, free enough of questionable associations to win under most conditions.

It doesn’t protect us, really. It’s the easiest damn thing in the world to tell people what they want to hear. It just becomes a numb ritual of recitation of the focus-group approved BS.

The trouble is, this becomes their world, and they become hesitant to deal with or speak about the real world. Electability. It’s like judging whether a person goes to heaven based on whether they crossed themselves precisely the right way.

I want to elect a president because I figure he’s got the right stuff to do it, and I believe it’s a hell of a lot more complicated than just trying to pry points of vulnerability from little verbal quibbles.

As somebody familiar with communication theory, let me tell you something: you can make an attack out of practically anything. People are creative, so not only can candidates lie their way smoothly out of difficult issues, but people can make difficult issues out of minor BS.

I think we get trapped into narrow thinking when we let that kind of navel-gazing interpretation and reinterpretation determine our elections. Worse, things get onto the knife’s edge of being arbitrary to the facts.

We need to step back and consider the merits of the situation, to exercise judgment, rather than be led around by the nose by talking points.

In short, we need to get off of politics on auto-pilot, and start taking control of things for ourselves.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 17, 2008 10:18 PM
Comment #250852
At least Obama didn’t stoop to her level

Neither did Ron Paul!

Ron Paul is the most secure candidate this election has to offer. He’s no friend of corporate government. He’s no friend of business as usual. He’s known as Doctor NO! No to abuses of the constitution by the government. If your media outlet isn’t covering Ron Paul’s campaign then ask them why they’re not!

When I was a kid they told me I could be anything I wanted to be. Ron Paul is in his sixties and the government and the media are still telling him his future.
Is that the end of the American Dream..?
Use your primary vote in your state to gather Ron Paul Delegates.
Make sure your vote is counted. Make sure it’s documented.
Everybody loves a check stub, but we don’t want/or can’t get a receipt for our vote.
Change that!

Posted by: Weary Willie at April 17, 2008 10:26 PM
Comment #250853

Stephen:

Naw. Obama needed to be seen handling those things. You are going to get hit with patriotism, patriotism, patriotism this fall.

From my side of the debate, Obama keeps handing amunition. Why in the world he didn’t salute the flag is beyond stupid.

Patriotism is so important among blue caller workers.

These issues are very important to the rank and file. He has really blown is in the most bazarre stupid areas.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 17, 2008 10:55 PM
Comment #250854

On the brush off BS, it’s just more elitism. BHO definitely sets a new record for using as many words and taking the most time to say as little as possible. In NC, he will apparently be slipping into his southern Hawaii accent, although his whole family is from Kansas according to his statements last night, and he has only lived in Hawaii, California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts. He says he wants to talk about health care, jobs, and Iraq, and then says nothing about any of those things. It looks more like he just wants to talk about talking.

?”just wait for it, it’s a great moment”?, only to a cult member. I thought it was more interesting when his middle finger when up to his face when he was talking about HRC.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 17, 2008 11:01 PM
Comment #250855

You really think this election is about policy? For the media or the candidates?

This election does not and will not have anything to do with policy until September. Oh, to be sure, there will be some sniping between the Dems and McCain some issues. But until the Dem Convention it will be about who (Clinton or Obama) can get the other to say something stupid. That’s been the entire focus of the Pennsylvania Primary campaign for both candidates. They’re both doing a pretty good job, I might add (Hillery has the upper hand, especially after last night).

The networks, of course, see this as a political-themed reality show, and for the most part they’re right. Clinton and Obama agree on a lot and when they disagree it’s usually on pretty boring side-points of little consequence. Remember when they “discussed” their health care “differences” in the debate a few months back? A boring debate and even more boring TV.

So the networks lower themselves to the level of the candidates and fill the “debate” with personality-related crap. People stayed awake last night and the late-night comedy shows will get a few more viewers tonight.

How naive do you have to be to expect something different in this day and age?

Posted by: TheTraveler at April 17, 2008 11:03 PM
Comment #250859

First off-Ron Paul is a racist.

I too abhor the way the media delights in beating to death nonissues. With that said Barack has had a free ride until now. He has been the darling of the media for all these months. It was only a matter of time until they tired of him and began treating him the way they have been treating Hillary since day one. It is dishearting and I am sure frustrating to him but its best he gets a feel for the lay of the land now so he will be better prepared if he gets the nomination-cause what happened the other night is child’s play compared to what the republicans will do. You can see it starting now all the talk about him being liberal. Well folks I say bring it on. People are becoming less and less scared of the liberal and more and more afraid of the conservative. I say BE LIBERAL, BE PROUD!!!!!

Posted by: Craolina at April 18, 2008 8:31 AM
Comment #250860

The one thing that bothered me the most in recent days was when Obama said, ‘Shame on you, Hillary.’

He said she should know better than to attack a fellow Democrat.
Why can’t people of the same party point out the faults of another in their party? It should be a good thing. Just because you put a letter after your name doesn’t mean you are the right person to represent a party.

Makes me wonder what Hill & Bill know about Obama that we don’t. Why would the two of them risk blowing apart the dem party and losing the white house?
Is it because they believe it’s their last shot at the WH? or is there more to it?
Obama was a ‘token’ candidate and should never have made it this far? …and they are just ticked?

His stumbling to search for the ‘right answers’ to questions is a problem.
Does he not know the answer?
Is he trying to answer in political speak as not to offend, or to be locked into a response?
Has he gone farther than he himself expected and is showing that he isn’t really comfortable in his own positions? Has his tour of America given him a perspective different than when he began? He was ‘protected’ from a variety of Americans while living in his ‘political cocoon’ in Illinois.
Could he actually be growing and maturing before our eyes? He just doesn’t know how to say he has changed because he fears losing the followers he has amassed?

Anyone who wants to be the leader of our country would have taken the pulpit at that church and put an end to the hate speech. He would have said that it is a good thing to help uplift the community but NOT in the way it is being done.
He didn’t have the strength to do that or he believes what is being preached. Either way, those are two good reasons he won’t get my vote.

Posted by: Dawn at April 18, 2008 9:09 AM
Comment #250868

submarinesforever, thank you very much for your reasoned comments. Nearly everyone agrees that the economy is issue #1 and Obama clearly revealed he doesn’t have a clue as to how it works.

We need more questions on the economy and real answers.

I say BE LIBERAL, BE PROUD!!!!!
Posted by: Craolina at April 18, 2008 08:31 AM

Right on Craolina…I can’t wait for the Democrat nominee to say at his/her acceptance speech, “I am a liberal and will nominate liberal judges and pursue liberal policies of big-spending and big government.”

Posted by: Jim M at April 18, 2008 11:52 AM
Comment #250872

“I can’t wait for the Democrat nominee to say at his/her acceptance speech, “I am a liberal and will nominate liberal judges and pursue liberal policies of big-spending and big government.””

Hmmmmm? Why won’t the leftist nominee just come out and say this?
All we hear is how America is a liberal country (except for the very few of us who “cling” to silly rights) and that they really want liberal policy, so why don’t the liberal candidates scream “be liberal, be proud?”

Is their silence, as with most things, the rights fault?
OR
Is it because that truth would be the biggest Gotcha!

Posted by: kctim at April 18, 2008 12:46 PM
Comment #250878

Jim M-
When dealing with the complexities of the market, it’s foolish to get so reductionist. Relatively higher capital gains taxes won’t necessarily discourage those who want to make money from trying to make it.

As for your hypothetical about what a candidate would say, there are two things I would share with you.

First, just how do you Republicans plan to distinguish yourself on this subject, given the Bush administration’s drunken sailor performance, and McCain’s failure to stop any of it?

Second, I don’t know many Democrats, even ardent liberals, who run on such cariactured grounds. Sure, they’ll nominate judges to the bench who follow their politics, and there will be plenty of Democrats who would applaud such an announcement, but only in the highly distorted world of the Republican echo chamber are Democrats truly ideologically aligned to excessive Bureacracy and fiscal indiscipline.

I’m for government that works. I’m willing to do what it takes to get that. Size in and of itself isn’t my concern, unless it hinders the functionality of government. I would reduce bloat, but I wouldn’t starve an agency of so much manpower that it can’t do its job. I would raise taxes to the level necessary to pay for the government we agree to as a nation. I wouldn’t mind, though, making some of the tax hikes unnecessary by cutting unnecessary, wasteful spending. I have no quarrel, to say the least, with those who want greater efficiency, because after all, I’m for government that works, and the better government works for the tax dollars we give it, the resources it has, the better that purpose is served.

The truth is, I don’t mind the market regulating itself somewhat, so long as it really does so. I’m not of the “Magic Market Fairy Make Pony!” school of regulation.

We’re dealing with a complex society here, with no absolute answers to what the right course is. That is my realistic position, and I feel it’s much less naive than the absolutist philsophies that seem to dominate the right.

Craig Holmes-
What was the old adage? Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels. Plenty of scoundrels, in the public’s sight, have excused their actions based on a love of their country, and people are understandably wary and weary of such.

As much as the Republicans have appealed to patriotism, they’ve gutted America’s morale, undermined our faith in our society. They’ve lead us into a losing war, repeating the failures we thought we’d put behind us in Vietnam. People have seen the promise of shared prosperity turned into the reality of horded wealth at the top.

And they get the sense, as they ask folks to get things under control, that the people in charge are only interested in helping those who are benefiting from this degenerated state of affairs.

The great thing is to have somebody acknowledge things are bad, at the very least, even if they don’t promise much in the way of specifics. And Obama’s promised his share of specifics.

People get the sense that he’s a game-changer. Best of all, he doesn’t just talk like one, which Hillary’s learned to do, as well as McCain, he shows himself capable of manuevering around and reorganizing the political world that surrounds him. One might complement Hillary on her debate performance, but if Hillary were in Barack’s position, would she have have had the capability to do what Barack has done?

People see what he’s done, and hear what he has to say. His is a view that reflects a strong internal pride in this country, one reflected in how much faith he puts in his fellow Americans. For the first time in a long time, somebody in this contest is running not on pushing the buttons of a select group of people and ignoring everybody else, but on a broader-based, more personal style of campaigning.

If his had been Kerry, it would have been a problem, because Kerry would have kept the issue alive by completely backing off on it. Barack, instead, has treated these gotcha games with what little respect that actually deserve. Some might claim that elitist, but when the average person agrees that something is stupid, it’s not elitist, it’s electrifying. It’s wonderful to see a candidate recognize that what you care about is what deserves true priority. People dont’ care about gaffes nearly as much as the media would like us to believe, especially when our real problems are so infuriatingly front and center.

The real elitism is this belief among these people that they don’t need to ask the average person what they’re concerned about before they go around answering for them. The real elitism is believing that the lowest common denominator is the best you can expect out of people. In more comfortable times, we could afford such cynicism, but Americans have woken up to the fact that they want more, and they’re asking for it, from themselves and the elites running our country.

As for the flag salute? It is true that he did not put his hand over his heart for the national anthem, but conservative Philly radio host Michael Smerconish noted that his hands are at his side when he sings it at public events. It’s the pledge that requires you to put your hand over your heart, and that Barack Obama hasn’t been observed not to do.

I go into that to illustrate to you how foolish some of these debates are. You should have been at the Texas Senate District Convention I was at a couple weeks ago. If you were there, you would know this: Democrats believe in this country as strongly as any Republican. There’s just not the same sense of entitlement to badmouth other’s patriotism that’s present among the Republicans.

ohrealy-
Elitism is occupying the first 45 minutes of a debate with issues only political junkies care much about, while issues pressing on people, especially in Pennsylvania, were neglected. What are the priorities here, playing games, or answering people’s questions.

If folks were taking the time and doing the research, they could come up with interesting, compelling questions that had some substance. Instead, we get a rehash of the manufactured controversies of the last month. Wow. Color me impressed.

As for your cult member comment? I have a candidate who is a compelling figure to follow. I take joy in his victories, frustration in his troubles.

Yes, I’m willingly giving up some of my autonomy. Why? Because he hasn’t, like Clinton has to so many of her supporters, given folks reason to become alienated. He’s talented, he’s devoted plenty of time to talking about the specifics of the issues, and he is moving with and for, not against, the kind of movement we have going on in politics among us Democrats, a movement I think has much better chance of giving Democrats long-term political good fortune than this timid style of politics than has been on prominent display since 2002.

As for middle finger? I’ve seen my grandfather use the same figure when scratching his nose. I hardly think he’s flipping people the birdy. But go on. The fact that you’re finding things to attack him in apparent hand gestures is indicative of how little you have to attack him on elsewhere. Petty crap does not get emphasized when real differences exist that can be exploited.

The Traveler-
Hillary does not have the upperhand. Pennsylvania is a firewall. If it’s close, or it goes to Obama, it really doesn’t benefit her.

As for expectations? It all depends on what you will accept. When we accept the worst from people on a consistent basis, things become a race to the bottom. If we decide to have standards and act on them, then maybe folks take better notice of what we want. If we don’t apply the pressure, we won’t get the results.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 18, 2008 1:21 PM
Comment #250879

submarinesforever,
Great post. The issue about revenue and raising taxes hit Obama right where he is weakest- in his brain.

There is an inverse relationship between Capital gains tax rates and capital gains tax revenue precisely because the rates substantially supress liquidity in the market. That means nothing to Obama, who simply wants to be seen hurting the hated “rich”. Point out the inconsistency in his stated and actual goals an you have forced him to think.

He appears not to handle that sort of stress well.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 18, 2008 1:25 PM
Comment #250881

Okay, I edited this out before, but since people are complementing submarinesforever, I will add:

“major chemical company that has a reputation for good pay and benefits. In upper east Tennessee”, perhaps Eastman Chemical, submarinesforever? A major polluter, chemical weapons producer, and government contractor? Corporate welfare recipient? Acetic anhydride producer?(used in production of heroin, and regulated by the DEA)

Chemical company rang a bell for me, since I am well acquainted with another one, which was still producing nerve gas for our government, after we signed treaties against it.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 18, 2008 1:35 PM
Comment #250883

Many on this site are advocating higher corporate taxes and I believe that is the position of HC and may be that of BO as well. Rep. Charles Rangel, the New York democrat who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee has proposed cutting the corporate income tax in the name of global competitiveness. This is according to the April 21st issue of U.S. News and World Report in an article titled “The Return of Big Government”.

Apparently Charlie understands the need for global competitiveness better than the candidates.

Obama obviously doesn’t understand how tax reductions increase tax revenues as Charlie Gibson pointed out in his question to Obama. Obama stumbled and muttered but couldn’t answer the question. Very revealing on the number one concern of Americans in this election.

And to think they laugh at John McCain for saying that economics is not his strong suit. Hell, they’re not even in the game.

Posted by: Jim M at April 18, 2008 1:50 PM
Comment #250890

On the complexities of the market, if people didn’t invest in the stock market, they might try opening up their own businesses, or do something more useful to our economy than investing in anonymous multi-national companies in an exchange run by professional gamblers, and manipulated by the operators.

“political junkies” you mean like Kossackers.
“Petty crap” like the brush off, for which you sung his praises. The BHO supporters make less and less sense, having some kind of strange double-standard for their candidate. I’ve looked into this candidate pretty seriously, and there is not much there. Bobby Rush is more qualified to be President than him.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 18, 2008 2:35 PM
Comment #250893

The Republicans all too often look at things in terms of the economic elite, and base their notions of what good policy is around their needs. They look at things in terms of investment, but forget that such money needs a source.

We are our corporations’ biggest customers. The American economy is a consumer economy. However, the elitist economic policy of the Republicans has allowed the pay of the few rich to skyrocket, while the rest of us have seen a decline in real wages, adjusted for inflation.

The way these things balance is through credit card debt and other kinds of debt creation. What we once saved up for, we now charge or finance via mortgage lenders, student loans, and auto financing.

Serving their special interests, people in Washington, Republicans and Democrats alike have allowed speculators and privatizers to go in and create situations where commodities are traded up, giving the financial institutions more money.

This has the double effect of passing more money to the rich, and taking more money from the average person.

The trouble with the arrangement of our markets as of today, is that they’re geared to maximize what people will pay, relying on easy credit and debt financing to cover the shortfall created by stingy labor practices and the assorted costs of healthcare and other necessties made more expensive by special-interest friendly legislation and regulation. That could not continue forever, and has not, and the market is being punished by negative growth for effectively sticking the consumers, engine of this economy, in this position.

Because Republicans and their allies among the Democrats have heeded your folk’s definition of what is wise, America has an albatross around its neck concerning its economic situation. The recent credit crunch and housing market collapse is just the beginning.

But go on, congratulate yourself on how competitive low corporate taxes have made us, and how much our hundreds of billions of dollars in deficit spending is doing for inflation and for funding our competitor’s economic advantage over us.

Do us all a favor: stow the voodoo economics. You can’t get something for nothing. You can’t squeeze people dry and indebt them for the rest, and expect them to go out and enthusiastically spend forever. The magic market fairy will not make a pony for you to ride into the sunset with.

Economics is about making a system that actually works, about regulating things so that people know what’s valuable, what’s not, and can get a good price for good products and services. Good economics takes into account the fact that economies do not dwell in a vacuum. Attention must be paid to economic justice, or otherwise, the engine of the economy will strip its gears, and productivity will be impossible to maintain.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 18, 2008 2:54 PM
Comment #250900

Stephen:

I of course disagree. I think patriotism is an important issue. Expecially for middle america.
Chris Matthews quoted an old friend as saying, Patriotism is so important to the working class because that is all they have.

You will see picture after picture this fall of Obama not saluting the flag, no lapel pin, Michelle saying she is only now proud of her country, God D@mn America.

Basically what this is saying is the Obama does not share values with average Americans. Average Americans who carry a lunch bucket salute the flag. They are very proud of our country. They have always been proud of our country.

What is strange to me is why Obama would be so dumb as to create this issue. How hard is it to put your hand over your heart?

It is an issue you will have to deal with. Those of us who get watery eyed when “God Bless America” is sung, have concerns.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 18, 2008 3:55 PM
Comment #250901

Obama will make the world love us and give you free healthcare, so your concerns are silly Craig.
Stop clinging to them.

Posted by: kctim at April 18, 2008 4:11 PM
Comment #250902

Stephen:

This whole “gotcha” thing boils down to Obama being an out of the mainstream liberal. It’s a classic election. It is why Republicans dominate the presidential race.

The energy in your party is liberal. The country is not!! So in your primaries you nominate liberal candidates instead of moderate ones. (Generally speaking).

What is happening right now with “gotcha” is simply that Obama is being shown for what he is.
Of course he wants to “transend” and get rid of the “old politics” it’s his/your only chance of victory.

Why in the world you would hope/expect the right to change tactics when you are nominating another Dukakis/Mcgovern/Kerry/Mondale is crazy planning and thinking. It’s pretty stupid.

What is happening now is going to be your life until November.

I hope one day one of your liberal candidate will say “I’m a liberal, but will govern from the middle. Here is my record as a Govenor to look at, you can see that moderates were a large part of my cabinet”.

You have to lead from a coalition. There just aren’t enough intellectual liberals around .

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 18, 2008 4:18 PM
Comment #250903

lets see obama is more interested in punishing those evil hedge fund managers than continuing a policy that has resulted in higher cap gains revenue to the treasury. at least he’s got his priorities straight.

he intentionaly chooses not to wear a flag pin on his collar. this is an interesting statement.

he associates with a known domestic terrorist, and a racist pastor, whom he has allowed his wife and children to be exposed to every sunday.

sure is silly to see time waisted on such un important, and trivial subjects. after all, all he wants to do is be president of the united states.

Posted by: dbs at April 18, 2008 4:21 PM
Comment #250904

ya know, after getting control of congress in the last election cycle, you guys had a real good shot at the white house. unfortunately you’ve choosen these two extreme left wing candidates, with more baggage than a frequent flier, neihter of whom are qualified to be president, to represent your party. as much as i don’t like john mc cain, i figure as long as he doesn’t crap himself in public, he should beat either one of those clowns without much problem. what a waisted opportunity, you had plenty to choose from, and this is the best you could do ?

Posted by: dbs at April 18, 2008 4:32 PM
Comment #250906

It’s actually might be very very sad. Much like the New England Patriots. It’s about expectations.

Liberals have had such high expectations. Wow with Iraq and Bush’s job approval ratings, this looked like they could stroll to the whitehouse.

Obama could still win, but as per the last month’s revelations he will be dodging and weaving, and not strolling.

I think Obama looses to McCain by 5%.

He peaked just before the SNL skit. That was when someone said “hold up the parade, the emperor is wearing no clothes!!”

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 18, 2008 4:50 PM
Comment #250910

Gotcha…

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows John McCain leading Barack Obama, 48% to 42%. The presumptive Republican nominee also leads Hillary Clinton 50% to 41%.

Just 68% of Democrats say they would vote for Obama against McCain. Twenty-three percent (23%) would vote for the Republican, 5% for a third-party option, and 4% are undecided. Clinton attracts 71% of Democrats. In that match-up, 21% would vote for McCain, 4% say they would vote for some other candidate, and another 4% are undecided. McCain attracts 85% of Republicans against Clinton, 82% against Obama, and leads both Democrats by double digits among unaffiliated voters.

McCain is viewed favorably by 56% and unfavorably by 41%. Obama’s ratings are 47% favorable and 51% unfavorable. For Clinton, those numbers are 43% favorable, 55% unfavorable

That last one is remarkable IMO.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 18, 2008 5:51 PM
Comment #250912

The liberals need a good radio talk show to compete with conservatives. I don’t understand why George Soros and MoveON.org can’t come up with a great host and something to talk about that will have broad appeal. Oh, wait, liberalism doesn’t have great appeal to the majority even if George Clooney or some other hollynut were the host.

All the millions of Soros, MOveOn and the bloggers contributing to the liberal cause can’t overcome Rush, Hannity, Beck, Boortz and many others who spread conservatism to the masses daily. I just love being brain-washed by these hosts.

Posted by: Jim M at April 18, 2008 6:09 PM
Comment #250913

As for what I said above about McCain winning by 5%.

Now for sure tomorrow it will come out that McCain is linked to some strange right wing robe wearing, terrorist group.

This should be an interesting campaign.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 18, 2008 6:27 PM
Comment #250915

Carolina:

Barack has had a free ride until now. He has been the darling of the media for all these months.

No, Obama hasn’t had anything close to a free ride since at least Super Tuesday. Hillary is the one who has gotten a free ride and no vetting — because she was “inevitable.” Indeed, she is still getting a free ride, because they’re still treating this like a horserace, long after it’s clear that she has lost the nomination, and long after she shamelessly started trying to destroy our candidate using Republican tactics and talking points.

It was only a matter of time until they tired of him and began treating him the way they have been treating Hillary since day one.

Yeah, right. Boo Hoo, everybody has picked on Hillary! All of them should have just shut up, because she was supposed to have earned her inevitable status and the nomination without any challenges whatsoever!

It is dishearting and I am sure frustrating to him but its best he gets a feel for the lay of the land now so he will be better prepared if he gets the nomination

Actually, I think Hillary has stolen all of their thunder during this primary season. Because she’s used everything on him she, or they, could pull from the Rovian Big Bag of Dirty Tricks.

cause what happened the other night is child’s play compared to what the republicans will do.

This sounds exactly like the crap that Hillary has been saying. Oooh, “What the Republicans Will Do” plays directly into the idea that they’re all powerful and that our messages are weak. It just isn’t true.
I think at this point we should stop acting like we’re about to piss our pants every time we think of what “they might do.” Instead, we should be smirking well in advance of what’s only to be expected — since we know damn well that when it comes to delivering the “liberal bogeyman” message the GOP has about as much subtlety, decency, and class as a troupe of professional mud wrestlers.


You can see it starting now all the talk about him being liberal. People are becoming less and less scared of the liberal and more and more afraid of the conservative.

By lying about liberals and liberalism for years, the GOP tried to turn them into dirty words. Unfortunately, Liberals allowed it to happen. Rather than stand up for ourselves, too many of us started using “progressive” instead. Giant mistake. It’s taken a few years, but tough liberals who don’t have it in them to act like wimps never stopped using that term in the first place. Slowly over time, other liberals began to notice that was the case. Now, almost all of us are embracing the term once again. It’s about time.

The Neocons, with their crookedness, secrecy, and incompetence have almost completely destroyed the Republican brand. This is why several of McCain’s advertisements (at least so far) haven’t even featured the word Republican!

I say BE LIBERAL, BE PROUD!!!!!

Damn Right.


Craig, dbs,

You’re trying to frame the issue of Obama’s supposed “lack of patriotism” to suit a Republican frame. But in fact, you’re not even talking about actual patriotism with that crap, you’re talking about a bunch of ridiculous trappings that have been defined as symbols of patriotism by the GOP.

Every time I hear people mentioning the sheer blithering stupidity of the supposed grave importance of wearing a dumb-ass lapel flag pin, it makes me want to vomit.
Not the least of which is due to the fact that they’re all MADE in CHINA, rather than by Americans for Americans.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at April 18, 2008 6:44 PM
Comment #250916

Jim M, Lee Jaminson:
Thank you for the kind words.

ohrealy:

First of all, thanks for doing your homework. I tried to include enough information that anyone with five minutes to google could find out where I work. You are correct that I work for Eastman Chemical Company. I must say unequivically that I am in no capacity qualified, entrusted or permitted to speak on behalf of Eastman Chemical Company, nor am I attempting to. ALL views expressed by me are my own and should NOT be construed as an Eastman position.

For anyone interested, a starting point for information about the company I work for can be found at wikipedia. We are a superfund company.

Now to your post. You said,” major chemical company that has a reputation for good pay and benefits. In upper east Tennessee”, perhaps Eastman Chemical, submarinesforever? A major polluter, chemical weapons producer, and government contractor? Corporate welfare recipient? Acetic anhydride producer?(used in production of heroin, and regulated by the DEA)”. Before I answer your question lines, I ask you the purpose of the questions. IMHO you set forth a series of questions that appear to me as accusatory. Are you accusing the company I work for of producing illegal substances? Are you trying to paint the company as just pure evil? What is the purpose and point you are trying to make? Please clarify the intentions of the questions you raised(I can be very crass, but I want to respond in an appropriate manner to you).

Now to the substance of your questions:
1. Major polluter? I work at a superfund company.
2. Chemical weapons producer? Not that I am aware of, but I believe in the past we may have been. But for the sake of the arguement and time, if I stipulate that we currently do produce chemical weapons, so what? Please show me some relevence to the point in question.
3. Government contractor? I am not aware of any government contracts. We produce few finnished products. Mostly we produce raw materials for others to finnish, but would it matter for this discussion if we hold government contracts? Which contracts would be relevent?
4. Corporate welfare recipient? Please give me your definition of this term and I will try to give you a complete answer.
5. Acetic anhydride producer?(used in production of heroin, and regulated by the DEA)? IMHO this is the most accustory question you have asked. We do produce acetic anhydride. Do you think, or are you implying that we are either producing heroin, or supporting the illegal heroin manufacturing? I am really curious as to what you are implying here. This chemical is used to produce many things from aspirin to film to plastics. Like many other chemicals, it may be used to produce various end products. Are you accusing me of aiding the illict drug trade by working at a chemical company?

I am not supprised by an ad hominem line of questions raised in response to policy points that I presented. However, I would like to ask you a series of questions, and hope that you will be at least be as honest and direct in your answers as I tried to be.

1. Who, in upper east Tennessee, has provided more quality jobs than Eastman?
2. Who, in upper east Tennessee, has provided a better quality and quantity of benefits for it’s workers than Eastman?
3. Who, in upper east Tennessee, has provided more earnings potential for blue collar workers than Eastman?
4. Who, in upper east Tennessee, has retired more blue collar millionaires in the age bracket of 55-65?
5. Who, in upper east Tennessee, is a better corporate citizen than Eastman?

My question about the position of Senator Obama on raising the capital gains tax is valid and he could neither refute the facts presented to him nor could he acknowledge that he would be able to investigate the facts on his position, form an opinion and reach a concensus that did not meet his prejudged political position. To put it another way, he could not prove he was correct AND he could not allow that he was wrong. When confronted that his position may hurt “100 million common workers”, he brushed that idea aside and said it was in the intrest of fairness. I ask you specifically, and anyone in general, how is it fair to take fourteen or more percent of a blue collar workers retirement and in the process decrease the federal revenue in a time that deficit spending and national debt are not only a priorty, but a national security issue? This is new politics…..how?

Ohrealy, you spent some time posting and editing your posts, but I do not see one point you countered me on the issue at hand.

Posted by: submarinesforever at April 18, 2008 6:48 PM
Comment #250917

Gottcha Politics: Look forward to the Republicans inquiring why your campaign has blocked the release of Michelle’s thesis until after the general election???

Posted by: Randy at April 18, 2008 7:02 PM
Comment #250918

vv

“You’re trying to frame the issue of Obama’s supposed “lack of patriotism” to suit a Republican frame. But in fact, you’re not even talking about actual patriotism with that crap, you’re talking about a bunch of ridiculous trappings that have been defined as symbols of patriotism by the GOP.”

nope, just wondering why he’s to ashamed to wear the flag he wishes to represent, on his lapel. pretty sraight forward actually. you’re the one over anylizing, and disecting it. making it out to be something it isn’t.


“By lying about liberals and liberalism for years, the GOP tried to turn them into dirty words. Unfortunately, Liberals allowed it to happen. Rather than stand up for ourselves, too many of us started using “progressive” instead. Giant mistake.”

then convince your candidates to scream it from the rooftops. you have used those other names because when people find out who you really are, and what your plans are, they reject you every time. liberalism doesn’t sell vv, people outside of SF, NY, and such want no part of it. thats the truth.

Posted by: dbs at April 18, 2008 7:30 PM
Comment #250919

VV:

You’re trying to frame the issue of Obama’s supposed “lack of patriotism” to suit a Republican frame. But in fact, you’re not even talking about actual patriotism with that crap, you’re talking about a bunch of ridiculous trappings that have been defined as symbols of patriotism by the GOP.

Every time I hear people mentioning the sheer blithering stupidity of the supposed grave importance of wearing a dumb-ass lapel flag pin, it makes me want to vomit.
Not the least of which is due to the fact that they’re all MADE in CHINA, rather than by Americans for Americans.

You might misunderstand me a bit. I don’t have a clue if Obama is patriotic or not deep in his heart.

What I am saying is that symbols are extremely important in this country. What is a “a dumb-ass lapel flag pin” to you, is extemely important to some.

Why in the world Obama doesn’t think “I want to remove all the easy issues so we can talk about the difficult ones” and put his hand over his heart etc, is beyond me. He creates these things.

So ask your candidate, why in the name of all of heaven do you decide to make statements where one wasn’t there? Why are we talking about your putting your hand over your heart? why are we talking about lapel pins?

Any democrat should know that they are stereotyped as less patriotic and weak on defense. Why is your brilliant candidate so dumb?

Let’s just say Obama looses, (for the sake of argument) and we move ahead to 2012. Your next candidate will be looked on to see if they fit the stereotype. Have them do the easy stuff please!!!

Get ready patriotism is going to be an issue, and your candidate made it happen.

“God D@mn America”
“I’m just now finally proud of my country”
Not saluting the flag properly
Not wearing a lapel pin.

He is your candidate.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 18, 2008 7:31 PM
Comment #250920

submarinesforever, you Sir, are a real gentleman. Your answers to Ohrealy were reasoned, well presented, authentic and to the point. Thank you for contributing to this dialogue.

I also have a problem of Obama referring to fairness when he is openly calling for increasing the tax on dividends earned in the equities in my retirement fund. Simply because I, along with 100 million other Americans have saved for our retirement and choose not to rely upon government largess for our security he is singling us out for punishment.

This man Obama, is not only obnoxious, but extremely dangerous. Keep writing submarinesforever, but be careful that some asshole doesn’t try to get you fired.

Note to Ohrealy, is there no American corporation you are not willing to attack with vicious lies and innuendo? Promote your position, but please put a damper on your outrageous and false accusations.

Posted by: Jim M at April 18, 2008 7:36 PM
Comment #250922

stephen

“As somebody familiar with communication theory, let me tell you something: you can make an attack out of practically anything. People are creative, so not only can candidates lie their way smoothly out of difficult issues, but people can make difficult issues out of minor BS.”

i’de hardly call raising the capital gaines tax, even after being presented clear evidence that doing so would harm the economy, the treasury, and the the retirement savings, and investments of most americans, in the name of being FAIR, ” minor BS”.

Posted by: dbs at April 18, 2008 8:21 PM
Comment #250923

Jim M, “is there no American corporation you are not willing to attack with vicious lies and innuendo? Promote your position, but please put a damper on your outrageous and false accusations.”

That’s a joke right? Or are you pissed that I called you on the fallacious statistics that you posted in Comment #250812 in the Tax Day thread on the red side. The people who usually post that kind of garbage at least try to hide their tracks, but you actually posted links that contradict what you claim was contained in them.

Submarinesforever, thanks for the additional information. Let me state more clearly that the company that you are so proud of is a prime example of much of what’s wrong with this country. Hiring former congressional aides to lobby on taxes, torts, and trade, and having its own political action committee(72% of contributions to Rpblcns, mostly in TX and TN) help them to work against the American public on so many issues.

On the Acetic anhydride, perhaps you could point me to shipping records to places where the product could be transhipped. Places close to Colombia and Myanmar would be of the most interest, Panama and Ecuador, if not directly to Pakistan.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 18, 2008 8:31 PM
Comment #250926
No, Obama hasn’t had anything close to a free ride since at least Super Tuesday. Hillary is the one who has gotten a free ride and no vetting — because she was “inevitable.”

And there is the perfect example of the kool-aid drinking Obama supporter. Ignoring reality and substituting it with one of their own…

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 18, 2008 9:15 PM
Comment #250927
nope, just wondering why he’s to ashamed to wear the flag he wishes to represent, on his lapel. pretty sraight forward actually.

No, you’re making an issue where there isn’t one.

He has already stated that 1) he’s not ashamed to wear it and 2) why he doesn’t wear it.

I don’t wear one either. Do I hate America according to your test? Is a stupid flag pin on a lapel, much like the STUPID rubber bracelets that people are wearing, mean anything at all other than someone either 1) wants to tell something to someone else that they think needs to be told or 2) is too much of a sheeple to have the balls not to wear it?

Now remember, I’m a disabled vet… So answer that question very carefully.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 18, 2008 9:21 PM
Comment #250928
First off-Ron Paul is a racist.

FAIL, see me after class.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 18, 2008 9:22 PM
Comment #250931

Rhinehold


“I don’t wear one either. Do I hate America according to your test?”

i didn’t say he hated america, i said it was an interesting statement, and your not running for president,…….. are you ? seems to intentionaly not wear one makes more of a statement, that to wear one. just my opinion though.

“Now remember, I’m a disabled vet… So answer that question very carefully.”

playing the disabled vet card eh rhinehold.

“First off-Ron Paul is a racist.”
“FAIL, see me after class.”

let me be the first to say, i think i smell alcohol on your breath, but it’s friday night so what the hell.

BTW, i don’t like any of the pres. candidates, but i’ll probably hold my nose and vote for mc cain.

Posted by: dbs at April 18, 2008 10:05 PM
Comment #250934

Ohrealy:

I am glad you responded to my post. Again let me ask you to respond to my points as I did yours. I answered pointed questions that you asked in a point blank fashion. Some reflected well on the company I work for, some did not. But all of my answers were true to the best of my knowledge. Sir, I would like to point out that you have been long on questions and innuendo, but short on points and answers.

I answered 5 “bulleted” questions that you asked of me, quoted directly from your post to me. I provided a nuetral reference so that anyone with the gumption could look up our views and make an independant judgement. In my answers, I raised both your intent and relevence, and got no reply from you. I also asked five questions of my own, which you promply ignored all the while you made more second handed accusations.

To answer your last innuedo:
1.You said, “Hiring former congressional aides to lobby on taxes, torts, and trade, and having its own political action committee(72% of contributions to Rpblcns, mostly in TX and TN) help them to work against the American public on so many issues.” Let me address this in two parts:

A)As to “Hiring former congressional aides to lobby on taxes, torts, and trade, and having its own political action committee(72% of contributions to Rpblcns, mostly in TX and TN)”, Would you care to explain to me what is illegal or immoral about hiring lobbiests or having PAC’s? Is it illegal or immoral for any entity to have paid peoples to represent their intrests? If it is illegal or immoral for some, please identify who should and should not be granted this “right”.

B) As to, “help them to work against the American public on so many issues”, would you care to give me some examples, or do you want me to debate you with the faith that your innuendo is somehow fact?

2. You said, “On the Acetic anhydride, perhaps you could point me to shipping records to places where the product could be transhipped. Places close to Colombia and Myanmar would be of the most interest, Panama and Ecuador, if not directly to Pakistan.” Sir, I am a maintenance mechanic. Were I privy to that information(I am not), I would not be able to disclose it unless it is public information. If it is public information, you should be able to discover and disclose it. Sir, if you have a point or accusation, please directly make it.

3. You said, “Let me state more clearly that the company that you are so proud of is a prime example of much of what’s wrong with this country.” Sir, if that is the case, then you should not have any problems using facts to defend your positions, and to directly answer the questions put to you. I am not only proud to have the job that I have, but I am proud of the company I work for and the opportunities they have provided me. If I am wrong in my pride, answer the five “bullited” questions that I asked you in a manner that should shake my pride.

In my closing to you, sir, I would like to say that if you have any evidence of wrongdoing by me or the company I work for, present it. If I can defend it I will. If not, I will condemn it. But I will be damned if I am going to waste any more of my time trying to debate someone that only accuses others, refuses to answers questions that are on par with what he/she have asked, will not give answers but only more questions that are accusitory, and either cannot or will not make or refute a point based on logic or fact. You, sir, have asked many questions of me and I have given direct answers. Please either show the respect that you have been shown and answer my questions, or quit asking them of me. My direct challange to you(anyone correct me if I am wrong by making this point)is to be manly and directly accuse me of what you are insinuate and back it up with facts, or quit trying to slander me by innuendo. I point out to you, sir, that you have not provided one fact or point that counters my origional post. You have not even posted a reply to me that is either remotely relevent or congruent with the conservation topic of this thread.

Posted by: submarinesforever at April 18, 2008 10:24 PM
Comment #250935

Jim M:
Thank you again for the kind works. I caution you, however, for I am not a gentleman nor a scholar. On this blog, I have used false questions and ad homenin attacks myself to score points. I then normally fall into a routine of not posting for a while out of shame. I also miss many weeks/months of posting due to my love of golf and on line poker.

I usually try to post points to spark a debate on issues, but due to my own shortcommings fail to have the influence that I desire. I am short tempered and my buttons really set me off. Basically I make myself irrelevent due to my own actions.

Rhinehold:

I too am a disabled veteran. I do not wear a flag pin, but I normally wear my dolphins on my hat. Although I consider my dolphins as being a show of pride, I agree with you on the lepel pin being a non-issue.

Posted by: submarinesforever at April 18, 2008 10:42 PM
Comment #250939

It’s actually pretty hilarious to hear Obama supporters complaining about a “lack of substance” in a debate.

What would “substance” even mean to an Obama supporter? More amorphous promises of hope/change combined with trashing of everybody else?

When Obama constantly LIES about all his political record and his political opponent—all that talk about McCain vowing a 100 year war in Iraq and representing a “third term for George Bush,” he has no standing to ask for kid’s gloves treatment for himself. Especially when he spins these fictions while also promising a new brand of non-partisan politics. The man is an absolutely raving left-wing partisan, and “bringing Americans together” can hardly included trashing his political opponents in the way he does. Add to his lying the fault of hypocrisy.

And whether he or his supporters do ask for special treatment of a kind he won’t give anyone else, they’re NOT going to get it. Get used to it.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at April 18, 2008 11:19 PM
Comment #250942

submarinesforever, you would not have any knowledge of the kind of information relevant to your own questions to me. I am glad that you have a good job right now but I would not count on it lasting until your retirement. You should prepare for the eventuality that this plant will move overseas. It won’t be in Europe, of course, where they had labor problems. Asia is most likely, but you might actually know where they will be going based on some of the other people working at the facility. This is a well-connected law firm hired by Eastman Chemical:

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz
http://www.bakerdonelson.com/Content.aspx?NodeID=2

and this is one of the services they provide that Jim M might not be too happy about:

“Many immigration options allow work and depend on work. Some are available to facilitate work for any type of employer in the U.S. Other options are unique for businesses or workers with international connections, and others are for specific industries. They all allow temporary work status but under different rules about eligibility, duration, procedures, and other restrictions. Some temporary options correspond to specific avenues to permanent residence, while others correspond only to the general avenues to permanent residence available to all workers.

Baker Donelson’s Immigration Group has knowledge and experience in all these options and processes. We “wrote the book” for other immigration lawyers and keep writing it each year, making sense of the innumerable tweaks and major changes to the rules and processes that Congress and several agencies make constantly. Our attorneys can, with a minimum burden on the time and effort of our busy clients, obtain the necessary information to help decide which is the best option to pursue. Then we quickly gather, create, organize and file the requests in the manner best calculated to accomplish the desired immigration status at each stage, whether temporary visit, several-year assignment, or permanent residence. We are mindful of the individual complications and the important family members of international workers and take care of them.”

on your points
1A I don’t agree with the SCOTUS on corporate rights
1B taxes torts and trade are self explanatory, as far as the difference between their interests and yours and mine.
2 they already had a problem with it in Colombia, where there’s smoke there’s dope.

On Kinsport TN, they are in a right-to-work state for obvious reasons. Are you a teamster?

I just lived through the other night’s South Park episode where the internet went off, frakkin Comcast.

When I was younger and stronger I had a client who was a disabled vet from the Korean War. He died at 62.(congestive heart failure, he was diabetic) I used to bring him to Hines hospital.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 19, 2008 12:05 AM
Comment #250948

Submarinesforever wants us to ignore the fact that working people currently pay a higher tax rate than the wealthy do. Wall Street investors and Hedgefunders currently get paid at the capital gains tax rate of 15%, instead of the 35%+ tax rate they would have to pay if they were being paid regular salaries.
Indeed, people in this country can work TWO jobs, and still pay income taxes at a higher rate than these Fat Cat investors do. Righties have worked hard trying to lower capital gains even further, and they’ve long claimed that raising the rate can only discourage risk and investment, but that is ridiculous.
Risk and investment is still the best way these people have of making themselves gigantic piles of money, and they’re not about to stop simply because they have to pay a higher rate. After all, a higher rate certainly didn’t stop them before the Neocon takeover of America took place.
Plenty of people making money in the late eighties and early nineties despite the higher rate, remember?

Obama wants to make things more equitable, and stop the obscene and ever-widening gap between the wealthy on the one hand and the middle class and poor on the other — and it’s about time. If anyone is worried about your retirement investments, don’t be alarmed. Read what Obama has said on this subject:

BARTIROMO: How do you plan to change the tax code when it comes to capital gains? How high will that 15 percent rate go?

Sen. OBAMA: Well, you know, I haven’t given a firm number. Here’s my belief, that we can’t go back to some of the, you know, confiscatory rates that existed in the past that distorted sound economics. And I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was the 28 percent. I would—and my guess would be it would be significantly lower than that. I think that we can have a capital gains rate that is higher than 15 percent. If it—and if it, you know—when I talk to people like Warren Buffet or others and I ask them, you know, what’s—how much of a difference is it going to be if it’s 20 or 25 percent, they say, look, if it’s within that range then it’s not going to distort, I think, economic decision making. On the other hand, what it will also do is first of all help out the federal treasury, which is running a credit card up with the bank of China and other countries. What it will also do, I think, is allow us to make investments in basic scientific research, in infrastructure, in broadband lines, in green energy and will allow us to give us—give some relief to middle class and working class families who have been driving this economy as consumers but have been doing it through credit cards and home equity loans. They’re not going to be able to do that. And if we want the economy to continue to go strong, then we’ve got to make sure that they’re getting a little relief as well.

BARTIROMO: But it’s not just the Warren Buffets of the world who own stocks, so…

Sen. OBAMA: Of course not.

BARTIROMO: …let’s hypothetically say that…

Sen. OBAMA: Right.

BARTIROMO: …cap gains tax goes from 15 percent to 25 percent.

Sen. OBAMA: Right.

BARTIROMO: You’re impacting a lot of people.

Sen. OBAMA: Right.

BARTIROMO: A hundred million Americans own stocks today.

Sen. OBAMA: Absolutely.

BARTIROMO: So it’s not just the rich.

Sen. OBAMA: No, no, no, absolutely. And that’s why I think that it may be, for example, that you could structure something in which people with certain incomes were exempted from this increase and it would stay at 15. The broader principle that I’m interested in is just making sure that we’ve got a tax code that is fair for all Americans. And I think it is not unreasonable to say—you know, I know that we’ll get some arguments from some folks on this, but it’s not unreasonable to say that those of us in the upper brackets have benefited disproportionately from a globalized economy; that those benefits have been compounded by the Bush tax cuts and that for us to roll back some of those tax cuts and to put this economy on a more stable fiscal footing and to make investments in the American people so that they can afford a decent life, that that is actually good long term for our economy and also good for investors and Wall Street.

BARTIROMO: So what about the top marginal rate for ordinary income? Who ought to pay more and who should pay less?

Sen. OBAMA: Well, you know, what I’ve said is that we should go back to probably a top marginal rate of 39 percent what it was before the Bush tax cuts. So I would roll back those Bush tax cuts, I would not increase taxes for middle class Americans and in fact I want to provide a tax cut for people who are making $75,000 a year or less. For those folks, I want an offset on the payroll tax that would be worth as much as $1,000 for a family. Senior citizens who are bringing in less than $50,000 a year in income, I don’t want them to have to pay income tax on their Social Security. And as part of my overall approach to housing, I actually want to provide an additional 10 percent mortgage deduction, a credit, mortgage interest credit, for those who currently don’t itemize. Because if you live in a house that’s pretty expensive, like I do, and I itemize, I get a pretty big break from Uncle Sam. If you own a $100,000 house and you’re making 65, $75,000 a year, you’re not getting that same deduction. I think that they deserve a break as well. That will actually help relieve some of the pressure on homeowners.

BARTIROMO: But can you really look at this sort of like an umbrella standpoint? I mean, we are in very, very unique times right now.

Sen. OBAMA: Yes.

BARTIROMO: Why raise taxes at all in an economic slowdown? Isn’t that going to put a further strain on people?

Sen. OBAMA: Well, look, there’s no doubt that anything I do is going to be premised on what the economic situation is when I take office. I’m going to be sworn in in January, we don’t know what the economy’s going to look like at that point. And, you know, the thing you can—you can be assured of is that I’m not going to making these decisions based on ideology. I’m not a dogmatist. I know that some, you know, my opponents to the right would like to paint me as this wooly-eyed, you know, liberal or wild-eyed…

BARTIROMO: You’re not a liberal?

Sen. OBAMA: My attitude is that I believe in the market, I believe in entrepreneurship, I believe in opportunity, I believe in capitalism and I want to do what works. But what I want to make sure of is it works for all America and not just a small sliver of America. And if it turns out—if somebody can make a persuasive argument to me that, you know what, what we need at this juncture, at this particular point in time is a different set of policies than some of the ones that I’ve proposed, I’m always going to listen to people. Because I think one of the problems, in fact, with the Bush administration has been its rigidness when it comes to economic policy. I mean, you ask them any question, they’ll say tax cuts. It doesn’t matter what the problem is, if it’s, you know, our trade deficit: tax cuts. If it’s, you know, slowdown in manufacturing: tax cuts. You know, at a certain point, you know, if you’ve only got one arrow in the quiver, then you’re going to have problems.

He’s right. And as we should all know by now, this country is facing very serious economic problems ahead. Good thing Obama is smart enough to keep his options open, and realize he may have to do whatever may be required to put us back on a stable footing.

Btw, does the fact that the Republicans are already screaming after their wealthiest members have made out like bandits during the last eight years, and their policies have put this country in our current sinking position strike anyone else as amazingly obnoxious, the way it does me?
Just curious.

Rhinehold:

And there is the perfect example of the kool-aid drinking Obama supporter. Ignoring reality and substituting it with one of their own…
I suppose being a Libertarian, you’d know a lot about totally ignoring reality and substituting it with your own, would you not? But do tell me, how exactly has Hillary has been fully vetted as a presidential candidate? A failed health initiative, seven unimpressive years in the Senate after a lifetime of never running for elected office (but being an accessory to elected office), a bunch of trips where she met some dignitaries, taking tea in Ireland, meeting school children on that tarmac in Tuzla, and addressing a women’s group in China on the American vision of women’s rights… well it isn’t exactly what most people think of as fully solid qualifications to take on the leadership of this nation. I see the media giving her a pass only because she is a former First Lady. I also realize that suggesting she hasn’t been fully vetted constitutes unfair mistreatment of the Inevitable Hillary in the minds of some people, but I’m afraid that’s just too bad. Obama has more experience than she does serving this country in an elected office, but somehow we’re supposed to simply swallow the idea that she has superior experience and has met the “Commander in Chief Threshold.”

Craig, dbs,
I hope you Republicans just keep treating people like total idiots by harping on all that ridiculously jingoistic and empty patriotic-demonstration stuff.
Because I think the reality is that We the People have gotten wise to the way the GOP is always missing the forest for the trees.
For example, I think our citizens would much rather have a president that shows his patriotism by bringing our troops home from the current Mistaken War in Iraq, and working hard to ensure that all of our troops, especially our many wounded, are going to get all of the support and the best medical treatment they’re going to need for years to come. That’s the kind of patriotism that counts for a lot in the minds of most Americans, including us Liberals.
You see, some of us don’t feel we need to wear our patriotism on our sleeves — or our lapels — to know that it’s authentic and real.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at April 19, 2008 1:50 AM
Comment #250960

“Jim M, “is there no American corporation you are not willing to attack with vicious lies and innuendo? Promote your position, but please put a damper on your outrageous and false accusations.”

That’s a joke right? Or are you pissed that I called you on the fallacious statistics that you posted in Comment #250812 in the Tax Day thread on the red side.” Posted by: ohrealy at April 18, 2008 08:31 PM

ohrealy, unlike some I do have a life outside the political blog arena. Pissed, no! Just been away for awhile and you’ll notice that I did respond to that post. I do understand your anxiety when I don’t post for a day or two.

Posted by: Jim M at April 19, 2008 12:23 PM
Comment #250962

“Good thing Obama is smart enough to keep his options open, and realize he may have to do whatever may be required to put us back on a stable footing.”
Posted by: Veritas Vincit at April 19, 2008 01:50 AM

Veritas, isn’t this an interesting statement by Obama. He is smart enough to “keep his options open” about the ecomony, but not smart enough to keep his options open about our involvement in Iraq. He will withdraw our troops there regardless of the situation on inauguration day. Sounds like a silly man to me who can’t decide what any of his positions will be. Just more pandering drivel from an egotistical and arrogant politician.

Posted by: Jim M at April 19, 2008 12:50 PM
Comment #250971

VV:

Craig, dbs, I hope you Republicans just keep treating people like total idiots by harping on all that ridiculously jingoistic and empty patriotic-demonstration stuff. Because I think the reality is that We the People have gotten wise to the way the GOP is always missing the forest for the trees. For example, I think our citizens would much rather have a president that shows his patriotism by bringing our troops home from the current Mistaken War in Iraq, and working hard to ensure that all of our troops, especially our many wounded, are going to get all of the support and the best medical treatment they’re going to need for years to come. That’s the kind of patriotism that counts for a lot in the minds of most Americans, including us Liberals. You see, some of us don’t feel we need to wear our patriotism on our sleeves — or our lapels — to know that it’s authentic and real.

Keep using words like “you Republicans”. It shows that you think inside a box and in stereotypes. I hope all Democrats take that language up.

I thing Americans are very proud of their country and it’s symbols. I think Obama is a brilliant man who does some extremely stupid things that are going to hurt him with non intellectuals. He focuses on words, words, words, which is his strength. What Obama is going to learn is that a picture is worth a thousand words. It is offensive to average Americans when someone wanting to be commander and chief doesn’t salute the flag.

I question Obama’s judgment. It is disrespecting middle America’s values by disrespecting their symbols AS THEY SEE THEM.

I think you are correct in much of what you say. I do think Americans want their troops home. We all do. And no McCain isn’t saying to keep them there for 100 years as your side has lied about. He is saying to keep a small minority there like we have done in previous successful wars.

I think Obama is fine. He is liberal,brilliant and inexperienced. He is the best orator of our time. But he is a newcomer. When he says to bring them home on a tight fixed timetable, he is being dangerously nieve.

Iraq was an issue long before Bush took office, and it will be an issue long after Bush takes office. The left’s approach of two wrongs make a right, is exactly as simplistic as the thinking that got us here. To say if we leave Iraq will be resolved as an issue is just as stupid as saying “they will through roses on our tanks and we will be greated as liberators”.

Walking out of Iraq under a simplistic plan is simply stupid and nieve.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 19, 2008 2:20 PM
Comment #250987
Walking out of Iraq under a simplistic plan is simply stupid and nieve.
Why?

Here are 15 Reasons to Leave Iraq:

  • [01] Win What?: Some people say we need to “win” in Iraq. When people say that, what do they really mean? What is trying to be won, and at what cost? But more importantly, what is the highest priority for the U.S. and its troops? Is the effort in Iraq the best way to make the U.S. safer? And would it be an issue now, had the mission been as easy as it was originally predicted by Bush, and some in the civilian administration?

  • [02] Saving Face: Some people say we need to “win” in Iraq. But some are really saying they want to “save face” for Bush and some in the executive branch? Because even if the U.S. leaves Iraq, there is no “defeat”, and there is no shame for our U.S. Troops. For those merely trying to “save face” with the life and limbs of our Troops is shameful and despicable. It is despicable to force our U.S. Troops to risk life and limb for nation-building and policing civil wars, unless it is the best way to make the U.S. safer. Especially if it is seeking redemption for Bush and some in the executive branch who started a war based on false intelligence. Redemption and “saving face” is not, and should not be the goal (not at the risk of U.S. Troops losing life and limb); especially if it is not the best way to make the U.S. safer.

  • [03] What Defeat?: Some people say leaving Iraq is forcing “defeat” on the U.S. troops. False. There is no “defeat”. This so-called “defeat” does non-exist, because even if the Iraqis’ fail to make their nation livable, that is not and will not be a “defeat” of the U.S. Troops’, who have sacrificed much to fight terrorists and police the Iraqis’ civil war.

  • [04] Many U.S. Troops Say Leave Iraq: Besides, a large percentage of U.S. Troops believe the U.S. should leave Iraq.
    • In Feb-2006, 72% of U.S. Troops in Iraq said: end the war in year 2006.

    • 90% of retired and current military officers say the U.S. military has been stretched dangerously thin by the Iraq war (19-FEB-2008). A phased withdrawal from Iraq would relieve the strain on over-stretched ground forces. Most of the Army brigades in Iraq have not had the required 2 years between deployments that are necessary to train and equip properly. At least 4 brigades now in Iraq have not even had a year between deployments. A phased withdrawal would allow the U.S. to bring the Army National Guard back to the States to focus on Homeland Security, at least 1 airborne brigade available as a strategic reserve, and 1 airborne brigade in Hawaii in case the only brigade still in South Korea needs reinforcement. If necessary, the U.S. could still maintain a military presence in the region (e.g. a brigade in Kuwait, and a carrier with Marine forces), in case threats such as the re-establishment of Al-Qaeda training camps in Iraq or a military intervention by one of Iraq’s 6 neighboring nations.
  • [05] Most Americans Say Leave Iraq: Most Americans believe the U.S. should leave Iraq. The U.S. has now been in Iraq for over 5 years (since MAR-2003).

  • [06] Many Iraqis Say Leave Iraq: A large percentage (35%-to-47%; it varies with conditions) of Iraqis want the U.S. to leave now. The Iraqis may never step up to the plate to secure peace in their own nation if the U.S. is doing it for them. As long as the Iraq knows that the U.S. will not “stand down” until the Iraqis “stand up”, the Iraqis will not be motivated to make the difficult choices about how to govern their own nation. Also, a plan would put the 6 bordering nations on notice that they must become more constructively involved in Iraq’s future, or suffer the consequences of a failed state.

  • [07] World-Opinion Says Leave Iraq: Most people across the world believe the U.S. should leave Iraq. (67% as of SEP-2007)

  • [08] So What If the Military is Voluntary? Some people will say the military is voluntary, as if that matters. However, only joining the military is voluntary, and troops thereafter have to go where ordered, or be court-martialed, incarcerated, and punished. Therefore, that is all the more reason to show respect for the troops, and not force them to risk life and limb via endeavors that are not making the U.S. safer.

  • [09] Whose Supporting Al-Qaeda, and Why?: Some Iraqis are supporting the approximate 1,300 Al-Qaeda in Iraq, but that support would disappear since the common goal of forcing the U.S. to leave Iraq would be gone. As for the remaining 1,300 Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the 27.5 Million Iraqis should be more than able to deal with them.

  • [10] The Iraqis Are Culpable Too: If the Iraqis’ subsequently fail (after the U.S. leaves) to make Iraq adequately livable and peaceful, that is their own fault. The U.S. can not police Iraq forever, and forcing our troops to risk life and limb for nation-building and policing civil wars is an injustice to our troops, unless it is truly the best way to make the U.S. safer. Even though the U.S. invaded Iraq, it is now time (after more than 5 years) for the Iraqis to govern their own nation, regardless of whether they can do it themselves (or not), because it isn’t the best way to make the U.S. safer. The Iraqis may be determined to have their civil war, regardless of any efforts to prevent it. If the U.S. deos not have any plan for leaving Iraq, the U.S. will never be in control of its own destiny. Without such a plan for getting out by a certain date, the U.S. will remain hostage to events on the ground.

  • [11] It’s NOT the U.S. Troops’ Fault: Even though the U.S. invaded Iraq, it is not the U.S. Troops’ fault that the CIA, Bush, and some in the executive branch based it on false intelligence (i.e. no WMD), and the continued occupation of Iraq is not the best way to make the U.S. safer. The reasons for being in Iraq in the first place are questionable since no significant amount of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were ever found. And it is difficult to deny that control of the oil has something to do with the entire matter. If being the world police is the duty of they U.S. Troops, there are a lot of other nations in the world that currently need policing too.

  • [12] The Humanitarian Argument: There is no doubt that a humanitarian argument that can be made that the U.S. should fix what it broke. However the Iraqis are also culpable for this entire mess. They helped in creating this entire mess, despite the blunder of no WMD. The U.S. doesn’t owe it to the Iraqis to continue nation-building and policing the Iraqis civil war any longer. The U.S. has now been in Iraq for over 5 years (since MAR-2003). However, the humanitarian argument still does not trump the overriding priority: U.S. Troops should not be used for nation-building, policing civil wars, or other purposes unless it is the best way to make the U.S. safer.
    In fact, a plausible argument can be made that the occupation of Iraq is a no-win situation and it is making both the U.S. and Iraq less safe (if not the entire region, since the U.S. is not very well liked in that region).

  • [13] Hypocrisy: It is hypocrisy to fear-monger about terrorists “following us home” from Iraq, should the U.S. pull troops out of Iraq. First of all, terrorists can come from many places all around the world, as evidenced by the terrorists of 11-SEP-2001, which were mainly from Saudi Arabia (not Iraq). And if the fear of terrorists “following us home” from Iraq were valid, then why not pull our troops out of Iraq, and secure our own national borders, and enforce existing illegal immigration laws? Especially since 11-SEP-2001 was perpetrated by several illegal aliens, 18 of the 19 terrorist hijackers on 11-SEP-2001 possessed 13 state-issued drivers’ licenses and/or 21 other ID cards, and all 19 terrorits had obtained Social Security numbers (some real, some fake). The terrorists of 11-SEP-2001 very simply tapped into an enormous market of fraudulent documents that exists because 12+ million illegal aliens have successfully breached our borders and now reside here illegally, anonymously, and spawning wide-spread document and identity fraud that threatens our ability to distinguish illegal aliens from U.S. citizens and legal foreign residents. IDentity theft is also the fastest growing crime in the U.S. Thus, all of those reasons makes the argument about terrorists following us from Iraq back to the U.S. not only weak, but ridiculous and hypocritical. And even if there was some truth to it, there are better ways to deal with it, such as securing our own borders and enforcing existing laws.

  • [14] The U.S. Can NOT Afford the Cost: The U.S. can not be the world police. Not only is the human cost too high, but the U.S. has $53 Trillion of nation-wide debt (3.81 times $13.86 Trillion GDP!). The U.S. won’t be in a position to do much of anything if it destroys its own economy by growing debt of nightmare proportions.

  • [15] Bottom Line - PRIORITIES: The overriding priority is that U.S. Troops should not be forced to risk life and limb for nation-building and policing civil wars, unless it is the best way to make the U.S. safer. Some people (even some troops) say the troops want to “win”. However, what some in the military want is not the overriding priority. The only acceptable reason to force U.S. Troops to remain in Iraq is if it is the best way to make the U.S. safer (which it is not, because there are better ways to make the U.S. safer, such as securing the borders and ports, and enforcing illegal immigration laws, since most of the terrorist of 11-SEP-2001 were illegal aliens). Forcing U.S. Troops to risk life and limb for nation-buildinkg, policing civil wars, and other inappropriate purposes shows a horrible disrespect for our U.S. Troops, and a complete lack of priorities.

What reason trumps Reason # [15] ?

Posted by: d.a.n at April 19, 2008 4:21 PM
Comment #250992

Craig Holmes-
I am proud of what my country is, but not proud of where it’s at. I think it’s where it’s at because symbolic patriotism and support for America and it’s soldiers has trumped the substantive, real kind.

Flag pins are a stupid measure of that. I can propose better ones. Does McCain love this country enough to end a war hated by the majority of his fellow Americans? Does McCain love his country and the soldiers enough to announce that he has reconsidered his decision on waterboarding, whose use here will justify it’s use on soldiers abroad? Does Hillary Clinton love this country enough not to let somebody panic her into a war with Iran, especially when most Americans are against it, and our army is insufficient to the task of an invasion of this literally Texas sized country?

Flag pins. I suppose in some Butterfly-flaps-its-wings (for want of a flag pin) sort of since, they might be important.

We’ve lost another sort of pride, though, a kind we didn’t get back when the sun rose on Reagan’s morning in America.

Pride in America. It’s one thing to say that America is the greatest country in the world, but how about making it that way?

You talk about Barack’s message going over the heads of non-intellectuals, of Americans just thinking in terms of the symbols. I think you underestimate the sophistication of the average American, their ability to process the world around them. I get the sense that people are smarter than they appear in America. We’re just told so often we’re stupid that we actually believe it. We forget that we’re capable of clear thought, of profound insight.

If you can’t trust the people to understand something, who’s the elitist? Obama’s presentation is complex, but he constructs his speeches artfully enough for people to follow him. They sound good to those of average intelligence, and don’t insult the intelligence of those who have more than the average.

Speaking of insulting our intelligence, McCain did say he’d keep soldiers in Iraq for a hundred years, even more, citing other current long term troop commitments abroad. The distortion, sometimes applied, is that he’d keep them there under combat conditions.

Trouble is, he’s still talking about a long term presence, one which first requires victory in what many see as an unwinnable and undesirable war. To stay for ten, much less a hundred years, the way he describes, requires a permanent presence in what isn’t exactly the worlds most sympathetic spot for American presence.

Here’s where words might come in handy: what’s his plan for pulling this off? Where would he get the soldiers?

Some other words might be handy to answer these questions: why did he joke about bombing Iran? Why can’t he seem to get Sunnis and Shia straight, even as he’s trying to keep us in a nation where that distinction is a critical part of the war planning?

Let’s talk about what’s really simplistic here: your vision of our strategies. You’re too use to what has really been simplistic: the Republican platform on the war. Stay the course, support the surge, things are always getting better, even as they get worse.

This isn’t about two wrongs making a right. This about a trainwreck of wrongs that’s resulted in America being defeated in a war, and in it being kept indefinitely in that war to cover the butts of those who should have known better than to get us into the problem in the first place. Barack Obama’s promise is to get us out, but he also promises to be as careful getting out as we were careless going in.

The stupidity is staying when you have no clear idea of how to win the war once and for all, only a vague conviction that if you keep at it, eventually everybody will give in.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 19, 2008 5:18 PM
Comment #250993

Stephen Daugherty
I enjoy your comments.

-DAVID-

Posted by: -DAVID- at April 19, 2008 6:42 PM
Comment #251002

Hello Jim M,
Let’s imagine Mike Malloy, Randi Rhodes and Thom Hartmann debating Limbaugh, Hannity and O’Riley on national broadcast T.V. for three hours during prime time. Hmmm. Oh please don’t throw me in that briar patch! How unbareable! Oh please don’t call any of the “conservative” talk show hosts and try and push that idea. ANYTHING but that. Noooooo. DON’T DO IT!

Posted by: Stephen Hines at April 19, 2008 7:31 PM
Comment #251008

Ohrealy:

Thanks again for your reply. I do not count on my job being there until I retire. I always have believed that a company does not owe me a job and therefore developed a skill set that many companies need. Security comes not from my employer having a need for a skill set, but from many other companies having the same need.

Veritas Vincit:
You said, “Submarinesforever wants us to ignore the fact that working people currently pay a higher tax rate than the wealthy do. Wall Street investors and Hedgefunders currently get paid at the capital gains tax rate of 15%, instead of the 35%+ tax rate they would have to pay if they were being paid regular salaries.
Indeed, people in this country can work TWO jobs, and still pay income taxes at a higher rate than these Fat Cat investors do. Righties have worked hard trying to lower capital gains even further, and they’ve long claimed that raising the rate can only discourage risk and investment, but that is ridiculous.”

Sir, you have erred in assigning intent to my position. But in doing so I think you have exposed a major difference in our beliefs and values. I do not wish for anyone to forget about anything dealing with capital gains tax rates. I think that if we examine this issue, we will find that this issue is not about the rich:

1. When myself or my blue collar coworkers choose to retire and have to sell stocks from our 401k, we will pay the same rates as the wealthy. Same rates for earning money in the same fashion. I believe that is fair.

2. Now if you believe that the capital gains rate should be the same as the income tax rate, that is a defensable position. But do not assume that only the wealthy will be soaked. Every blue collar worker nearing retirement age that has done the responsible thing by saving for their retirements will be soaked.

3. In the article you posted Senator Obama said that it could be structured so that certain income levels are exempt. First he did not state what that level would be, but keep in mind that the AMT was designed for about a dozen people and now ensnares millions. And most of them are the people that have small buisnesses and provide roughly 70% of the country’s jobs. Second, lets assume that the level is set at $500,000. Anyone that brings home half a mill in a year is wealthy, right? Now take a gentleman that I work with. He earns roughly $50-60k a year. He got into the 401k some years ago and saved about 10% annually. In about seven years he is at retirement age. He must sell his stock to set up an annuity to live the rest of his life on. He will lose roughly 40% of his nestegg because we decided to soak the rich. On the brighter side, for one tax year, he was rich.

You said,” and they’ve long claimed that raising the rate can only discourage risk and investment, but that is ridiculous.” What do you base this opinion on? Personally, if investing in companies cannot yield enough of a net gain for me, I put my money in bond funds.

We can debate what tax rates should be, but my beliefs and values are such that everyone should be treated the same(yes I fail at that). I do not understand why someone should should be punnished for sucess. These same fat cat bandits that are making all of the money by investing are providing the skills and leadership that I do not posess, and in the process are making me more money than I could ever have made on my own. Maybe, if they are good at their job, they will make me enough to retire at a young age. For them not to work, they are working for about 100 million Americans.

Posted by: submarinesforever at April 19, 2008 9:34 PM
Comment #251015

submarinesforever-
Now, you might have to pay that tax for your 401k, but mostly you will pay the higher rate for your income taxes. Most of the money you’ve got an interest in will be taxed at the higher rate. The money you actually live on. Keep in mind somethings about 401ks, as well: they’re a poor replacement for pensions.

At the same time, institutional investors, the people who trade in single days sometimes more than you will ever trade in a lifetime, or even ten thousand lifetimes will find most of their income (or the vast majority of it with Hedge Fund Managers) taxed at a lower rate. And why? Would these people trade that much less if they had to pay some more taxes?

Or phrased another way, would they not try to earn more money to make up for the shortfall? Of course they would. The difference would be that there might be less of a deficit pushing inflation, or perhaps less risky investments (which is not a bad thing, given all the bogus bets that people have been off on). That argument about investors not investing as much ignores the natural self-interest of those people. It means they have to work harder for the same amount of money.

As for the AMT? There’s general agreement that it needs to be moved. But even if your friend has to pay the AMT on that large transaction, there’s another few factors at work. Again, if we gather more taxes from the rich, the deficit might not be as serious. Result? Inflation lessens, and the remaining money your friend or any other working person has buys more.

To wrap things up, let me pose this question to you: is weighting the tax code towards the rich more about punishing them, or about taking advantage of the greater disposable income of the rich to avoid punishing those who need more of their money to live?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 19, 2008 10:49 PM
Comment #251019
submarinesforever wrote: We can debate what tax rates should be, but my beliefs and values are such that everyone should be treated the same (yes I fail at that).
I agree. The “same” flat rate of 17% on all types of income should be sufficient.

However, the current tax system is regressive: one-simple-idea.com/DisparityTrend.htm#Taxes
In the economic expansion of the last 8 years, the rich got richer, and everyone else got poorer.
Actually, since year 1976, the wealth disparity gap has increased by 20% (from 20% in 1976 to 40% in 2008).
And in 2004 dollars, real median incomes only increased a measely $3K between 1978 and 2007, and if you consider more workers per household, the real median household income has fallen since 1978.

This is why Warren Buffet, the 2nd wealthiest person in the U.S., pays a lower percentage of income (e.g. 17.7% on $46 Million in year 2006), than his secretary (who paid 30% in federal taxes on and income of $60K). Warren Buffet even testified to it, agreeing that the tax system is not fair (mostly unfair to the middle income group).

Here is the currnt tax system
_________Current REGRESSIVE TAX System:________________
35% |- - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
33% |- - - - - - - -o- - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
30% |- - - - - - o - - - - - - - - -o- - - - - - - - - - - - - - = (30% total
27% |- - - - - -o- - - - - - - - - - - - -o- - - - - - - - - - - - federal tax for
24% |- - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -o- - - - - - - - - secretay making $60K)
21% |- - - - -o- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -o- - - - -
18% |- - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o = (17.7% Warren
15% |- - - -o- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Buffet’s total
12% |- - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - federal taxes on
09% |- - -o- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - $46 Million)
06% |- - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
03% |- -o- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
00% |ooo - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
____$0__30K__60K__90K_120K_150K_180K_210K_240K … … $thousand$ …

Most Americans polled believe a flat income tax system would be more fair, such as this 17% income tax only on income above the poverty level:
________ 17% Income Tax ONLY on Income Above the Poverty Level _________
17% |_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ x_x_x_x 17%
16% |_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ x _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 16%
15% |_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ x _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 15%
14% |_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _x_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 14%
13% |_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ x _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 13%
12% |_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _x_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 12%
11% |_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _x_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 11%
10% |_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _x_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 10%
09% |_ _ _ _ _ _ _x_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 09%
08% |_ _ _ _ _ _x_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 08%
07% |_ _ _ _ _ x _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 07%
06% |_ _ _ _ x _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 06%
05% |_ _ _ _x_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 05%
04% |_ _ _ x _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 04%
03% |_ _ _x_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 03%
02% |_ _ x _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 02%
01% |_ _x_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 01%
00% |xxx _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 00%
___ $0 ____ $30K __ $50K __ 100K __ 200K __ 300K __ 400K __ 500K … GRO$$ INCOME

Where:

  • x = tax rate on gross income above the poverty level (of all types except entitlements derived from taxes).

  • No corporate taxes

  • No taxes on entitlements derived from taxes (e.g. Social Security and Medicare).

  • No tax loop-holes

Whichever tax system is proposed, the voters should ask to see the tax curve on gross income.
Not tax curves on adjusted income.
Not tax curves after a myriad of tax loop-holes are applied.

That would be better than the current tax system, and others already introduced to Congress (e.g. HR25, HR1040).
But that would make too much sense.
Congress does not want a fair tax system.
Congress does not want a simple tax system that is difficult to abuse.
There is no lack of good ideas.
Congress is where good ideas go to die.
Congress does not want to stop any of these 10 abuses that have, after 30+ years, resulted in these numerous economic conditions that have never been worse ever, and/or since the 1930s and 1940s.

But voters are culpable too, since too many voters repeatedly reward irresponsible incumbent politcians with 93%-to-99% re-election rates: one-simple-idea.com/CongressMakeUp_1855_2008.htm

At any rate, the voters will have the government that the voters elect, and deserve.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 19, 2008 11:33 PM
Comment #251037

Stephen Daughtery and d.a.n:

Thank you both for your responses. Both were well written, informative and present your views in a manner that invokes thought, not outrage. Although I disagree politically on many issues with both of you, I really appreciate this kind of discussion on political issues. Allow me to address them individually, but feel free to respond to any of my responses.

Stephen:

You said, “Now, you might have to pay that tax for your 401k, but mostly you will pay the higher rate for your income taxes. Most of the money you’ve got an interest in will be taxed at the higher rate. The money you actually live on. Keep in mind somethings about 401ks, as well: they’re a poor replacement for pensions.” I must admit that I am probably different from most in that I use bothe my 401k and have an account at a major brokerage house. Although I sometimes fail, I attempt every payperiod to match my 401k contribution with post tax money. I do this mostly to have more control over my investments(versus the limited funds available in the 401k) and to maximise my earnings potential. Although it is off point, there real advantages in doing this. So I will eventually catch it both ways.
As to the 401k versus pensions, I have seen pensions cut and post retirement benefits slashed even in union plants. The thing that I like about 401k’s is that it is mine and can only be reduced by my actions. It is not dependant on the financial health of my company. If I change jobs for what ever reason, I will not lose it.

You said,” At the same time, institutional investors, the people who trade in single days sometimes more than you will ever trade in a lifetime, or even ten thousand lifetimes will find most of their income (or the vast majority of it with Hedge Fund Managers) taxed at a lower rate. And why? Would these people trade that much less if they had to pay some more taxes?”.

Very good questions, very good. IMHO all sources of income should be taxed as just that, income(assuming that the income tax exists). I just do not agree that that income taxes should be used in a punitive way against achievers. Taking the wealthy out of it and making it more real, I sacrificed many hours gaining training and experience to earn the wage I now earn. I have put in approximately 1500 hours of classroom training(unpaid) and over 6000 hours OJT to qualify for my job. I would not have even qualified to be employed at this company were it not for the previous jobs and training that I had prior to applying for this company. Why should I have to pay a larger percentage of my income in taxes as opposed to someone that say never was willing to sacrifice their time and money to get out of the $25,000/year job? If we pay the same rate, I would still be paying over twice the amount of taxes as that person. Being consistant with that belief, I must then believe that someone who is qualified to manage tens of millions dollars must have a different set of skills, and IMHO have put in many of hours to earn those skills. Why should I think that different rules should apply to that achiever?

As to the investing part of the question. I have no degree in any financial dicipline. But investing to me is like playing poker(I love playing poker). Anyone can throw money at random cards and hope for the best, but the people that are constistantly good know what the odds are and play the percentages. It is not about the cards, but risks versus rewards. Now I am not saying that fund managers will invest less, but they will invest differently. Lets say that the CGTR is raised to 30%, the economy us shaky, and there is very little movement in the stock market. At this point, the risk vs. reward tells me to go to a bond fund(tax free) and weather the storm. Not only does this lower the revenue rate, but it takes money out of companies’ hands and they are less able to expand and provide jobs. I may be looking at this in a simplistic manner, but it seems logical.

You said,” As for the AMT? There’s general agreement that it needs to be moved. But even if your friend has to pay the AMT on that large transaction, there’s another few factors at work. Again, if we gather more taxes from the rich, the deficit might not be as serious. Result? Inflation lessens, and the remaining money your friend or any other working person has buys more.” My point is that the AMT and CGTR are similar in that they were designed to take money from the rich and targeted at a very few. Now both are trapping millions of Americans. Could we also not curb the deficit by cutting spending? Personally, I favor a mix, but would like to see Congress front load both into the budget.

IMHO if one man makes makes $500,000/year one makes $ 25,000/year and I make $60,000/year and we pay the same rate, we have taken advantage of the difference in “disposable” incomes and in dollars; the rich man has paid 20 times as much as the poor, over 8 times what I paid and I have paid over twice of that by the poor. The current system is punative, not only for the rich, but for anyone that dare to better themselves.

Posted by: submarinesforever at April 20, 2008 10:51 AM
Comment #251040

D.a.n:

I put my reply to you on a seperate post in the effort to keep my posts shorter. I tend to skip the reading of really long post myself and assume that some others may also. Though you post is very informative, I do not feel that the flat tax is the solution. I think it is the origional problem and through unintended consequences, has corrupted the political process in America.

An informative site on the history of the income tax is http://www.treasury.gov/education/fact-sheets/taxes/ustax.shtml. My arguement against the flat tax is that our current system started out just as such, and over the years developed into what we have now. As long as Congress retains the power to curry favor and money from lobbiests AND pander to people by appearing to be “soaking the rich”, the flat tax will eventually become what we have now. My child and granchildren will have have to fight the same battle that we are fighting now. IMHO the simplest way to get meaningful campaign finance, tort, healthcare, welfare, Social Security, Medicade/Medicare, corporate welfare and ethics reforms would be to remove from Congress the ability to customize breaks and advantages for small groups to the detriment of others AND be forced to to treat all Americans as equal.

That is one of the reasons I prefer the “fair tax system”. It would require the abolition of the 16th Amendment before its implimentation. Congress could change the tax rate, but it would have to be a uniform change. By not having to define income(which is very problematic) there would be less loopholes built into the system and a great deal of money that is now being spent for compliance could either be spent to buy goods or pay taxes. Were the flat tax to incorporate a method of keeping Congress from changing the uniformity of the tax, I would whole heartedly support it.

Posted by: submarinesforever at April 20, 2008 11:56 AM
Comment #251043
IMHO if one man makes makes $500,000/year one makes $ 25,000/year and I make $60,000/year and we pay the same rate, we have taken advantage of the difference in “disposable” incomes and in dollars; the rich man has paid 20 times as much as the poor, over 8 times what I paid and I have paid over twice of that by the poor.
I agree completely!

A flat percentage on income is very fair, and most Americans polled agree. And if income below the poverty level is not taxed, the system is effectively progressive at the lower income levels, while approaching a flat (neutral) rate as income increases. We should also:

  • tax all types of personal income (e.g. wages, interest, capital gains when liquidated, inheritance, gambling income, dividends, gifts, lotteries, etc.) above the poverty level at an equal percentage rate (e.g. 17%), except entitlements/benefits originally derived from taxes (e.g. don’t tax entitlements that were originally derived from taxes; it makes no sense to tax things originally derived from taxes),

  • eliminate corporate income taxes which are merely passed on to consumers as regressive hidden sales taxes (all sales taxes are regressive), and makes our exports more expensive.

The current problem is that some types of income are taxed at different rates, and some income is income-tax-exempt, and some income is entitlements-tax-exempt. It’s all very complicated (by design), and some Americans are just now discovering that the tax curve is actually regressive (as demonstrated by the Warren Buffet example and his own testimony).

The current tax system is very costly too. The cost of compliance for federal taxpayers filling out tax returns and related chores was $265 billion in year 2005! The average taxpayer paid about $1,839 per household in compliance costs (about 6 days per year just to pay for the cost of preparing taxes). In 2006, the federal tax rules are almost 66,500 pages! There are 582 different tax forms published by the IRS, which is up from 402 in the 1990s. In 1998, 46 tax experts surveyed came up with 46 different answers when determining tax liability. The tax calculations ranged from $34,240 to $68,912. 2/3 of Americans think the income tax system is too complex, and taxpayer phone calls to the IRS help line doubled during 1990s from 56 million to 111 million, even though the number of tax papers only grew by 12%. Many wealthy are lower percentage of income tax due to a tax system that is full of loopholes; for example, capital gains are taxed at 10% and 15% while the average tax rate is 21%), corporate welfare and pork-barrel, illegal immigration (costing U.S. taxpayers $70 Billion to $338 Billion per year), etc., etc., etc. Unfair taxation is only one of several growing abuses that did not all come about by mere coincidence. As these abuses worsened over the past 30 years, the middle-income group got squeezed more and more. Now, savings rates have been negative since year 2005 (lowest levels since year 1933, home ownership for middle-income and low-income groops has decreased below 1978 levels, and foreclosures are at record levels (225,000 per month). While energy and fuel prices have jumped to $116.60 per barrel from $60 per barrel in Mar-2007, it can’t all be blamed on fuel prices. There were problems prior to one year ago when fuel prices were $60 per barrel.

Something must be done fairly soon about these abuses, before worsening economic conditions force us into rushed and unwise decisions.

The nation is swimming in debt ($53 Trillion nation-wide), 80% of Americans now own less than 17% of all wealth, real median household incomes have effectively been falling since 1978 (especially based on more workers per household), the U.S. dollar is in a tail-spin (i.e. a 1940 Dollar is now worth less than 10 cents), Congress is dysfunctional, and too many voters repeatedly reward incumbent politicians for all of it with 93%-to-99% re-election rates.

At any rate, the voters will have the government that the voters elect, and deserve.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 20, 2008 12:31 PM
Comment #251044

If 17.7% in total federal income taxes for Warren Buffet on $46 Million is OK with Warren Buffet, then it ought to be good enough for all Americans (i.e. on all income above the poverty level).

BTW, that is no attempt to denigrate Warren Buffet. In fact, he should be praised for his testinmony before Congress about the regressive and unfair nature of the current tax system.

BTW, there are some wealthy paying even lower effective income tax rates on their gross income due to a 15% maximum income tax rate on capital gains, and a myriad of other tax loop-holes.

Therefore, it’s quite plausible that the federal government could increase total revenues with a simplified tax system that eliminates those tax loop-holes and tax shelters that only the wealthy can take advantage of.

Also, none of that even begins to address the pork-barrel and corporate welfare.

For instance, check this out (click on any state or zip-code).
The amounts of these subsidies are staggering!
I know some people who are quite well off, own thousands of acres of land, and receive hundreds of thousands (or more) in subsidies.
Many are huge corporate owned farms receiving millions annually.

Consider these top 10 subsidy programs for one state (e.g. Texas) 1995-2006:
Rank ____ Subsidy ___________ Recipients _____ Total
01 __ Cotton Subsidies _______ 96,628 ______ $6,126,931,257
02 __ Disaster Payments _____ 144,923 ______ $2,410,774,724
03 __ Conservation Reserve ___ 37,769 ______ $1,759,118,624
04 __ Rice Subsidies __________ 5,619 ______ $1,325,261,031
05 __ Wheat Subsidies _______ 95,337 ______ $1,291,098,137
06 __ Corn Subsidies _________ 59,302 ______ $1,213,424,428
07 __ Peanut Subsidies _______ 11,680 ______ $491,103,948
08 __ Livestock Subsidies _____ 84,430 ______ $456,298,603
09 __ Dairy Program Subsidies ___ 2,586 ______ $92,836,865
10 __ Env. Quality Incentive ___ 12,036 ______ $80,298,602

The level of bloated, malfeasance, pork-barrel, and waste boggles the mind.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 20, 2008 12:52 PM
Comment #251045

STephen:

You completely miss my point. My point isn’t to discus flag pins. My point is to discus why a briliant many like Obama make it a compaign issue by not wearing one.

I personally don’t care if someone wears a pin or not. however, millions do!! Why have a discussion? Put the dumb thing on!! Of course if he does, now he looks silly.

Why not salute the flag? Either not saluting the flag is a very important thing to Obama, and he is making a statement of some kind, or he is a foolish.

“Let’s see, we are stereotyped as weak on defense. So I think I will walk right into that stereotype and feed it. ” How stupid!!!!

I’m questioning Obama’s judgment not his patriotism. He used very stupid political judgment by introducing a needless issue.

Again it does make the case that he is removed from mainstream or he would know these things.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 20, 2008 12:53 PM
Comment #251048

Criticism about flag pins, and other symbolism is a huge waste of time. Actions, official positions, and voting records should be the focus. And voting records alone provide ample cause for concern.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 20, 2008 1:41 PM
Comment #251060

Dan:

I think what is emerging is an issue about judgment.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 20, 2008 7:52 PM
Comment #251066

Craig,
Obama made a judgement that wearing a flag lapel pin doth not patriotism make. A very sound judgement. You will soon be the beneficiary of Obama’s experience and judgement. Ponder the facts; he has blown a giant, well oiled political machine (the Clintons) right out of the water. Coming out of relative obscurity to do so. His amazing fundraising prowess is the result of relying on little people, not the fat cats like Hillary and McCain. It is a testament to his great leadership, organizational abilities, and yes, his great experience.

If you personally don’t care about the wearing of a flag pin, then your argument that not doing so is a political liability is shown for the straw man it really is. The voters are not going to buy that crap come November. Mark my words.

Why don’t you talk up your guy instead of tearing down my guy? Is it because you know John McCain will be left doddering in the dust by Obama’s great leadership, vision, and experience?

Posted by: steve miller at April 20, 2008 9:29 PM
Comment #251073

Steve,

He has a lot of work to do, his unfavorable rating is higher than his favorable rating atm…

McCain is viewed favorably by 54% and unfavorably by 43%. Obama’s ratings are 47% favorable and 50% unfavorable. For Clinton, those numbers are 45% favorable, 53% unfavorable
Posted by: Rhinehold at April 20, 2008 10:31 PM
Comment #251078

Craig Holmes-
Because he thinks for himself. Like Bob Schieffer said on his show today, some people don’t wear their religion on their sleeve. Why does Barack have to show his patriotism on his lapel?

Those who live in fear of stereotypes become stereotypes through their reactions against them. I have no love for symbolism for its own sake. I never wore an Obama sticker on my shirt, much less an Obama shirt. Would you doubt that I am a strong supporter of his?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 20, 2008 11:42 PM
Comment #251079

Craig Holmes, It’s going to take a lot more than lapel pins and other symbolism to raise questions about judgement.

How about the candidates’ voting records?

Posted by: d.a.n at April 20, 2008 11:53 PM
Comment #251080

Steve:

Why don’t you talk up your guy instead of tearing down my guy? Is it because you know John McCain will be left doddering in the dust by Obama’s great leadership, vision, and experience?

This is the most facinating interesting presidential race of my lifetime. As a Repubican, we could not have possibly hoped for such good fortune. This is absolutely the best outcome we could have.

1. Our incumbant has the lowest popularity since Nixon.

2. We are in the middle of an unpopular war.

3. The economy is struggling.

At a time when many of us had assumed a Democratic victory (landslide?), we are competitive.

We are competitive because:

1. We nominated a candidate whose ideology is very close to that of the voters (right of center).

2. The prsumptive Democratic Nominee is from the far left.

3. The presumptive Democdritic nominee though brilliant lacks national experience.

4. The democratic party is still competitive in late April, and is terribly negative. Basically our opposition is tearing themselves apart, using up energy and money that would otherwise be spent/used on our candidate.


Basically, I am thrilled with how things are going. They could not be going much better right now.

Of course things will probably change tomorrow, but as for now from a Republican point of view, things could not be going much better.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 20, 2008 11:54 PM
Comment #251081

Stephen:

Again you miss my point. It’s not what you, think or what I think, but rather what the blue collar “Reagen Democrats” think. I undstand that symbols are not that critical to you. I understand that clearly.

Why hand the Republicans a campaign commercial to use against you with the Reagan Democrats? THEY CARE.

Again, it’s you you or me, IT’S THEM!!! THEY CARE!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 20, 2008 11:58 PM
Comment #251085

Craig,
You make some good points about the Democrats tearing one another up. I appreciate your measured response. I believe that the choice is between standing for symbols, on shallow, knee-jerk patriotism (politics as usual),or talking about the issues, the fact that our country is about to spontaneously combust as it simultaneously swirls down the shitter. My guy is dressed in turnout gear, carrying plumber’s tools. Your guy is handing me a paddle and asking me to row along. And you say McCain is better…..because….?

Well, you HAVEN’T actually come out with any reasons why McCain is superior to Obama.

Posted by: steve miller at April 21, 2008 9:22 AM
Comment #251086

Another point for Craig,
You may feel that you’re competitive NOW, with Obama and Hillary tearing each other a new one. Do you think that is a static dynamic? I sure don’t. I don’t want to take anything away from McCain; I think he is a great man, I respect and admire his tone, his service to the country in both the congress and the military. And, I like him as a person. I just don’t think he even comes close to the powerhouse that is Obama.

As for national experience: look at how Obama has rebounded from the huge scandals that have been thrown his way, watch how well he has organized his campaign, raised funds, gotten his message out.He has shown amazing competence and talent. I want someone like that running our country, now.

I honestly don’t think McCain stands even a small chance of taking Obama down on his (McCain’s) merits. I suspect you don’t either.

The point is, for me, is that if you can’t show why your candidate is better, then all you have left is to try to tear Obama down. Please, let’s hear more of why your guy is great, and less about why my guy isn’t.

Posted by: steve miller at April 21, 2008 9:40 AM
Comment #251091

Steve:

Thank you as well for your measured response. Sure, I can tell you why I am supporting McCain.

First of all, I support his position on Iraq. We obviously got into Iraq with wrong information. The left thinks we were misled, I think we had bad intelligence, the agreement point is that we all wish we would have known ahead of time there were no WMD.

That is old news. Either way we owe an obligation to leave it correct. We broke it, we need to fix it. I think the left’s position is just as bad as their criticism of Bush “rush to judgement”. The “just leave” crowd opens up Iraq to genocide. Instead of an artifial time table, we have to leave based on events on the ground.

I also think it’s going to be an ugly end. I think Obama’s answer is sort of like if you get a girl pregnant you say “oh I have caused you so much hard ship, I am just going to leave”. No No No, you have a child to help raise.

I am for a gradual withdrawal, over time based on events on the ground. I have no problem with a permanant base in Iraq like we have done in the past.

2. Obama is too far to the left for me. We have some huge problems to face up to in medicare and SS. They are not going to be solved from the left. (They also are not going to be solved from the right). I actually like some of Hillary’s answers on these issues. These issues are going to be solved from the middle. It is going to take a bipartisen effort like Reagan-Oneal, to “get ‘er done”. It is hard for me to imagine the most liberal member of the Senate, on one of the least experienced, brining this about.

3. Finally, I agree with McCain’s approach on spending. The Bush tax cuts have not cut revenue. If you look at Revenue as a percentage of GDP we are right in there in terms of historical averages. What Bush did wrong (with the help of the R congress), is that they spent like drunken sailors. I can be persuaded to raise taxes from time to time. I’m not an ideologue on that. However, we need to cut spending first.

For instance, I like McCain’s proposal to eliminate subsidies for those over $150,000 with Plan D of medicare. I would be for eliminated all subsidies for all of medicare for the affluent BEFORE tax increases. (Keep medicare for the affluent, just stop subsidizing it).

I make a decent income. Before you raise my taxes, which obama is planning on doing, cut subsidies for the affluent.

If you look at Obama’s plan to raise taxes on SS payroll, WOW is that going to hit upper middle class and small business. There are a lot of people who make between $100 and $200,000 a year who are going to get nailed.

There are also a great deal of people who earn capital gains on investments who are going to get hammered by these new taxes.

Some may be necessary. Cut spending first. I think McCain will use a more balanced approach.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 21, 2008 11:25 AM
Comment #251092

Steve:

cont.

The problem with higher taxes is that is slows the economy. Taxes can be viewed broadly in my view as well. Interest rate premiums due to deficit spending is a tax that should be included.

I think we need to look at a solution that keeps us within our history in terms of revenue projections.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 21, 2008 11:28 AM
Comment #251094

Craig Holmes-
I asked why you were competitive, and you gave a number of answers, which I will respond to.

Polls record most voters as being against the war, for withdrawal. The gist of the polls would also not favor a laissez faire approach. He sells himself as just right of center, but that’s not his voting record. Additionally, the polling also says that voters are more left of center in their politics, if we measure by the issues and ideological preferences. In essence, the conclusion would be on that count that voters have gone left of center, and McCain is not as close to the center as he would claim anyways.

Your second reason essentially claims that the presumptive Democratic nominee is from the far left. Well, I could ask you to define far left, but then you would probably define it in a way most people would not, and for reasons others would not have to define them this way. This has long being an ideological bludgeon, a way to paint their Democratic Party Colleagues as part of the fringe politics. Most people, however, would not apply that label to Obama. Just look at his positions. If you think that’s the most liberal anybody can get, I’ve got news for you: the spectrum has plenty of room on his left.

On number three, people seem to be forgiving the latter for the former quality, especially in the light of the terrible decisions made by longtime politicians in Washington of both parties. Additionally, all three candidates lack executive experience, so the claim that the most experienced Washington operate would be best for the job ignores the rather unfortunate precedent of both the Nixon and Johnson Administrations. Experience in politics doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is learning positive lessons in how to govern. Given the company McCain keeps within his campaign (bunches and bunches of lobbyists, including the guy running his campaign), we can’t really conclude that he’s learned positive lessons. nor can we say that about Hillary. Her campaign alone indicates that she’s only learned how to beat up an opponent, not how to attract and maintain a governing coalition.

As for how competitive we still are? Who knows. One thing for certain, it’s reduced the patience of plenty of people for negative campaigning. That’s why Barack maintains his lead, even as Clinton hammers away at him. They see Clinton as more the cause of the depths things have descended to than Obama. That’s why her negative campaigning has done little to stop Obama’s upward climb in the numbers.

Don’t be thrilled. Be worried. Why is it that such a great candidate can’t break the statistical ties against Democrats who aren’t even competing directly against him yet?

As for symbols, they can matter, but what people are looking for is what’s behind the symbols, and Obama so far has managed to convince many people that the concerns thrown at voters are quibbles, distractions. He doesn’t seem like a raving flag-burner to the people he meets. That kind of impression makes much more of a difference than pundits obsessing about pins.

On the topic of leaving Iraq, so far our forces have been powerless to stop the death squads and the wholesale eviction of Iraqis from sectarian dominated neighborhoods.

So just what are we preventing? We might do better to leave these people alone, in such a way that they realize they have to come to terms with each other. No more American presence to play off of. Of course, it won’t be as simple as that to get us out responsibly, but I would argue that there is is no responsible way to stay in Iraq. Staying there only keeps Iraq from settling its own affairs. They’re the only ones who can do that.

As for taxes? The Bush Administration never had to go with those disastrous cuts, especially in a time of war, which was a first for our country. Additionally, a lot of that drunken sailor spending was deliberate deficit spending for Iraq. Bush tried the guns and butter approach of the LBJ era. That was what caused, by the way, the economic downturn of the 70s. The tax cuts were a mistake, and we could have gotten along fine without them. It would have prevented much of the deficit, and kept the dollar stronger.

Higher taxes can slow an economy. But so can inflation. The best economic stimulation is stability. People risk more when they know they won’t get taken to the cleaners. Otherwise, It’s easy come, easy go. Maintaining fiscal responsibility should have been higher priority than a tax cut.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 21, 2008 12:45 PM
Comment #251097

Stephen:

This is one of your best responses to me ever. I really appreciate the thought you put into it.

I will define my terms for liberal/conservative, and when when I do you will see why I am a moderate.

I believe the further out you go either to the left or right the more ideologically rigid one becomes. Speaking strictly from theory the far far left and the far far right start to resemble each other in ways that neither would like to admit. For instance I think when you get pretty far out there one starts to see a lot of conspiracies.

On the left, (again I admit my own stereotype), candidates see the federal goverment as the solution to our problems. On the far right, candidates see the federal governement as the problem.

It is also hard to put democrat and republican labels on liberal/conservative. Bush was in many ways more liberal the Clinton.

As a moderate, I am for what works. Government involvement in the economy has some very good benefits. One of the human elements is that is lowers the standard deviation of the economy. The peaks and valleys are less pronounced. It also builds a floor under our most vulnerable, protects us all, and educates our young.

With this measuring device, I don’t like Obama because he is going to “tip” us too far in the direction of expanding government. He is going to “feed the beast” too rich of a diet.

When you are looking at raising payroll taxes on the upper middle, you are looking at dramatically changing things.

I think one of the most important responses Obama made was about capitcal gains taxes. When confronted with the fact that taxes “can” go down when you raise capital gains rates or “might” go up when you lower them, which has happened many times, he said he still would do it because of “fairness”. In other words, Obama’s point is fairness and not about generating income. That is left thinking. He is using the tax code for social engineering.

I also want to pick apart your point on Bush’s tax cuts. The left talks about “tax cuts for the wealthy” and how evil that is. I’m not going to go to war over the taxes of the ultra wealthy. (Not being a part of the far right). But here is the left’s error. That is only $40 Billion/year. Show me where our problems are caused by $40 Billion.

What you have done is raised expectations that the Bush tax cuts are the problem, which means if you take back the $40 Billion the world will turn around. Go ahead!! You have told America, and America believes you, that the reason they don’t have good health care is because of $40 Billion.

The other foot is about to fall. Every person who owns a mutual fund out side of a retitement plan is going to have their taxes go up. The reason is that Obama is liberal and his tool of choice is the federal government.

I am for a balanced approach. McCain is about the only person I know of who is talking about cutting spending. We need someone to!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 21, 2008 1:21 PM
Comment #251098

Stephen:

Continued:

You mentioned above fiscal responsibility. I would ike to discus that with you in relation to ideology and how I would vote. This might be instructive because moderates hold the answer to most elections.

On the economy, I would vote for a moderate liberal who is fiscally responsible, over the far right. Given a choice between higher taxes and higher deficits, because of where we are in our country, even though I strongly believe in cutting spending first, (McCain), if a democrat to the right of Obama was running of fiscal conservativism with moderate spending proposals, and some tax increases, I would be hard pressed.

If I thought I was truely “welcomed to the table” of discussion, and if the democrat was not leading with social issues, I would have a hard time choosing who to vote for.

They would have to be strong on defense as well. Can you bring back Sam Nunn?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 21, 2008 1:50 PM
Comment #251109

Craig,
What’s your definition of a “fixed” Iraq? As good as we found it? With Saddam in charge,repression, brutality? It wasn’t only bad intelligence and/or outright lies that got us into this quagmire, but the sheer overarching desire by the Bush administration to force the issue. A full year before the invasion, Bush was referring to Iraq as the “central front in the war on terror”. The costs of this war are simply too great for us to go on bearing them. We are not going to “fix” Iraq by our continued presence there. Paying one faction to fight another is not my idea of a strategy to support. The main cause of the hard core terroists being in Iraq is OUR being in Iraq.

Would you not rather spend some of the elephant-choking sums of money we are spending in Iraq to actually track down and kill those who attacked our country? Where are any standards which would tell us we have succeeded, or that we have failed? How many dollars spent, how many young lives lost? You talk about cutting spending. Here’s one area where we could save a buttload of money. Getting out of a war we got into under false pretense, where there are little or no signs of sustainable progress, and which is draining us of money and military readiness.

Since timetables do not and have never grown on trees, all timetables are “artificial”. The Commander-In-Chief makes them. I hope you don’t believe that bullshit about Bush listening to the commanders on the ground. When they were all telling him that we needed many more troops to secure the country, he FIRED them. This is not an administration that wants to hear what the commanders on the ground have to say.

On health care: in Rhode Island, where I live, mandatory auto liability insurance was introduced. There was a general outcry! Poor folks will be poorer! You can’t mandate! Etc. etc.
I agreed to some extent with these sentiments. In the years that followed, the premiums came way down. Makes sense, since everyone had it, that the price would drop. The same thing will happen with health care.

I don’t think Obama wants to raise taxes, simply bring them back to where they were before the idiotic Bush cuts. I have cristal clear memories of surpluses at the end of Clinton’s presidency. The revenues were high enough to support surpluses notwithstanding that reduction in revenues that we must have had as a result of those evil higher taxes.

Obama, to the best of my knowledge, believes in, and advocates, pay/go. How does that jibe with runaway government spending? You say the tax cut differential is only forty billion. Now lets factor the hundreds of billions we are foolishly pissing away in Iraq into the equation.

I must say, this has been a very civilized debate. What a pleasure it is to remove some of the acrimony from the discourse. As I would like to see much more of this, I will certainly be casting my vote for Obama:)

Posted by: steve miller at April 21, 2008 4:58 PM
Comment #251113

“Can you bring back Sam Nunn?”
“Sam Nunn lines up behind Barack Obama as best equipped to stop political ‘demonizing, dumbing down’
Friday, April 18, 2008, 12:25 PM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Former Georgia senator Sam Nunn, who toyed with the concept of a non-partisan run for president last year, has come down on the side of Barack Obama in the Democratic race for president.
The former senator, considered one of the nation’s preeminent experts on U.S. defense, met with Obama’s foreign policy team this morning.

A very important endorsement for conservative democrats.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 21, 2008 5:52 PM
Comment #251118

Steve Miller:

I to am enjoying this civil debate.

What’s your definition of a “fixed” Iraq? As good as we found it?

I think the government should be able to function on a reasonable basis. The country should be able to defend itself. There should be a basic economy that functions.

The biggest fear I have is genocide if we leave on a fixed time table.

I am not worried about us staying there long term as long as the numbers are small, say 10,000 troops. Many times as in the case of japan, the host country pays for a large percentage of the expense, say 75%.

Would you not rather spend some of the elephant-choking sums of money we are spending in Iraq to actually track down and kill those who attacked our country?

Of course but not at the expense of a slaughter in Iraq.

I don’t think Obama wants to raise taxes, simply bring them back to where they were before the idiotic Bush cuts.I have cristal clear memories of surpluses at the end of Clinton’s presidency. The revenues were high enough to support surpluses notwithstanding that reduction in revenues that we must have had as a result of those evil higher taxes.

Obama does not want to bring them back to levels at the time of Clinton. Bush’s tax cuts were across the board. You have never heard Obama say he wants to reinstate the tax level on the middle and lower class, just the wealthy. That dollar amount is about $40 billion. Really not that much relative to our deficit.

Secondly, Obama wants to go the opposite direction as Clinton on Capital gains taxes. Clinton lowered Capital gains tax which helped fuel the stock market rise. It helped create the surplus. This happens temporarily when you lower capital gains taxes because in induces people who were holding assets to sell and buy. Obama wants to raise taxes even though it likely will have the opposite effect of reducing revenue for a while. He said in the debate he is doing this out of fairness not economics.

Third, Obama wants to raise payroll taxes on those earning more than $90,000. That is going to be a huge tax increase.

Fourth, back to Capital gains. This will be a tax increase on all americans who own mutual funds outside of retirement plans.

When you think of tax increases think of Obama.

Obama is however pledging not to raise taxes.
What I think he means is income taxes but is not being clear.

The revenues were high enough to support surpluses notwithstanding that reduction in revenues that we must have had as a result of those evil higher taxes.

You are going to be disappointed on this one. Resoring the tax code to Clinton era will not restore the revenue stream as a percentage of GDP. Besides do you really want to see taxes go up on the lower classes? Bush removed so many people from the tax rolls.

Even if we do these things, and you are absolutely right, it is still not enough. Government spending is scheduled to eat it all up unless we cut spending. I am for cutting spending first, as is McCain.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 21, 2008 6:55 PM
Comment #251123

And don’t forget, the Clinton ‘surpluses’ were manufactured a bit by changing the way that the budget got reported and because of pressure from the Republican congress that he had to deal with. This coupled with some of the things that Craig mentioned, as well as the first Internet Boom & Y2K spending that pumped up the economy artificially had a very large role in that tax revenue.

And with all of that, we were entering a recession as he left office.

Had we focused on spending then, or even in the subsequent years following, we would be in much better shape to let people keep more of their hard earned money.

The fairy tale of the ‘Clinton surpluses’ gets told a lot, but it doesn’t touch the reality of the situation.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 21, 2008 7:34 PM
Comment #251128

Steve:

Here is what the head of the CBO says about capital gain taxes:


Because taxes are paid on realized rather than accrued capital gains, taxpayers have a great deal of control over when they pay their capital gains taxes. By choosing to hold on to an asset, a taxpayer defers the tax. The incentive to do that — even when it might otherwise be financially desirable to sell an asset — is known as the lock-in effect. As a consequence of that incentive, the level of the tax rate can substantially influence when asset holders realize their gains, as can be seen particularly clearly when tax rates change. … For instance, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 boosted capital gains tax rates effective at the beginning of 1987. Anticipating that increase, investors realized a huge amount of gains in 1986. Then, in 1987, realizations fell by almost as much, returning to a level comparable to that before the tax increase.

[…]

The sensitivity of realizations to gains tax rates raises the possibility that a cut in the rate could so increase realizations that revenue from capital gains taxes might rise as a consequence. Rising gains receipts in response to a rate cut are most likely to occur in the short run. Postponing or advancing realizations by a year is relatively easy compared with doing so over much longer periods. In addition, a stock of accumulated gains may be realized shortly after the rate is cut, but once that accumulation is “unlocked,” the stock of accrued gains is smaller and realizations cannot continue at as fast a rate as they did initially. Thus, even though the responsiveness of realizations to a tax cut may not be enough to produce additional receipts over a long period, it may do so over a few years. The potentially large difference between the long- and short-term sensitivity of realizations to tax rates can mislead observers into assuming a greater permanent responsiveness than actually exists

This is actually pretty good. So when Clinton lowered capital gains rates, up came tax revenues on a short term basis.

Should Obama raise capital gains taxes, one would predict an imediate increase in tax revenue because people will sell before the higher taxes come into effect. then one would predict a large drop in capital gains taxes. Over time however things will stabalize and tax revenue should go up.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 21, 2008 8:43 PM
Comment #251132

I was disappointed that neither charlie gibson or Obama understood how Capital gains taxes increases effect tax revenue.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 21, 2008 10:02 PM
Comment #251137

While watching the debate I found myself filled with bitterness, clinging to my bible and my gun and thinking we need to secure our boarders and keep millions of illegal workers from flooding into our nation and taking jobs away from americans…driving down wages as well.

Then, I realized, I was a neocon and that I must give up my typical white man racism and follow Obama, burn my bible, turn in my gun, give my job to an illegal, take down my flag, go live in public housing, and repent for my patriotism.

Posted by: stephenl at April 21, 2008 11:01 PM
Comment #251138

Craig, in a free society, people can and do send their money overseas when they see it can make more there, than at home.

My wife and I already have half our investments outside of the country.

If the left goes to screwing up the economy, we will very quickly send another 25% overseas. multiply that times millions of people.

The rich and not so rich don’t have to sit still and get gored by the left.

Posted by: stephenl at April 21, 2008 11:07 PM
Comment #251141

submarinesforever,

I’ll stand by what I’ve written. If you’re interested, here is a link to read:
EXPERTS AGREE THAT CAPITAL GAINS TAX CUTS LOSE REVENUE

Also, on the widening gap between rich and poor:
The Poor and the Middle Class: Income Soul-Mates Left in the Dust

steve miller:

I don’t want to take anything away from McCain; I think he is a great man, I respect and admire his tone, his service to the country in both the congress and the military. And, I like him as a person.

You might want to read this article and perhaps rethink this impression of McCain that has been sold to the public through the media. McCain has a long history that has demonstrated he is simply too temperamentally unstable to become our next president.

I just don’t think he even comes close to the powerhouse that is Obama.

I agree, and Obama clearly has the kind of superior intelligence and calm, competent demeanor that is necessary for the job. We desperately need these things in a president after eight years of Bush/Cheney.

Craig:

When he says to bring them home on a tight fixed timetable, he is being dangerously nieve.
Walking out of Iraq under a simplistic plan is simply stupid and nieve.

We have to leave Iraq. Period. Not only because is there no reason to force our troops to fight Iraq’s civil war for them, or because our military forces are broken and cruelly overextended, but because we have been running expenses of 16 Billion Dollars per month for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and it’s borrowed money.
In my view what is incredibly stupid and naive is acting as though these are things that cannot, and must not be understood by the American people.

Oh, and I believe if you’re going to keep calling Obama naive, you should try spelling it correctly — perhaps especially when you’re making it follow the word “stupid”.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at April 21, 2008 11:14 PM
Comment #251180

VV:

Thank you for your response. It is very important in times like this to not compound our mistakes. To choose a policy now and to pledge to keep it when one has not the slightest idea what events will be like in a year from now I think is very unwise.

All sides are talking about “getting out of Iraq.” We are debating about how and when. McCain is for a gradual withdrawal based on events on the ground ending with a small force in country which has been a successful US practice since the end of WWII. This plan put forth by McCain has been chosen by both Democratic and Republcan presidents in the past.

Obama is decided to use our plan from Vietnam. In Vietnam, the vacuum we created was filled by those who chose genicide.

I believe McCain’s approach is the wiser, and provides the best chance of moving forward with the least cost in human lives.

I understand and hear your point that our military is stretched thin. I have heard this from Colin Powell and many others. It is a serious issue. However, to abandon Iraq I believe would be a great mistake that risks the lives of literally millions of people.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 22, 2008 11:33 AM
Comment #251183

VV,

Links to the CBPP and Alternet? I’ll counter with links to the CATO Institute and we’ll call it even, shall we? (BTW, there are *4* ‘experts’ at the CBPP focused on national tax policy, hardly an overwhelming consensus.)

But beyond that, in the middle of a recession, RAISING the capital gains tax will freeze up money now when it needs to be flowing more freely, instead of the increase in tax revenue and economic stimulus that will help when they are cut. These are short term benefits that we are after to counter short term economic downturns like we are in.

Obama would rather make the situation worse in the name of fairness.

It think this is an excellent example of his ‘Judgement’ and why many are questioning the quality of it.

Jeesh.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 22, 2008 12:05 PM
Comment #251186
Veritas Vincit wrote: Also, on the widening gap between rich and poor (www.alternet.org/workplace/82294/)
Yep.

It’s a trend that started about 1976 (for over 30 years).
1976 was the turning point for many factors (debt, wealth disparity, unfair trade policies, etc.).

In 1976, 1% of the wealthiest Americans owned 20% of all wealth.
In 2008, 1% of the wealthiest Americans owns 40% of all wealth.
80% of Americans own only 17% of all wealth.
The gap has never been larger since the 1930s (the Great Depression):

  • 40% of WEALTH OWNED by 1% of U.S. Population:
  • 045% |—x——————-
  • 040% |x—x—————-x
  • 035% |——x—-x——x—
  • 030% |———x—x—x—-
  • 025% |—————x-x—-
  • 020% |—————-x——
  • 000% |—————+———-YEAR
  • _____ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2
  • _____ 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 0 0
  • _____ 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
  • _____ 0 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 0 0

Real median incomes (in 2004 dollars) increased only a measely $3K in 28 years (between 1978 and 2006).
Real median household incomes have actually fallen since 1978 (or earlier) when considering there are now workers per household, the disappearing 40-hour work-week, etc.

  • Real Median Incomes (in 2004 Dollars) from 1978 to 2006:

  • 46K |——————————

  • 45K |———————-x——

  • 44K |———————x-x—-

  • 43K |——————-x——x-

  • 42K |———-x——x———-

  • 41K |———x-x—x————

  • 40K |-x—-x—-x—————

  • 39K |—x-x———————-

  • 38K |—-x————————

  • 37K +———————————YEAR

  • _____1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2

  • _____9 9 9 9 9 9 9 0 0 0

  • _____7 8 8 8 9 9 9 0 0 0

  • _____8 3 6 9 2 5 8 1 4 6

  • Year 1978: $40K (in 2004 Dollars)

  • Year 2006: $43K (in 2004 Dollars)
So, when all factors are included, real median incomes have actually been falling (especially when considering more workers per household and much more government debt which will fall on the tax payers);

Since 2002, real median incomes fell while GDP rose (another clear example of the rich getting richer, and everyone else getting poorer):

  • GDP rate of growth versus Real Median Household Income:

  • g=GDP rate of change

  • x=Real Median Household Income rate of change

  • +20% |——————————————g

  • +15% |——————————-g———-

  • +10% |———————-g——————-

  • +05% |————g——————————

  • +00% |gx-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x———-x———— YEAR

  • -05% |——————————-x-x-x——

  • ______2 ____ 2____ 2 ____ 2 ____ 2

  • ______0 ____ 0____ 0 ____ 0 ____ 0

  • ______0 ____ 0____ 0 ____ 0 ____ 0

  • ______2 ____ 3____ 4 ____ 5 ____ 6

  • INFLATION CPI (CPI=100 for year 1967):
  • 650 |———————————x (665 as of JAN-2008)
  • 600 |———————————x
  • 550 |———————————x
  • 500 |——————————-x-
  • 450 |——————————-x-
  • 400 |——————————-x-
  • 350 |——————————x—
  • 300 |—————————-x—-
  • 250 |—————————-x—-
  • 200 |—————————x——
  • 150 |—————————x——
  • 100 |————————x———
  • 050 |x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x————
  • 000 |————————-+——-
  • YEAR
  • _____ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 22
  • _____ 8 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 9 00
  • _____ 0 2 4 6 8 0 2 4 6 8 01
  • _____ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 00
  • Have you seen the U.S. Dollar lately ( One-Simple-Idea.com/USD_Falling.htm ). The CPI chart above explains why a 1950 U.S. Dollar is now worth than 10 cents.
  • Nation-wide debt is over $53 Trillion (never worse both in size and as a percentage of the $13.9 Trillion GDP):
  • $52.5T |—————————————-d (d=debt=$53T)
  • $50.0T |—————————————-d
  • $47.5T |—————————————-d
  • $45.0T |—————————————d-
  • $42.5T |—————————————d-
  • $40.0T |—————————————d-
  • $37.5T |————————————-d—
  • $35.0T |————————————d—-
  • $32.5T |———————————-d——
  • $30.0T |———————————d——-
  • $27.5T |——————————-d———
  • $25.0T |——————————d———-
  • $22.5T |—————————-d————
  • $20.0T |—————————d————-
  • $17.5T |————————-d—————
  • $15.0T |————————d—————-
  • $12.5T |———————d——————g (g=GDP=$13.9T)
  • $10.0T |—————-d—————g——-
  • $07.5T |———-d————g—————-
  • $05.0T |-d——-g——————————
  • $02.5T |-g—————————————
  • $00.0T |——————+————————— YEAR
  • _____ (1956)_____(1976)_____(2007)
  • The National Debt as a percentage of GDP started growing out of control about 1976 too:
  • $120% |————————-x———————————
  • $110% |————————-x———————————
  • $100% |————————x—x——————————
  • $090% |————————x—x——————————
  • $080% |————————x—-x—————————-
  • $070% |————————x——x——————-x—-x
  • Debt = 68% of $13.86T GDP
  • $060% |———————-x———-x—————x—x—
  • $050% |———————-x————x———-x———-
  • $040% |——————-x-x————-x——x————-
  • $030% |————x—-x———————xx—————-
  • $020% |———-x-x-x——————————————
  • $010% |x-x-x-x—-x——————————————-
  • $000% |—————————————-+———————-YEAR
  • ______1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 22
  • ______9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 0 00
  • ______0 0 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 0 00
  • ______0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 58
  • And that chart does not eveninclude the massive $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching like a train wreck in slow motion (source: www.socialsecurity.org/reformandyou/faqs.html#2). Include the $12.8 Trillion, and the federal Debt-to-GDP is 160% of the $13.9 Trillion GDP!

Where will the money come come from? when that money does not yet exist? Obviously, a lot of it will have to be created out of thin air, and that means a lot more inflation.

Many economic conditions are now worse than ever, and/or since the 1930s and 1940s because of these
10 abuses, which did not all come about by mere coincidence, and are likely to get worse as long as too many voters continue to repeatedly reward irresponsible incumbent politicians for all of it with 93%-to-99% re-election rates: one-simple-idea.com/CongressMakeUp_1855_2008.htm

Posted by: d.a.n at April 22, 2008 12:24 PM
Comment #251192

The CATO institute is the John Birch Society updated by the Koch Family Foundation. Their positions on marijuana and immigration are the only ones that set them apart form the far right wing nuts.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 22, 2008 1:12 PM
Comment #251197

Dan:

I came across a link that is important to your premise of income inequity. It has to do with SS benefits.

Basically there is also a growing life expectancy difference between the affluent and the rest of us.

I want to link this thought to our debate/discussion on economics. This relates to Social Security because if I follow the money correctly, this ends up with a reverse Robin Hood. I believe it means that the poor subsidize the affluent benefits because we have to pay social security/ medicare subsidies for a longer period of time for the affluent because they live longer.

Again as someone who is for reducing benfits on the wealthy before raising taxes, we may as a country need to “band” benefits and adjust them realative to longevity. This to me would mean cutting Social Security outlays for the more affluent in order to make sure that the cost per dollar of benefit was at least equal across the different income levels.

At a minimum, we should try to ensure that the drain on tax dollars per person is as equal as can be. As a tax payer, I do not want a disproportionate amount of my tax dollars in the Social Security/ Medicare system going to the wealthy because they live longer.

Here is the link:

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2008/04/18/income-inequality-extends-to-life-expectancy/?mod=WSJBlog

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 22, 2008 1:39 PM
Comment #251206

Craig, Social Security and Medicare are like a run-away train headed for a washed-out bridge.

Some in do-nothing Congress want to privatize it.
Some in do-nothing Congress refuse to modify it.
And too many voters repeatedly reward them for it with 93%-to-99% re-election rates.
And the end result will be an education.
Pain and misery is a good teacher too.
Perhaps enough voters will be less apathetic, complacent, delusional, blindly loyal, irrationally fearful, and lazy when they are jobless, homeless, and hungry (all of which are currently increasing).

As the lower-income and middle-income groups become poorer and poorer, and the wealthiest 1% become wealthier, Social Security and Medicare will simply not have any choice but to reduce benefits, increase the eligibility age, and raise taxes on workers currently supporting the systems.

And that may still be insufficient, because raising tax rates won’t change anything if the majority of voters have falling wages and income.

However, Social Security and Medicare are not the nation’s biggest problems.
Demographics and Social Security (alone) are not the root problem.
The root problem is all of us (corrupt politicians and too many voters that not only tolerate it, but reward and empower it), resulting in numerous abuses over the past 30 years that have resulte in these economic conditions, which have never been worse today, and/or since the 1930s and 1940s.

And the last straw may be yet another vast entitlement system (universal healthcare) that can be plundered (as have been Social Security and Medicare), such as massive Medicare fraud, and the $12.8 Trillion plundered and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 million baby-boomer bubble approaching.

Total Domestic Financial Sector Debt = $15.8 Trillion
Total Household Debt = $13.88 Trillion
Total Business Debt = $10.16 Trillion
Total Other Private Sector Foreign Debt = $1.8 Trillion
Total Federal Government National Debt = $9.4 Trillion
Total State and Local Government Debt = $2.2 Trillion
__________________________________________________
Total = $53.3 Trillion
Now add the $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 million baby boomer bubble approaching, and the total is $66.1 Trillion! ($216,721 per person).

QUESTION: Where will the money come from to pay the interest on the current $53.3 Trillion in total nation-wide debt, much less the money to pay the principal (LOAN = PRINCIPAL + INTEREST), when that money does not yet exist?

ANSWER: It will be created out of thin air (as it has been since 1913). Get ready for more inflation, as more and more money (and debt) is created to stave off the collapse of this debt pyramid.

Things will continue to get worse until these 10 abuses are adequately addressed:

  • (01) Lawlessness (constitutional violations, existing laws being ignored, etc.)

  • (02) Wars (7 wars in the last 90 years)

  • (03) Plutocracy / Kleptocracy (99.85% of all eligible voters are vastly out-spent by a mere 0.15% who make 83% of all federal campaign donations)

  • (04) Illegal Immigration and Unfair Trade Practices

  • (05) Election Probilems

  • (06) Debt ($53 Trillion of nation-wide debt) and

  • (07) Inflation / Usury / the Monetary-System is a Pyramid-Scheme (seen the falling U.S. Dollar lately?)

  • (08) Regressive Taxation (Warren Buffet’s fedaral taxes:17.7% on $46 Million: His secretary: 30% on $60K )

  • (09) Insufficient / Inadequate Education (politicians don’t want educated voters)

  • (10) HealthCare or DangerousCare? (195,000 deaths annually from preventable medical mistakes)

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect, and deserve.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 22, 2008 3:59 PM
Comment #251211

Dan:

You missed my whole point. Didn’t need the long list.

My intention wasn’t to give you a reason to download information you have already sent me several times.

My intention was to give you a link that shows another way there is income disparity. Social Security benefits.

Life expectancy disparity means that per dollar of benefit received we spend more on the affluent than the working poor.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 22, 2008 5:09 PM
Comment #251215

Craig, I wasn’t not disputing your point at all, but was merely pointing out that these numerous problems and abuses will never be adequately addressed until:

  • (a) enough Americans care enough to do something about it (i.e. something simple like not repeatedly rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians with 93%-to-99% re-election rates),

  • (b) or these vast entitlement systems fail (along with the economy).
However, the people drawing from it have paid into the system, so why shouldn’t they receive from it?

The problem is that $12.8 Trillion was borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching (13,175 new recipients per day).

That fact is, something will have to give.
Chances will be necessary.
Otherwise, the problem will solve itself, and few (if any) will like that solution.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 22, 2008 5:50 PM
Comment #251216

CORRECTION: Chances Changes will be necessary.

As for wealth disparity, there are more reasons for it than the wealthy receiving Social Security.

However, the caps on Social Security should be removed. Why should people making under $97,500 pay 15.3% in Social Security taxes while people making millions pay no Social Security taxes on income above the cap?

Shouldn’t we all pay the same percentage?

Posted by: d.a.n at April 22, 2008 5:54 PM
Comment #251218

Dan:

No we should not all be paying the same percentage. Paying the same percentage in unequal the other way. Let me explain why.

Social Security only uses the first amount of money to calculate your benefit. If you raise taxes, you simply raise benefits unless you change the way the benefits are calculated.

Changing the benefit calculation is the way to solve the problem. There are two ways to do this. One is to raise taxes for the same benefit. The other is to lower the benefit for the same taxes. Either way you are changing the way benefits are calculated.

I am arguing in favor of changing the way Social Security calclates benefits based on longevity. It is very provable that different income levels have different longevity.

Specifically I am suggesting no change for those under the median income levels. I would then propose adjusting benefits downward for those on the top half so that future generations pay the same per person per dollar of benefit.

I am in the affluent area, so use me as an example. Why should my children’s generation subsidize my retirement longer than someone of more modest means? It is absolutely irrational. I will not even need social security. (Partly because I don’t plan on retiring until at least 70). But still, the main point. This data shows a way to cut expenses. It’s a piece of the pie,and a doable partial solution.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 22, 2008 6:25 PM
Comment #251224
Craig Holmes wrote: d.a.n: No we should not all be paying the same percentage. Paying the same percentage in unequal the other way. Let me explain why. Social Security only uses the first amount of money to calculate your benefit. If you raise taxes, you simply raise benefits unless you change the way the benefits are calculated.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Craig Holmes wrote: Changing the benefit calculation is the way to solve the problem.
I agree:
  • The percentage of taxes on Social Security should be the same for every person,
  • and it should apply to all types of income above the poverty level,
  • and the benefit should be the same for everyone, which is merely a subsistence amount:
      Social Security and Medicare:
    • Every individual, when eligible, receives the same benefits: I times times the poverty level;
    • I is a multiplier determined by the government, that is never less than 1.0 ;
    • the poverty level will be determined by a government agency, and is recalculated annually;
    • It does not matter if some pay more or less in a life-time; the purpose of Social Security and Medicare should not simply be to hold your money and then give back an equal amount later. The purpose is to provide the minimum required to survive on. Any civilized society should be willing to do that much. Otherwise, we are not civilized, and it is simply everyone for themselves, which could lead to anarchy, chaos, war, and survival of the strongest. Also, people that have nothing to lose, and no way to improve their lot in life, can become dangerous to society. No one is an island. The benefits of a lawful, peaceful society are not free. It is a small price to pay if it truly benefits society.
Craig Holmes wrote: There are two ways to do this. One is to raise taxes for the same benefit. The other is to lower the benefit for the same taxes. Either way you are changing the way benefits are calculated.
As stated above, the benefit must be no more than a subsistence amount, regardless of how much a person paid into the system. The purpose of Social Security should be only to provide a subsistence income. Nothing more. Also, everyone should receive it, regardless of net worth. If a wealthy person wants to waive their Social Security beneifts, then that’s great, but everyone that paid into the system should receive the same subsistence amount.
Craig Holmes wrote: I am arguing in favor of changing the way Social Security calclates benefits based on longevity. It is very provable that different income levels have different longevity.
No argument with either of those statements.
Craig Holmes wrote: Specifically I am suggesting no change for those under the median income levels. I would then propose adjusting benefits downward for those on the top half so that future generations pay the same per person per dollar of benefit.
Again, the purpose of Social Security should be to provide an equal subsistence amount only (to all citizens). And if all types of income are taxed an equal percentage, then everyone will have contributed to the system, since no one can exist without some income (excluding the disabled and handidcapped why may have never produced income, but receive welfare instead).
Craig Holmes wrote: I am in the affluent area, so use me as an example. Why should my children’s generation subsidize my retirement longer than someone of more modest means?
If the system is modified appropriately, longevity is not as sever an issue.
Craig Holmes wrote: It is absolutely irrational. I will not even need social security. (Partly because I don’t plan on retiring until at least 70). But still, the main point. This data shows a way to cut expenses. It’s a piece of the pie,and a doable partial solution.
The wealthy can always voluntarily waive their benefits, but not by force. We shouldn’t penalize people for being wealthy.

However, none of these changes are likely to happen by design.
Therefore, the system will probably fail.
Already, it is in trouble, since $12.8 Trillion was borrowed and spent from it, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 million baby-boomer bubble approaching.

Also, a number of things (including Social Security) are in trouble , and none of the nation’s festering 10 abuses and these 10 abuses are likely to ever be adequately addressed until it is too late, based on the last 30+ years of problems growing worse every year, until they are now worse than ever, and/or since the 1930s and 1940s.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect, and deserve.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 22, 2008 7:31 PM
Comment #251235

Rhinehold:

Links to the CBPP and Alternet? I’ll counter with links to the CATO Institute and we’ll call it even, shall we?

Obviously you didn’t read the CBPP link, since you came back with this comment. Go look at that link again. You’ll note that they weren’t quoting their own information.
Alternet is also a clearinghouse of articles that come from many and varied sources, so dismissing the entire site out of hand simply because it leans left would be a serious mistake.

Like I said before, I’ll stand by what I’ve written. Since I’m in the Democrats and Liberals Column I’ll go on the assumption that the info I link to will probably be interesting to those on the left, even if it doesn’t appeal to Libertarians or Republicans.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at April 23, 2008 12:40 AM
Comment #251236
Obviously you didn’t read the CBPP link, since you came back with this comment. Go look at that link again. You’ll note that they weren’t quoting their own information.

Yes, I did. The links where to outside sources but the overall ‘conclusions’ were there’s.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 23, 2008 1:16 AM
Comment #251238
The CATO institute is the John Birch Society updated by the Koch Family Foundation. Their positions on marijuana and immigration are the only ones that set them apart form the far right wing nuts.

It’s this type of ignorant spewing that causes your credibility to bottom out to zero, ohrealy.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 23, 2008 1:18 AM
Comment #251239

BTW, it was a perfect example of the hypocrisy of the Obama camp calling for ‘unity’ and the end of ‘divisive politics’, much like Obama’s call for a clean race but the willingness to go negative if it can get him elected.

Principles are a four letter word to some.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 23, 2008 1:20 AM
Comment #251312

The chance is here. If Hillary become il Presidente she definitely will pursue major reforms… She has the brain, the will and the strength… She has proven that again and again…
Obamatics have become so blind, they can not see further than their noses…
Obamatics have become so blind, they can not see further than their noses…
Ideological rhetoric without the any solid plan of how to deal with those three major issues (1. the WAR; 2. weak Economy; 3. the Environment) that are affecting our lives is just a hole in the water…
Obama’s speech after he lost in Pennsylvania, was long, boring, repetitive, talked more against McCain than analyzing why he is not able to win in big states and metropolitan cities!!! Obama is lost in his narcistic believes that the American society owes him the presidency because he is black… It is a kind of a Presidential Affirmative Action. Doesn’t matter that the others are far more qualified than he…is

Posted by: ARBEN Camaj at April 24, 2008 1:48 AM
Comment #251337

CATO delenda est

Posted by: ohrealy at April 24, 2008 12:03 PM
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