Democrats & Liberals Archives

Welfare for Big Oil; Not for People

We have a welfare state. We have millions living on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. And now we have a government takeover of the entire healthcare system. So say Republicans who, are suddenly worried about the ballooning deficit. These are the same Republicans who are screaming for welfare for Big Oil.

Republicans don't give a damn about ordinary people that have lost their jobs. They complain a lot about the loss of jobs, but when it comes to doing something for the jobless their answer is "Forgetaboutit. Don't be so lazy, go out and find a job." Just before our great national holiday, here's what the Republican-filibustering Senate did:

The U.S. Senate went on Fourth of July recess Friday without passing an extension to unemployment insurance. The 1.2 million people who saw their unemployment benefits end on July 1 will have to wait until at least July 12, when the Senators return to Washington. Even then, there is no guarantee that Senate Democrats will have the 60 votes they need to pass the extension.

Ostensibly, Republicans are against welfare - for average Americans. How about for Big Oil companies? We know that the previous Republican administration softened safety regulations that led to the current BP mess in the Gulf. It allowed Big Oil to use foreign tax havens, thus depriving the U.S. of billions of dollars. As Think Progress notes about the current Gulf Fiasco:

The owner, Transocean, moved its corporate headquarters from Houston to the Cayman Islands in 1999 and then to Switzerland in 2008, maneuvers that also helped it avoid taxes. At the same time, BP was reaping sizable tax benefits from leasing the rig. According to a letter sent in June to the Senate Finance Committee, the company used a tax break for the oil industry to write off 70 percent of the rent for Deepwater Horizon — a deduction of more than $225,000 a day since the lease began.

Welfare for Big Oil! We are actually encouraging Big Oil to flout normal tax laws made for normal Americans!

Then there are direct subsidies for Big Oil:

...Center for American Progress Senior Policy Analyst Sima Gandhi has counted nine different subsidies that the U.S. government gives to the oil industry, including refunds for drilling costs and refunds to cover the cost of searching for oil. If this corporate welfare were cut, it would save $45 billion per year, and according to the Office of Economic Policy at the Department of Treasury, “affect domestic production by less than one-half of 1 percent.”

Repeat: The U.S. provides at least $45 billion in subsidies - welfare - to Big Oil, the most profitable industry in the world.

Way back in February, Obama called for removal of oil subsidies for Big Oil. Do you think Republicans were in favor then? Do you believe that Republicans would be in favor now? Would they be willing anytime to take away Big Oil welfare? No way!

Republicans are against welfare for ordinary people, but favor welfare for Big Oil. Not just for Big Oil, but for Big Finance and Big Insurance. The Republican Party is the party of Big Business, so it advocates welfare for Big Business. The Democratic Party is the party of normal Americans so it advocates welfare for normal Americans.

Posted by Paul Siegel at July 5, 2010 6:36 PM
Comments
Comment #303093

Obama says a lot and does much less. Maybe he talked about cutting subsidies. Did he take any concrete steps?

Re taxes - that tends to be more complicated. You cannot require all firms that do business in the U.S. to be headquartered in the U.S. That would be … what’s the word … imperialistic.

It is true that our corporate tax rate is much higher than most others in the world, which doesn’t encourage firms to move here. You want to capture them so that you can make them work here and charge them more money, right. What would be the word used to describe that?

These sorts of policies have been tried before.

Re subsidies - indeed, we should cut all subsidies. But why do we have subsidies? It is to keep the price of fuel artificially low. I would support higher gas prices, so maybe we agree.

Posted by: C&J at July 5, 2010 8:06 PM
Comment #303101

Did he take any concrete steps?

Didn’t you mean Socialist steps…which would be the exact charge you’d lead.

Posted by: gergle at July 6, 2010 12:06 AM
Comment #303115

When we had a surplus Democrats recommended saving and investing it away in a lockbox. Republicans thought that idea was boring.

Now that we’re facing a recession, Democrats recommend jobs programs and extending unemployment benefits. Republicans say now is the time to save.

Really, how in the world did these people ever get elected?

Posted by: Max at July 6, 2010 8:05 AM
Comment #303125

Property rights, earned reward, individual responsibility, religious freedom, limited government, a strong military, and “we the people” empowered to turn liberty into our own version of the American Dream are what our Founding Fathers left as a legacy. In November, you’ll have the opportunity to define true north for the future of this great country.

No government check can match being touched and helped by local charities staffed by volunteers who care. When good works cease to be voluntary and “giving” through taxes becomes compulsory, charity gives way to confiscation and freedom to servitude.

The American economy has served for over 200 years as the greatest anti-poverty program in human history because it encouraged work and discouraged idleness more than any other. America did this by guaranteeing its citizens the freedom to acquire property without being hindered by excessive regulations or redistribution policies. American “caring” shouldn’t be defined by the number of people “helped” by government but by how many no longer need it. Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.

And yes…that includes corporate welfare.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 6, 2010 1:23 PM
Comment #303127

Hundreds…thousands of businesses are going under daily, and with them, are hundreds and thousands of employers and their employees.
So, the chain is broken, and beginning at the lowest level, does the feeding of those local charities.
Most people, when faced with adversity, would rather feel good about themselves and find work to feed their families and pay their bills. Going trough unemployment is not an uplifting venture. It is humbling and demeaning and demoralizing, and demands that we respond to “for hire” questioning and interview procedures, even if it’s for something way below our skill-set.
Those who would rather live off welfare are not any more prevalent now than any other time, and once the economy does recover and goes again in the right direction, they will continue their chosen way of life. But for right now, and until then, the collective WE, need some help. We can all afford to be at least a little more magnanimous for a while longer……..

Posted by: jane doe at July 6, 2010 2:12 PM
Comment #303128

jane, the latest figures I saw show only 48% of the stimulous money has been spent. Could we not redirect some of that money to extend unemployment benefits?

We could save many billions by eliminating all the Czars…their staffs, offices, traveling expenses and such. Many hundreds of federal agencies have unspent monies that merely revert to the congressional slush fund. How about using some of that?

There are billions in wasted federal expenditures in addition to what I have mentioned.

Let’s try a little austerity before we saddle ourselves with even more debt.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 6, 2010 2:49 PM
Comment #303129

C&J, gotta side with you on the corporate taxes issue, with ONE caveat. Until we are capable and willing to, without exception, tax the very wealthy at rates rivaling those of the working middle class, or more, corporate taxes remain a poor but, semi-reliable requirement for preventing deficits and debt from rising even faster.

Corporate taxes harm economic activity by being passed on to consumers, limiting consumption across a wider diversity of goods and services. A good beginning is about to come, with the lapse of many of the Bush tax cuts on the very wealthy and increase in capital gains taxes. I suspect an increase in estate taxes on very wealthy estates is in the cards, as well. All good down payments toward the objective of getting rid of corporate taxes.

Problem is, Democrats have no intention of getting rid of corporate taxes. And neither, for that matter, do most Republicans. Just another reason for middle class consumers to vote out incumbents and vote in challengers in ever larger numbers, to motivate these newly challengers to avoid the boot at their first incumbent reelection turn.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 6, 2010 2:58 PM
Comment #303139

Austerity, now there is a concept that King George failed miserably at grasping.

Posted by: jane doe at July 6, 2010 7:27 PM
Comment #303149

David

The poor pay no net taxes and the working class pay very low rates. The top earners pay almost all the Federal taxes.

Payroll taxes are different, but the concept of SS is that it is an insurance system. The poor collect a lot more than they pay in. The rich get a lot less. That is already the case. A person who pays the maximum will get the maximum benefit, but it is much less in relation to what he paid in.

I don’t really object to raising tax rates, but I object to the growth of government that it enables. I also worry when half the population doesn’t pay net income taxes.

Posted by: C&J at July 6, 2010 10:07 PM
Comment #303156

C&J said: “The poor pay no net taxes and the working class pay very low rates. The top earners pay almost all the Federal taxes.”

That is the kind of ideological thinking and misinformation that keeps making America an ever greater failed nation.

The working poor DO PAY TAXES. My daughter made less $2000 dollars last year and she paid federal taxes on her income.

The working class pay HIGHER RATES of tax than the very wealthy, BY ANY MEASURE. Warren Buffet proved that by inquiring and observing the fact that his secretaries were paying higher rates of taxation than he was. Bill Gates has acknowledged the same fact.

The wealthiest in America DO pay a majority of the total revenue dollars received by our federal government, and likely State government as well. And EVERYONE should be damned glad that this is the case, because without their taxes we would already be a bankrupt nation overrun by debt.

FACT: The top 50% income earners in America earn 87.17% of all the nations TOTAL INCOME! The top 1% earn more than 21% of the total nation’s personal income. OBVIOUSLY, we would be a bankrupt nation if the wealthiest DID NOT pay the majority of income taxes in raw dollar amounts.

The top 50% of income earners pay 97% of nation’s income taxes. But, here’s the thing, about statistics, C&J, WHICH MUST BE OBSERVED! That top 50% of income earners INCLUDE everyone earning $30,881 dollars per year. The bottom 50% earn LESS THAN $30,881 dollars per year. (IRS)

So, this argument about the wealthy paying most of the taxes lies by the inclusion in the definition of wealthy, anyone making more than $30,881 per year.

THE FACT remains, that the wealthiest pay a LOWER rate of tax on personal income than the working middle class.

MORE FACT:

Looking at just the top 400 income Americans in 2009 dollars:

1993: Avg. Income: $68.7 million. Effective tax rate: 29.3%

2001: Avg. Inc: $158.8 million. Effective tax rate: 22.85%

2007: Avg. Inc. $356.7 million. Effective tax rate: 16.62%

The wealthiest have seen their income increase more than 500% in just 17 years. But, their income tax rate has dropped by half.

If the wealthiest 400 were paying today the same tax rate they paid in 1993 before Republicans made a comeback in government, our current deficit would be reduced by 41.7 billion dollars in this year alone. And the deficits of the Bush years would all have been significantly reduced or non-existent depending on the year.

Our economy and fiscal status were far, FAR better off in 1993 than they are today. The last fact, I will present on this issue.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 6, 2010 11:57 PM
Comment #303157


Then came 1994 and the Republican Contract ON America.

Posted by: jlw at July 7, 2010 12:38 AM
Comment #303167

“The American economy has served for over 200 years as the greatest anti-poverty program in human history because it encouraged work and discouraged idleness more than any other…..”

A very boastful statement Royal, But hard to prove and full of holes. The very kind of statement used by many on the right to obfuscate the issue at hand. In 1810, the start of the 200 year period there was slavery which could be argued kept many people in poverty. The same could be said for indentured servitude. So despite hard work many remained in poverty then and into future generations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indentured_servant

In 1910’s, 100 years into the greatest anti-poverty program in human history monopolies were just starting to be broken as was the spirit of the Ludlow CO. coal miners striking for decent wages and being massacred for their efforts. Income taxes were just being ratified at this time so redistribution if you are using it as a code word for taxes seems to have little to do with it. It was the era of progressive reform that was instrumental in breaking up the monopolies that kept people poor and the “excessive regulations” you speak of were the result of the monopoly power of these companies.

The OASID act of the new deal was created because of the number of older Americans living in poverty during the 20’s and 30’s. Surely you are not saying our great grandparents were not hard working people are you? It seems charities were unable to help the number of people that needed help then and now. So as admirable as charity is it is only one part of the equation.

If it was only hard work that was required to eliminate poverty, which many on the right will tell you is correct, then why after 200 years do we have so many hard working people living in poverty?

Now I would agree that the American free enterprise system is a good system when regulated correctly, and that many as a result of this system have been spared from poverty Royal, but your welfare rant when it comes to individuals is wrong,IMHO.

Posted by: j2t2 at July 7, 2010 12:00 PM
Comment #303168

Mr. Remer left this out of his reporting.

The bottom 50% earn LESS THAN $30,881 dollars per year and this groups share of total income tax paid was 3.07%.

Mr. Remer wrote; “My daughter made less $2000 dollars last year and she paid federal taxes on her income. Hmmm, if I recall your daughter is a student. If she fits into this category here is the IRS requirement.

Table 2.2009 Filing Requirements for Dependents


See Exemptions for Dependents to find out if you are a dependent.

If your parent (or someone else) can claim you as a dependent, use this table to see if you must file a return.
In this table, unearned income includes taxable interest, ordinary dividends, and capital gain distributions. It also includes unemployment compensation, taxable social security benefits, pensions, annuities, and distributions of unearned income from a trust. Earned income includes salaries, wages, tips, professional fees, and taxable scholarship and fellowship grants. Gross income is the total of your unearned and earned income.
Caution.If your gross income was $3,650 or more, you usually cannot be claimed as a dependent unless you are a qualifying child. For details, see Exemptions for Dependents.
Single dependents— Were you either age 65 or older or blind?
□ No. You must file a return if any of the following apply.
Your unearned income was more than $950.

Your earned income was more than $5,700.

Your gross income was more than the larger of —

$950, or

Your earned income (up to $5,400) plus $300


j2t2 wrote; “If it was only hard work that was required to eliminate poverty, which many on the right will tell you is correct, then why after 200 years do we have so many hard working people living in poverty?

“living in poverty” is a government construct. What is described as poverty in this country would be considered upper middle class in many parts of the world. You really need to get out more.

You apparently disagree with my statement that The American economy has served for over 200 years as the greatest anti-poverty program in human history by pointing out our failures in certain circumstances and times. Could you please provide the name of the nation that should have been given credit for this accomplishment?

The liberal/socialists are busy thrashing our free market capitalistic system pointing out where and when it hasn’t worked well. I would ask them, when you have finished destroying the world’s best system for generally creating wealth for all, with what will you replace it?

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 7, 2010 12:58 PM
Comment #303171

RF, I guess you you are not much of tax consultant, either. She had to pay income tax on her income, despite her parents declaring her a dependent. Her income was greater than $950. She paid $47.00 taxes. But, earned a bit less than $2000.

Apparently your mis-read of the tax filing requirements led you to believe she didn’t have to pay taxes? Kind of hard to tell from what you wrote, but, your claim the poor don’t pay taxes stands refuted by the very quote of regulation you provided.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 7, 2010 2:36 PM
Comment #303172

“…by pointing out our failures in certain circumstances and times.
I disagree that the American economy is the shining light you hold it up to be Royal I believe it is our system of government that is the shining light.Representative democracy. Our economic system has been the source of as many failures as it has successes over the 200 years you speak of. In the green column I believe, jlw recently pointed out many other times the economic system has failed so “certain circumstances and times” seems to be as much an understatement as the boasting pointed out previously was an overstatement.

“…thrashing our free market capitalistic system pointing out where and when it hasn’t worked well.”

Royal speaking for myself our system is in terrible shape when multinational corporations receive billions of redistributed dollars from the taxpayers while claiming to be participants in a free market capitalistic system. IMHO thrashing needs to be done to correct this system once again from the excesses of corporate manipulation of our elected representatives.

“I would ask them, when you have finished destroying the world’s best system for generally creating wealth for all, with what will you replace it?”

Wealth for all? seems to me Royal the economic system has been redistributing wealth to the top for the past 30 years, while shredding the middle class. I would think in all your travels you would have noticed how this country has been turning into another Mexico under the capitalist economic system you give so much credit to. Perhaps it is time to fix the economic system not replace it. Facts not myths is a starting point.

Posted by: j2t2 at July 7, 2010 2:51 PM
Comment #303174

Remer, no, I am not a tax expert and don’t enjoy being thrashed for trying to help. Not everyone writes on this blog to be disagreeable.

Remer and others continue to argue for a third party as somehow bringing folks together to solve our common problems. It’s ridiculous to even argue for such a thing when one is castigated for attempting to help on such a minor issue as the taxes ones daughter paid.

I didn’t claim the poor don’t pay taxes and added from your link the amount (percentage) they do pay.

.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 7, 2010 2:55 PM
Comment #303176

In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 to assist some French refugees, James Madison, the acknowledged father of our Constitution, stood on the floor of the House to object, saying, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” He later added, “(T)he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.” Two hundred years later, at least two-thirds of a multi-trillion-dollar federal budget is spent on charity or “objects of benevolence.”

What would the founders think about our respect for democracy and majority rule? Here’s what Thomas Jefferson said: “The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.” John Adams advised, “Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” The founders envisioned a republican form of government, but as Benjamin Franklin warned, “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 7, 2010 2:58 PM
Comment #303177

DRR, Why didn’t you let her file her own return so she could get what little she paid in back? Was the little bit of a deduction you had subtracted from her gross earnings that important to you? My step daughter did the same, I let her file her own returns. What little bit of a deduction I was to get wasn’t that important.

Posted by: MAG at July 7, 2010 2:59 PM
Comment #303178

This seems to be applicable here:

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.

Herman Melville (1819-1891)

Posted by: jane doe at July 7, 2010 3:44 PM
Comment #303179

jane…can’t find Melville’s name as a signer of the Constitution.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 7, 2010 3:47 PM
Comment #303180


Royal Flush, can you elaborate on the thoughts of our Founding Fathers concerning tyranny by the minority.

Posted by: jlw at July 7, 2010 4:03 PM
Comment #303181


Royal Flush, are their any signatures of slaves, indentured servants or even a couple of common workers on the constitution?

Posted by: jlw at July 7, 2010 4:23 PM
Comment #303184

Flush,
I never said it was on there, but then, neither is yours.
What’s your point??

Posted by: jane doe at July 7, 2010 5:09 PM
Comment #303186
I would think in all your travels you would have noticed how this country has been turning into another Mexico under the capitalist economic system you give so much credit to.
Posted by: j2t2 at July 7, 2010 02:51 PM

My opinion is that this country has been turning into another Mexico under the Progressive Era politics of class warfare and wealth re-distribution.

Perhaps it is time to fix the economic system not replace it. Facts not myths is a starting point.
Posted by: j2t2 at July 7, 2010 02:51 PM

Yes, replace the myth that our country started being prosperous in 1913 and fix the results of a brainwashed public that thinks it cannot survive without a federal government controlling every facet of our economic behaviour.

Before the federal government began confiscating our wage the people rarely dealt with the government. Now the federal government looks for any reason to inject itself into every aspect of everyday life in it’s quest for more money and more power.

Posted by: Weary Willie at July 7, 2010 6:47 PM
Comment #303187

Royal Flush,

The Founding Fathers, including Madison, were also against standing armies and militaristic foreign policies. In modern times, it was a conservative president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, that warned against the dangers of the military-industrial complex.

But, here we are, more than 200 hundred years removed from the Founding Fathers and 50 years from Eisenhower, spending almost as much as the rest of the world combined on the military. Excluding Iraq and Afghanistan, we have over 700 military bases in foreign countries. According to many experts, military related spending is more than half of our discretionary budget. We have been engaged in almost constant warfare since the end of WWII: Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan and even little Grenada and Panama.

Most conservatives tend to turn a blind eye to military expenditures. So, do you have the same disdain for military expenditures as an obinimation of Founding Father principals as you do for “charitable” expenditures of the Federal government?


Posted by: Rich at July 7, 2010 8:24 PM
Comment #303190

“My opinion is that this country has been turning into another Mexico under the Progressive Era politics of class warfare and wealth re-distribution.”

Well you certainly entitled to your opinion Weary unfortunately the facts don’t back your opinion up do they? Class warfare by the poor against the rich, how funny Weary, seems you’ve read a little to much Ayn Rand without any reality to go along with it.

“Yes, replace the myth that our country started being prosperous in 1913 and fix the results of a brainwashed public that thinks it cannot survive without a federal government controlling every facet of our economic behaviour.”

Jeez Weary can’t you mix a little fact in with all of this. Your “myth” sounds like you have been Becked and didn’t bother to check any facts.


Royal and here are some more quotes regarding majority rule from Thomas Jefferson, can you provide the date of your quote and the person he was addressing it to as it seems to be a different person than the man that made these quotes.

“The first principle of republicanism is that the lex majoris partis is the fundamental law of every society of individuals of equal rights; to consider the will of the society enounced by the majority of a single vote as sacred as if unanimous is the first of all lessons in importance, yet the last which is thoroughly learnt. This law once disregarded, no other remains but that of force, which ends necessarily in military despotism.” —Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, 1817. ME 15:127

“The will of the people… is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.” —Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Waring, 1801. ME 10:236

“The measures of the fair majority… ought always to be respected.” —Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1792. ME 8:397

“I subscribe to the principle, that the will of the majority honestly expressed should give law.” —Thomas Jefferson: The Anas, 1793. ME 1:332

“All… being equally free, no one has a right to say what shall be law for the others. Our way is to put these questions to the vote, and to consider that as law for which the majority votes.” —Thomas Jefferson: Address to the Cherokee Nation, 1809. ME 16:456

“[We acknowledge] the principle that the majority must give the law.” —Thomas Jefferson to William Carmichael, 1788. ME 7:28

“This… [is] a country where the will of the majority is the law, and ought to be the law.” —Thomas Jefferson: Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786. ME 17:85

“Civil government being the sole object of forming societies, its administration must be conducted by common consent.” —Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.VIII, 1782. ME 2:120

“The fundamental principle of [a common government of associated States] is that the will of the majority is to prevail.” —Thomas Jefferson to William Eustis, 1809.

“The voice of the majority decides. For the lex majoris partis is the law of all councils, elections, etc., where not otherwise expressly provided.” —Thomas Jefferson: Parliamentary Manual, 1800. ME 2:420

“It is the multitude which possess force, and wisdom must yield to that.” —Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1816. ME 14:492

“Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression.” —Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801. ME 3:318

“Great innovations should not be forced on a slender majority.”
—Thomas Jefferson to John Armstrong, 1808. ME 12:42

“[Sometimes] the minorities are too respectable, not to be entitled to some sacrifice of opinion, in the majority.”
—Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1788. ME 7:184


“If the measures which have been pursued are approved by the majority, it is the duty of the minority to acquiesce and conform.” —Thomas Jefferson to William Duane, 1811. ME 13:51

“Every man’s reason [is] his own rightful umpire. This principle, with that of acquiescence in the will of the majority, will preserve us free and prosperous as long as they are sacredly observed.” —Thomas Jefferson to John F. Watson, 1814. ME 14:136

“It is a rule in all countries that what is done by the body of a nation must be submitted to by all its members.” —Thomas Jefferson: Address to Miami and Delaware Nations, 1803. ME 16:398

“[With a majority] having declared against [our proposal], we must suppose we are wrong, according to the fundamental law of every society, the lex majoris partis, to which we are bound to submit.” —Thomas Jefferson to David Humphreys, 1789. ME 7:324

Posted by: j2t2 at July 7, 2010 8:46 PM
Comment #303193

Royal Flush, my apology. You are right. You didn’t say the poor don’t pay taxes. C&J did, and I lost track of that. My apology.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 7, 2010 9:43 PM
Comment #303194

Royal Flush wrote: “The bottom 50% earn LESS THAN $30,881 dollars per year and this groups share of total income tax paid was 3.07%.”

Quite right. You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip, RF. The very top earners of that lower 50% make 30,881 a year, and the vast majority of all those in the lower half of the income group are trying to live in America on $25,000 per year or less.

Do you have any idea of what the cost of living is in America today to be middle class? $25,000 per year might, get a single person with a dedication to frugality into an apartment and car ownership or mass transit fares to and from work, spartan home cooked meals, and utilities. And that person will pay 15 to 18% in federal income taxes, and a host of other taxes just for the privilege of shopping for gas, and all other consumables, save perhaps for food, if she lives in Texas.

And forget about trying to raise a family on $25,000 per year or keeping an indigent elderly parent who has no place else to live. Such persons should be paying very much taxes. Employed persons of this kind of low income do not utilize federal government services outside those all Americans benefit from, military defense, and general public services. Whereas someone making $250,000 per year or more, is prone to use and benefit from vastly more federal government services.

Which is why a progressive tax rate makes such eminent sense. T. Boone Pickens utilizes vastly more government services than nearly any other American in lower income brackets. SEC, FEC, lobbying Congress, Department of Interior, BLM land management resources, Minerals and Mine Services, Federal Reserve Services, All manner of contract and agreement registrations with a host of government agencies, IRS, FBI, EEOC, Courts, and the list goes on far longer from here.

Ergo, T. Boone should pay higher tax rates than the single person making $25,000 per year and utilizing vastly less of the federal government’s resources, than T. Boone. That is what I call fair taxation. Those in the top 20% income brackets or who are employers benefit and utilize the most government services and should indeed pay a higher tax rate. They are consuming a greater share of the government’s resources and benefits.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 7, 2010 10:03 PM
Comment #303202

Your facts don’t back up my opinion do they? Of course they don’t. Your facts are not my facts, are they?

Posted by: Weary Willie at July 8, 2010 12:51 AM
Comment #303206

Weary facts are facts, neither yours nor mine but instead ours. So show me the proof it was the progressives in 1913 that turned the country into Mexico, with facts not a Glenn Beck type rant based upon misinformation, half truths and outright lies.

Posted by: j2t2 at July 8, 2010 9:54 AM
Comment #303211

16th amendment
17th amendment
Federal Reserve Act
New Deal
Great Society
military industrial complex and constant state of war
All facts.
All progressive ideas.
All since 1913.


j2t2, you should get Glenn Beck’s number to his red phone and give him a call. Tell him where he is wrong, misinformed, or lying. He’s eager to hear it ring.

Posted by: Weary Willie at July 8, 2010 10:46 AM
Comment #303214

Wow Weary a list but no proof, funny how that works, especially blaming those anti war military budget cutting progressives for the MIC and constant war?

Weary let me ask you another question if it was the progressives that caused us to become “mexico” then why isn’t Mexico, which did not have the 16th and 17th amendments, the Fed, the new deal, the great society and the MIC, but instead had unfettered capitalism and conservative ideology run amok not doing better?

Pray tell Weary why would you think that Senators being voted into office instead of being appointed is a bad thing? And why not the 18th amendment I would have agreed that was not right.

As far as Beck and his red phone I will have to pass, not because he is right but because he controls the volume which means it is a no win for anyone on the other end of the line. Why become fodder for his misinformation, half truths and outright lies?

Posted by: j2t2 at July 8, 2010 12:22 PM
Comment #303216

Rich asks me, “Most conservatives tend to turn a blind eye to military expenditures. So, do you have the same disdain for military expenditures as an obinimation of Founding Father principals as you do for “charitable” expenditures of the Federal government.”

As FDR famously said, and I agree… “I abhore war.” I belive our current military expenditures are bloated and wasteful. I saw the waste back in the early 60’s when I was serving in the Army as Post Cashier in a finance and accounting center. Budgets were to be spent in their entirety to be certain that they were not reduced. That waste has only increased. Eisenhower was correct. The cozy relationship between the political class, civilian military procurement and the military itself should be curtailed.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 8, 2010 1:08 PM
Comment #303218

j2t2, thank you for all the quotes. Let’s examine just one of those…”“Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression.” —Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801. ME 3:318

Jefferson here is speaking of “equal rights” and those are identified in the constitution. It is a stretch, only made by liberal/socialists, to believe that equal rights is meant to mean equal outcomes. Please explain to me how one gets from “equal rights” to income redistribution enforced by congressional welfare programs.

Mr. Remer wrote; “That is what I call fair taxation. Those in the top 20% income brackets or who are employers benefit and utilize the most government services and should indeed pay a higher tax rate. They are consuming a greater share of the government’s resources and benefits.”

We already have a progressive tax system. What allows some of the wealthy to pay less in taxes are found in the tax code as deductions and allowances. All of these deductions and allowances were and are political decisions with the intent to reward some and punish others. And, we find the same to be true in our personal tax returns. Are homeowners not rewarded by being allowed a deduction for home interest, property taxes and such. There are deductions and allowances for having a child enrolled in a school of higher learning. There are deductions for the cost of medical insurance, doctor and medical costs. Of course, that is only available if one itemizes and those deductions exceed 7.5% of AGI. One could say we are rewarding the homeowner over the renter, the parent over the single person, the insured over the uninsured, and the sick over the healthy.

Mr. Remer talks about the wealthy using more government services as justification for higher taxes. True, they do in most cases use more gov services. But, consider that Medicare, Medicaid and SS consume more than half of our expenditures and your argument looses much of its reasoning.

Can our economy and business structure survive without political favors to both the business and individual? That is the real question. And, if we are honest, those “perks”, doled out to special interest, both private and public, are what keep the political class in power.

My quote above by Jefferson, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”

I read this as pertaining to not only benevolence to the individual but also to corporations.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 8, 2010 1:43 PM
Comment #303222

WW, universal suffrage was argued and favored by proponents at the first Constitutional Convention. Popular election of representatives has been argued and favored by many of our founders before the Constitution was drafted.

Wild and unpredictable economic and financial swings MANDATED the creation of the federal reserve. And it has served our nation extremely well ever since, in moderating those swings and gyrations affording vastly greatly predictability for investors and producers.

New Deal and Great Society were outgrowths and rejection of the Robber Baron era of the post reconstruction era, with its child labor sweat shops, perpetual slavery via the Company Stores in the RR, mining, and even auto industry of the early 20th century.

What you seem to forget is that there were both reason and support for such changes and evolutions in our nation’s history. Valid at the time, regardless of the costs today, so many decades later. If there is a failure, it is not continuing to adapt and evolve to manage the negative costs of these changes in the interim.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 8, 2010 2:43 PM
Comment #303225

RF said: “What allows some of the wealthy to pay less in taxes are found in the tax code as deductions and allowances. All of these deductions and allowances were and are political decisions with the intent to reward some and punish others.”

Absolutely true, RF. And this kind of preferential treatment for wealth special interests is now incurring a backlash from the voting public, in ever growing anti-incumbent activity and participation.

Homeowners cross all income income classes and do not constitute a lobbying wealthy special interest. They do constitute the stability and productivity and vesting of the great middle class in their society and the actions of their government, and that is all good from a purely political perspective. Our founders insisted that the vote be given only to those likely to have education and vested interest in the goings on of government. And they were wise to believe that.

Home ownership carries enormous benefits to our society at large. The tax deduction for home ownership fosters those benefits of stability in work, family, and values preservation in the family. Homeowner families are stronger in general in their ties than non-homeowner families.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 8, 2010 2:51 PM
Comment #303226

How the Expiring Bush Tax Cuts Affect You
The so-called Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire at the end of the year. Although some of the cuts retain bipartisan support in Congress and may yet be extended, as of now, Washington has some severe changes in store for you and your family. Grab a scotch and sit down.


Higher tax rates for all

You may have been led to believe that only individuals in the top two brackets will face higher federal income taxes when the Bush cuts go bye-bye. Not true! Unless Congress takes action and President Obama goes along, rates will go up for everyone — not just a sliver of the wealthiest Americans. The current six rate brackets of 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33% and 35% will be replaced by five new brackets with the higher rates of 15%, 28%, 31%, 36% and 39.6%. Just a few months ago, it seemed like a safe bet that Congress would make a fix to keep the existing 10%, 15%, 25% and 28% rate brackets to help out lower and middle-income folks. That bet is now looking iffy.

http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-finance/taxes/how-the-expiring-bush-tax-cuts-affect-you/

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 8, 2010 2:58 PM
Comment #303228

Royal Flush-
The reason that bet on the Bush Tax Cuts being continued is iffy is what this chart shows.

Put simply, the continuation of the Bush Tax cuts would effectively double our debt load over the next ten years to a level approaching 200% of GDP.

If you support fiscal prudence, then you can’t support continuance of the Bush Tax Cuts. Hell, if you supported it to begin with, you shouldn’t have supported them in the first place. The system wasn’t broken, but the Republicans had to fix it.

As far as Corporate taxes go, I will be willing to allow Corporations to operate without being taxed when they renounce legal personhood. If they are a person in the eyes of the law, they should have to pay taxes like the rest of us legal persons do.

As far as defense spending goes, I believe that a military that cannot protect the country within its means is not a strategic asset. It does not protect us to have a military that bankrupts us.

In order to do that, though, we need people like you to break the old political habit of equating unstenting support of expansion in the military budget with unconditional support of our defense.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 8, 2010 3:46 PM
Comment #303229

SD, I don’t know to whom you were responding about defense spending…certainly not me. Why not read what I wrote?

The current six rate brackets of 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33% and 35% will be replaced by five new brackets with the higher rates of 15%, 28%, 31%, 36% and 39.6%. I would ask SD if he favors raising taxes on the poor?

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 8, 2010 4:22 PM
Comment #303231

Please explain to me how one gets from “equal rights” to income redistribution enforced by congressional welfare programs.

“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

16th amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The whole “income redistribution” thing is just Reaganspeak reminiscence of Orwellian “ignorance is strength”.

Posted by: j2t2 at July 8, 2010 4:24 PM
Comment #303233

j2t2, your response is very disappointing. I expected a reasoned argument and you provide pap.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 8, 2010 4:43 PM
Comment #303245

“Eisenhower was correct. The cozy relationship between the political class, civilian military procurement and the military itself should be curtailed.”

Well stated. But, Eisenhower was concerned not simply about budget issues, per se, but more importantly that international and policy decisions would be unduly influenced by an increasingly powerful military-industrial complex. Today, we are engaged in two wars and have accepted the responsiblilty for policing the world. It is an enormous drain on our economy. It is counter to our historic international policies. All the while, China invests in infrastructure and spends its treasury on creating jobs and challenging as the world’s foremost economy. Perhaps, it is time to re-examine the warnings of Eisenhower.


Posted by: Rich at July 8, 2010 7:14 PM
Comment #303249

Absoutely correct Rich. We have no diplomacy capable of defusing potential conflicts any more. We are at the mercy of the UN which, as everyone knows, is mostly anti-American and anti-democracy. The errors and blunders of president’s of the years since the Korean Conflict have led us to a miserable state of affairs.

We have, and continue to, wage wars with no intention of winning a real victory. They are political wars, not wars of conscience and morality. My liberal friends may disagree, but yes…some wars are moral.

Consider the rules of engagement currently hindering our military in the fields of battle. War is not polite, considerate, gentle, discriminating or without peril to civilian populations. And yet, that is what we choose to do and call it humane. War is brutal and should never be comtemplated unless one is willing to do whatever is necessary to win. The definition of “win” is to eliminate, totally and completely, whatever it was that caused one to declare war. Any other approach to war is useless and should not be considered.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 8, 2010 8:00 PM
Comment #303263

Royal Flush-
You know, when you guys complain about the lucky duckies, you’re essentially saying we should tax the poor more to be fair to the rich. The Republican’s proposal for their shadow budget, when figured out with accurate numbers, actually ends up forcing the middle class to pay more.

Also, could tell me what the brackets those percentages represent? This is a progressive tax, which means the money in each bracket is taxed at a particular percentage. But just as important as the height of the percentage, is the placement. Bush actually eliminated an entire upper bracket.

So, who is paying?

On the subject of war? First, we have plenty of diplomacy capable of defusing conflicts. Obama’s counterproliferation efforts in particular have gotten Iran’s allies to isolate it. Maybe successful diplomatic headlines don’t make for the infotainment that glues the eyeballs to the channel, but the easing of our standing in the world is a true indication of its power.

As for the UN goes? I’m sick and tired of the readers of “The Late, Great Planet Earth” and the “New World Order” folks dictating our stance there. The truth of the matter is, we hold a lot of power and influence there, in no small part due to the structuring of the Security Counsel. Once upon a time, Republicans could actually wrangle its authority to do this country some good. Now it’s just a target for the conspiracy theorists that have taken over your party. Forgive me if I want some rationality and open-mindedness back in our foreign policy, instead of a continuation of the Neocon’s disastrous arrogance.

As for winning wars?
You’re too deep in the body-count theory of war. No, wars have objects, and if wholesale slaughter doen’t fit the objective, then unleashing people like you say isn’t very useful. The question is what you’re trying to achieve. We succeeded, ultimately, in WWII because the defeat of the Axis powers was the necessary condition to win. That meant a full-force invasion.

But in the case of Bosnia and Kosovo, the object was to chastise the Serbians enough to get them to stop, and then keep the sides in their separate corners. That required a different approach.

In the case of Iraq, a full-force, no-holds barred all out war was out of the question because we wanted to leave a functioning, friendly Democracy behind. Our problem wasn’t that we didn’t blow up enough people. In fact, one of the contributing parts of our success with the Surge was that we enlisted the help of those folks we had just been fighting, and they gave it. Without that, we would have been fighting a bloody war with them.

In my opinion, people forget Von Clausewitz’s critical statement about war: it’s policy continued by other means. You criticize rules of engagement, but neglect to understand that Soldiers need orders and discipline in order to maintain a cohesive effort, and not have units out there stepping on the overall plan by mistake, or worse by intent. If soldier pick the wrong fight in a war, they could alienate an ally, jeopardize a favorable settlement, renew hostilities that it was wisest to quell, and so on, and so forth. We go through the trouble of creating all these fancy ranks and policies so that we can get straight who’s doing what and prevent foul-ups.

If it was simple as unleashing our dogs of war, we wouldn’t need the structure.

The real question is whether we know what the conditions for victory are, and what it will take to achieve those ends. Let’s say you want to take a capital, but there’s this big army stationed nearby. If you can cut off that Army’s communications for long enough to take it, then you have, according to Von Clausewitz, destroyed those forces for that battle. The enemy can’t use them. Cut off a supply chain for a marching army, and though many of them will survive, that army will begin to fall appart.

Capture them all, take them off the battle field? The forces are destroyed. Killing is not the only way to win a battle, just the one that comes easiest to mind for screenwriters and filmmakers wanting to put together a sequence.

Why would we want to do this? Why not be sure?

Because fights always cost. Wars were expensive in Ancient China, as Sun Tzu advised “Nobody ever brilliantly protracted a war.” The are financial and moral costs to total war, especially if the Society your from holds itself up as a beacon of humane behavior. An attitude that says “We only take wars to the points that are necessary” is much more compatible with a civilization that says “We are humane and we support civil liberties and freedom for all” than “We will win wars at any cost.”

Even in the animal kingdom, the animals that fight a lot don’t necessarily succeed in the scheme of things. Any creature that gets into a fight puts itself at risk, expends energy, chances injury, even death if it gets bad enough. It’s no wonder that token blows and threat displays dominate over red in tooth and claw. Any creatures that enjoyed fighting too much would tend to select themselves out of the evolutionary competition.

There’s an economy to fighting an enemy properly, and it first starts from understanding what you want, what you are prepared to do to get it, what your means are, and what your enemy’s situation, their intentions, their breaking points, and points where they might be willing to settle, or even shift alliances are.

If there isn’t a good military way to do it, then maybe you just need to find other means to carry out that policy.

There’s more to war than the seeking of adolescent glory. As soon as we realize that, we’ll lose fewer wars.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 8, 2010 11:30 PM
Comment #303283


I rest my case. SD has has outlined the liberal definition of war and why we can’t seem to win any.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 9, 2010 1:18 PM
Comment #303285

So, RF, how do you explain then, what failed to happen during the Bush realm?
At least now we seem to have a little more cooperation, tolerance and support…….pesky as those things may be.

Posted by: jane doe at July 9, 2010 1:40 PM
Comment #303287

jane, I believe the debacle in Iraq could have been predicted using SD’s guidelines for war. And we face the same illogical approach to the war, as presently executed, in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 9, 2010 2:31 PM
Comment #303290

Ah, but GB was in control, ( at least at the other ends of the strings being manipulated by Cheney ) and it was launched based on lies and greed, and ignoring things and people we’re having to deal with now. But thanks for sidestepping those pesky details.

Posted by: jane doe at July 9, 2010 2:53 PM
Comment #303302

jane…please read more carefully. I am talking about all the insane wars since Korea.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 9, 2010 6:30 PM
Comment #303307
Wow Weary a list but no proof, funny how that works, especially blaming those anti war military budget cutting progressives for the MIC and constant war?
Posted by: j2t2 at July 8, 2010 12:22 PM

From 1933 to 1981 and from 1987 to 1995 the senate was controlled by the Democratic Party. From 1933 to 1995 the House was controlled by the Democratic party.

The Democratic Party wasn’t sitting on the sidelines sucking it’s thumb while this country was “spending it’s children’s money” or maintaining a dominant military presence around the world. It’s hypocritical to imply only one side is responsible. It would take a willful ignorance to not recognize the fact that the Democratic Party has controlled this government for the majority of this country’s existence. Whatever our present situation the Democratic Party must share the blame.

Pray tell Weary why would you think that Senators being voted into office instead of being appointed is a bad thing?

Because democracies don’t survive. Checks and Balances do. State governments were a check on the federal government. The 17th amendment changed that and now the states are inert. The appearance of the federal government’s dominance, via. the 16th and 17th amendments, in the political and economical health of our country is obvious, and it is detrimental.


As far as Beck and his red phone I will have to pass, not because he is right but because he controls the volume which means it is a no win for anyone on the other end of the line. Why become fodder for his misinformation, half truths and outright lies?

…and history! Don’t forget history! Don’t you watch the Glenn Beck Show? Ignorance is bliss, but it is no excuse.

Wild and unpredictable economic and financial swings MANDATED the creation of the federal reserve. And it has served our nation extremely well ever since, in moderating those swings and gyrations affording vastly greatly predictability for investors and producers.
Posted by: David R. Remer at July 8, 2010 02:43 PM


This doesn’t look like it’s under control, David R. Remer!
Just saying it’s so doesn’t make it so. “Extremely well” doesn’t merit the scrutiny being placed on the Federal Reserve now. Look up the Dead Presidents Society and ask yourself if perhaps you’re allowing yourself to be misled.
.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_recessions_in_the_United_States

Posted by: Weary Willie at July 9, 2010 7:26 PM
Comment #303377

RF, it was always in the cards that higher taxes would have to be forthcoming with the growth of debt. Which begs the question, why did Republicans double that national debt in 8 years?

There is no surprise here, that eventually, when the economy is back on its feet and unemployment is back to 5 to 5.5% normalcy, that everyone working will have to chip in some extra to save our economic future for our children. Raising taxes of course, will not solve problem without some dramatic reductions in unfunded entitlement mandates.

There is no surprise here. I for one, am not wealthy. But, having a daughter in college requires me to be willing to pony up some extra taxes if they will secure a future of opportunity in America for her.

What I will fight is tax increases without cuts in the growth of entitlement spending which threaten to bankrupt my daughter’s future here, with, or without tax increases. I feel reasonably confident you will join me in that fight, along with 10’s of millions of other Americans with their heads screwed on straight.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 10, 2010 11:36 PM
Comment #303378

WW, willful ignorance is your failure to acknowledge that it took 230 years for this country to amass 5.65 trillion dollars in national debt, and Republicans only 8 years to double it.

That is willful ignorance. Very willful, and very ignorant.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 10, 2010 11:38 PM
Comment #303385

And 1.5 yrs for Democrats to triple it.

Posted by: MAG at July 11, 2010 1:12 PM
Comment #303388

Bush added approx. 5 trillion to the national debt in 8 yrs. BHO has added over 3 trillion and climbing in less then a year and a half. BHO is on a track to out do Bush in less time.

Posted by: MAG at July 11, 2010 1:41 PM
Comment #303389
…and Republicans only 8 years to double it.
Posted by: David R. Remer at July 10, 2010 11:38 PM

David R. Remer, the delusion your post is trying to portray is false. The claim that Republicans had 8 years is false.

11.^ The Republican Party controlled the 107th Congress from January 20, 2001 (50/50 tie with Vice President Cheney as the deciding vote) until May 24, 2001, when Senator Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party to become an Independent and caucus with the Democrats.

12.^ a b c In the 107th Congress (after May 24, 2001), and in the 108th Congress and 109th Congress, Independent Jim Jeffords of Vermont, chose to caucus with the Democratic Party.

13.^ a b In the 110th Congress and 111th Congress, the two independent members of the Senate, Joseph Lieberman, Independent Democrat of Connecticut, and Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, chose to caucus with the Democratic Party, and thus are considered to be a part of the majority.


.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_divisions_of_United_States_Congresses
That is willful ignorance. Very willful, and very ignorant.
It is your post that portrays a willful ignorance, sir. .http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/107th_United_States_Congress#Party_summary

One year of the Democratic 110th Congress: A record of duplicity, cowardice and political reaction

The Democratic-controlled US Congress ended its first year in office Wednesday with a record of capitulation to the policies of the Bush administration all down the line. In the main areas where voters expected a change when they brought the Democrats to power in November 2006—the war in Iraq, the deterioration of working class living standards and social services, the mounting attacks on democratic rights—the Democrats have proven to be Bush’s collaborators, not his opponents.

The last major action of this congressional session was the passage of budget and tax legislation that demonstrates the gaping class divide in American society—and underscores the role of the Democrats, no less than the Republicans, as defenders of the financial aristocracy.

The $555 billion spending bill funds the budgets of 11 of the 12 federal departments through the end of the fiscal year, next September 30. The Senate approved the bill Tuesday by 76-17, with a large majority of the Democrats joining all the Republicans to back legislation that conformed exactly to White House specifications.


Posted by: Weary Willie at July 11, 2010 2:01 PM
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