Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Republican "Plan"

Some pundits say Democrats will lose big in November. I do not agree. I have a simple reason for saying so: Although the airwaves are full of criticism of Obama and the Democrats, Republicans are offering nothing to voters. They promise only to repeal or defund the Democratic accomplishments. The Republican “plan” is to shut down the government - and also to give tax cuts to the super-rich.

The master government shut-down artist Newt Gringrich, who tried it in the 90s, lost his bet for fame and glory against the astute Bill Clinton. Now he is at it again:

Speaking at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference this past April, Gingrich outlined a two-tiered strategy for the GOP if they win elections in 2010 and 2012: 1) Refuse to fund any of Democrats’ “radical efforts” if Republicans win control of Congress in November, and 2) Repeal “every radical bill passed by the [Democratic] machine” if Republicans win Congress and the presidency in 2012.

What's Gingrich for? Nothing, he is merely against whatever Democrats do.

OK, Gingrich is not in office. What about Republicans in power?

Here's what Minority Leader John Boehner said:

You just gotta take appropriated funds to actually come through the process to fund the hiring of new employees, to create these new bureaucracies. I can’t imagine a Republican Congress is going to give this President the money to begin this process.

Senator John McCain:

I am confident we will get majorities in both houses in the fall. And that means the power of the purse…If we cut off the money, it doesn’t take an override to a veto.

In one form or another, this is what almost all Republicans running for Congress are saying. They will undo whatever Democrats have accomplished. They will gut the government so it could not do anything. They will drive the government down so it fits into the proverbial bathtub.

And Republicans consider this a POSITIVE PROGRAM!

Republicans have no plan to help ordinary people. They do not advocate FOR anything; they are only AGAINST Democrats. Why would you want to vote for such nihilists?

Posted by Paul Siegel at September 5, 2010 3:41 PM
Comment #307777

Well, they actually do have a plan…….it just isn’t what will help any but those in the top tax brackets. One of Elmer Fudds’ quotes comes to mind: “Be vewwy, vewwy afwaid”.

Posted by: jane doe at September 5, 2010 6:13 PM
Comment #307779

Paul wirtes; “Republicans are offering nothing to voters. They promise only to repeal or defund the Democratic accomplishments.”

Right Paul, the polls show that undoing those (so-called) accomplishments is very popular. And, the libersocialist running on that record are most in danger of being replaced. When Paul writes that Reps offer “nothing” he is, in fact, implying that the dems are offering something. And, since voters know that the “something” being offered is just more wasteful spending, more taxes, more regulations, more jobs lost, and more pain and misery the Rep victory will be huge. Along with retaking congress, the Reps will regain many governor seats and state legislatures as well.

Obama and this congress really set the dem party back and it will be some time before the libersocialist have another crack at any kind of power.

The first order of business, and one which is getting high approval from the voters in the polls, is to undo what is killing our economy. Once that is accomplished there are many plans on what policies to enact to get the economy moving again with lots of private jobs, not government makework. If you would like to take a look at some of those plans, go to

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 5, 2010 6:43 PM
Comment #307780

Royal Flush,
The Heritage Foundation has been around a while. Other conservative posters have cited Heritage many times in the past, and I have countered with arguments why they are wrong. It is in writing in the WB archives. So my question is this: why would I want to consider the plans put forth by the writers of the Heritage Foundation, when they have been so wrong about domestic economic policy in the past?

This is not a theoretical kind of wrong, or a ‘how many angels can dance on the head of a pin’ wrong. The Heritage Foundation has been demonstrably, factually wrong. Reality has proven them wrong. How much more plainly can I put this?

Furthermore, I have been right. Demonstrably, factually right in reality. Subsequent events have proven that I have been right- and the sources I use, liberal sources- have been demonstrably right about the economy, factually right, right in reality, right in predicting events, and having events turn out as predicted.

If you want a resource to ground your political opinions about the domestic economy, start with these: 1) the bond markets and the yield curve, and 2) non-farm payroll numbers.

The bond markets, especially the Treasury markets, are where the big money plays, much bigger than the stock or corporate bond markets. This is where the smart, financially conservative investors and governments make their predictions, and their predictions are multi-billion predictions backed by the power of their respective Federal Reserve equivalents.

You probably already know about non-farm payroll statistics, so I’ll leave that for some other discussion.

If you believe the Heritage Foundation has fundamentally changed, and amazingly developed an ability to be right about the domestic economy, whereas they have been so consistently, factually wrong in the past, well, let me know. I’m all ears.

Posted by: phx8 at September 5, 2010 7:31 PM
Comment #307781

Sorry phx9, no meat to respond to, just opinion and in fact, wrong opinion. I own bonds, nothing mysterious there, but what is your point?

I noticed you stayed away from countering my projections for November. Nothing to say about that?

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 5, 2010 7:43 PM
Comment #307782

I will step out on a limb, at least a little bit, and counter what most people are predicting for the midterms. The Senate will remain in Democratic hands (no surprise, most pundits predict that), and the House will also remain in Democratic hands, although it will be close.

As the cliche goes, all politics are local, and Obama is not running. The GOP will fund its candidates with huge amounts of corporate donations through the US Chamber of Commerce and Rove’s PAC, all thanks to the disastrous Citizens United ruling, but at the same time the GOP will suffer from three-way races and conservatives running against off-the-chart conservatives; you know, the ones proposing to get rid of social security and feed the poor soylent green.

If time permits, I’ll go into the WB archives and pull out some of my comments on the domestic economy…

Posted by: phx8 at September 5, 2010 8:20 PM
Comment #307784


“The GOP will fund its candidates with huge amounts of corporate donations through the US Chamber of Commerce and Rove’s PAC, all thanks to the disastrous Citizens United ruling, but at the same time the GOP will suffer from three-way races and conservatives running against off-the-chart conservatives; you know, the ones proposing to get rid of social security and feed the poor soylent green.”

So , I guess this is why the DCCC is planing an end run to try to save the House. Problem is, they are throwing a lot of dems under the bus, just to try to maintain control of the house.

You are stepping way out on the limb, when you call them off the chart conservatives. And your statements about SS are the same old scare tactics dems pull out of the box two months before every election. Don’t you ever get tired of the same lies. While your checking the WB archives, why don’t you look at liberal SS threats before every election. They go back many years.

The soylent green statement is silly…

Posted by: Beretta9 at September 5, 2010 8:57 PM
Comment #307787

B9, you have absolutely no room to talk.

Posted by: jane doe at September 5, 2010 9:48 PM
Comment #307790

Actually jane, may I call you jane, I do have room to talk. Since I am a conservative and Tea Partier first and a republican second; I support conservatives. But the RNC does not really send much suport to TP conservatives. The RNC is more likely to support RINO’s. So, to answer your comment, the DNC supports enough races to stay in charge and the RNC supports anyone other than a conservative and the Conservatives are out there fending for themselves…

Posted by: Beretta9 at September 5, 2010 10:01 PM
Comment #307792

B9, I got so dizzy trying to follow that last comment, I don’t have a clue what you thought you were saying……….

Posted by: jane doe at September 5, 2010 10:29 PM
Comment #307794

I’m surprised you would deny conservative beliefs on Social Security. Tea Party candidates, as well as other conservatives, have repeatedly made clear their desire to privatize or completely do away with Social Security. This includes GOP candidates for the Senate from the Tea Party, such as Sharon Engle from Nevada, Rand Paul from KY, and Miller from AK.

I don’t know what Buck from CO believes about Social Security. He hates it, he denounces it, he believes it should not exist, but I don’t think he has said we should get rid of it. I like this quote from him:
“Will you tell those dumbasses at the Tea Party to stop asking questions about birth certificates while I’m on the camera?”—

Ron Johnson, the GOP Tea Party candidate from Wisconsin, compared Social Security to a “giant ponzi scheme” and also wants to privatize it.

Are you running away from your party, Beretta9?

Posted by: phx8 at September 5, 2010 10:33 PM
Comment #307799


SS, abortion, etc. are just talking points. I vote conservative and when conservatives take control of both houses, I will worry then about what stays and what goes. SS is here to say, it has been used as a scare tactic by democrats for decades. It will never go anywhere and to say anything else is just talk. About the best we can do is stop robbing the funds.

jane doe;

Sorry, now you know how I feel when I read Henry’s posts.

Posted by: Beretta9 at September 5, 2010 11:21 PM
Comment #307808

Democrats may well keep control, since they have the big bucks to spend and are willing to engage in the politics of fears re things like SS. But it will be really close and the Democrat ability to push things through, never very strong because they couldn’t agree on what to do among themselves, will be gone.

As for Republicans plans - they do have the Ryan plan. But as Democrats told us in 2006 & 2008, the opposition doesn’t need a detailed alternative. We know that what the Democratic Congress has been doing since 2006 and the Democratic president since 2008, just is working poorly. Democrats promised to create jobs. They failed. Maybe their solutions were wrong. Maybe big spending and more debt are not the best way to create jobs.

Republicans spent too much under Bush. Democrats are spending even more under Obama. Out of control Federal spending is the problem; everything else is mere commentary. The Democrat’s “new” ideas were just old big-spending ones. They (incorrectly) said Republicans were pulling us back to the 1980s, so Democrats pulled us back to the 1970s.

Spending. Someday historians will look at the Bush/Obama spending spree and call it a mistake. They will see that Bush started down the bad spending road and then Obama shifted into high gear and spent a lot more. Stopping that is plan enough.

Posted by: C&J at September 6, 2010 12:20 AM
Comment #307813

Do you really think it is a good idea to elect conservatives, and then worry about what they will want to do? The Tea Party Republicans running for the Senate have been quite clear about their beliefs. Why do you call it ‘scare tactics’ without addressing the actual issue? Do you deny they want to privatize or do away with Social Security?

Again, the GOP Tea Party candidates running for the Senate, such as Paul, Angle, Buck, and Miller, have been quite clear about their beliefs. I don’t understand why bringing up the fact they want to privatize or even do away with Social Security is dealing in the ‘politics of fear.’ That is what they want to do. They have publicly stated so. Do you deny their stand on SS? If you want to debate whether this is true, pick a specific candidate, and let’s examine their public statements.

Posted by: phx8 at September 6, 2010 2:07 AM
Comment #307822


The dems for years have used cutting SS benefits as scare tactics on senior voters and they do it just before the elections. This year is no different. I don’t care what conservative candidates believe about SS or Abortion. I’m not saying they don’t have a belief; I am saying I don’t care what they believe. Abortion is the law and there will be no changes in SS except to raise the tax and to raise the retirement age. These things will happen for sure, because SS is broke. The hype about privatizing will never happen. How do I feel personally? Privatize it, because the government screws up everything they get involved in, but privatizing SS is not a litmus test for me.

If you have never seen democrats use SS to scare seniors, then you have not been involved in politics for the past 50 years. But it won’t work anymore, the seniors of today are not the “great generation”, the seniors of today are the “baby boomers” and they have more access to information than the past generations had.

Obamacare cut $500 billion from Medicare Advantage, so now seniors know the enemy…

Posted by: Beretta9 at September 6, 2010 10:15 AM
Comment #307825

Like its predecessor, Medicare+Choice, the current Medicare Advantage program is a shimmering mirage of cheap copays, cheaper hospital stays and the quaint notion that it’s free of some anonymous Washington bureaucrat pushing you around.

At least that’s what the pushers of this chimera told us. Various insurers touted big discounts on dental, vision and hearing needs. Deals so good we found ourselves saying, “What do we have to lose?”

A lot, it turns out.

Patched together by drug and health insurance lobbyists, the 415-page 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act has indeed improved the lot of Medicare beneficiaries.

Today, thanks to Part D, only 8.5 percent of us lack drug coverage. Of the 8.7-million currently enrolled in private Medicare Advantage MA plans (Part C), most say they are pleased with the benefits formerly covered under traditional Medicare (Parts A and B).

At least until they get sick.

Then, as the Commonwealth Fund and the Kaiser Family Foundation reported in August, they are likely to pay, on average, $300 per month more for drugs through Part D than is paid by folks getting their medicine through the VA or employer-based health plans.

Further, according to the Medicare Rights Center, the sickest of those enrolled in MA pay far more for health care than they would pay for traditional Medicare. That organization has reported:

“People who receive chemotherapy, inpatient hospital care, home health care and skilled nursing care through private health plans incur greater out-of-pocket costs than they would through the public Medicare program, and they cannot insure themselves against these prohibitive costs.”

Profitable for some

And look at the cost. This year, according to the Medicare Rights Center, MA plans will cost taxpayers about $75-billion. Those with Medicare will pay an additional $74-billion in Part B premiums - above the cost of care under traditional Medicare funding - in subsidies received by Humana, WellCare, and other insurance providers.

Still, until Democrats took over Congress last year, no one paid much attention to such wretched excess.

Oh, there were signs. A year ago, Humana’s profits tripled, then doubled again this year. All because of the enrollment of new Medicare drug plan members. Executive salaries, too, reflected this extravagance. In 2005, the CEO of UnitedHealth Group, AARP’s health insurance arm, took home $135.5-million. Aetna’s CEO, $57.5-million. Cigna’s CEO, $42.1-million.

Now, two new reports help bring it all into focus.

Last month, investigators from the Government Accountability Office found that, besides failing to run effective oversight and enforcement on marketing abuses by Medicare Advantage programs, the Bush administration did not meet statutory requirements to audit at least one-third of the insurance companies each year.

In 2003, when those audits did take place, Medicare found significant errors at four of five of the companies that were checked. Auditors said that insurers kept “$59-million that beneficiaries (should) have received in additional benefits, lower copayments or lower premiums.” The Bush administration took no action.

The administration did, however, send dunning letters to more than 135,000 Americans on behalf of the insurance companies, saying these people still owed premiums for 2006.

‘D’ for defective?

Then, earlier this month, Rep. Henry Waxman’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report finding that the Medicare Part D program:

- “Suffers from high overhead costs. Sales costs, administrative expenses, etc., will reach $3.6-billion this year. Add $1-billion in profits and you have costs about six times higher than traditional Medicare.”

- “Fails to negotiate significant drug manufacturer rebates. The 8.1 percent rebates negotiated in 2007 by Part D insurers compares poorly with the 26 percent received in rebates by Medicaid.”

- Disregards requirements that insurers give Medicare beneficiaries “access to their negotiated prices,” including discounts, rebates and other price concessions.

In other words, instead of delivering lower drug prices or filling coverage gaps like the so-called “doughnut hole,” this year alone $1-billion will flow in the opposite direction, to the drug companies’ bottom lines.

Frank Kaiser is a nationally syndicated columnist who lives in Clearwater. His Web site,, includes nostalgia and links to senior-focused sites. Contact him at or by writing to 2431 Canadian Way, Suite 21, Clearwater, FL 33763.

Posted by: Jeff at September 6, 2010 10:53 AM
Comment #307826

Maybe this is why we should end this program.

Posted by: Jeff at September 6, 2010 10:55 AM
Comment #307830


Everybody has been clear that current recipients and even those over around 55 will not be affected by the changes. So when Democrats go around to old folks homes to scare the old guys, they are not telling the truth and they know it. It is a despicable scare tactic.

Re SS in general, it is not sustainable as it is. Younger people will NOT get back anything like they paid in and the system will indeed collapse unless something is done. If Democrats tell people changes are not needed, they are not telling the truth and it is a despicable scare tactic.

I don’t want my kids paying big bucks so that I can live off the fat of their land. It is unjust. The system needs to be made fair to the young, not merely a place were the old can suck off the tits (as Alan Simpson said, using the correct word, BTW) of the government.

Posted by: C&J at September 6, 2010 12:41 PM
Comment #307844

One of the many problems with huge government entitlement programs such as Social Security is that they are build on a false premise, that being, they will pay for themselves.

Well, the fact is, they don’t and are deep in red ink. Why don’t they pay for themselves as originally designed and invisioned? The answer is simple, as these programs age more people are added to the benefit roster sucking up more of the money orginally designated to make them self sufficient.

Take a look at what was originally intended with Social Security and what it has become today. Is there any semblance at all to the original intention? Over the decades many new benefits have been added that were never originally intended.

The same is true with Medicare and Medicaid. As originally intended, these programs could still be economically viable today rather than drowning in red ink.

I blame the libersocialists. Not content to develop and pass social programs with a limited scope, they constantly enlarge them as a tool to win elections. If a little social welfare is good for some, a lot would be better for all. And so, these programs grow and expand and of course cost more. Since promises of a free ride by the libersocialists always accompanies enlarging such programs, they eventually become hugely bloated, wasteful and little resemble what was originally intended.

The libersocialists can not understand the resistance by conservatives to new entitlement programs such as the health care bill. Well, it’s really very simple. We know, as should they, from experience where they lead…to bankruptcy.

I am all for social justice, just not the kind envisioned by some. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, educate the masses…all worthy efforts by a society. Is that what we have today? No, we have a libersocialist mental disorder that confuses these noble and charitable desires with an attempt at social equality. Rather than feed, clothe, shelter and educate the poor and needy, we must now provide middle-class living conditions for them.

Rather than equal opportunity for all their mantra is equal results for all.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 6, 2010 2:32 PM
Comment #307854

No what we have is a repubofascist mental disorder where working class people get nothing.

Posted by: Jeff at September 6, 2010 3:52 PM
Comment #307857

How much is Iraq costing the tax payers..$745,322,741,532

Posted by: Jeff at September 6, 2010 4:49 PM
Comment #307858

How much is Afghanistan costing tax payers…$330,331,693,949

Posted by: Jeff at September 6, 2010 4:50 PM
Comment #307859

How much is the tax cuts costing… Making the tax cuts permanent would generate large, backloaded revenue losses over the next 10 years. Combined with a minimal but necessary fix to the government’s Alternative Minimum Tax, making the tax cuts permanent would reduce federal revenues by almost $1.8 trillion over 10 years — and that’s in addition to the $1.7 trillion of revenue losses already locked into law. By 2014, the annual revenue loss would amount to $400 billion, or 2 percent of gross domestic product — almost the size of this year’s federal budget deficit.

· Paying for the tax cuts would require monumental reductions in spending or increases in other taxes. To offset the revenue losses in 2014 would require, for example, a 48 percent reduction in Social Security benefits, a 57 percent cut in Medicare benefits, or a 117 percent increase in corporate taxes

Posted by: Jeff at September 6, 2010 4:51 PM
Comment #307860

What I see is a generation of conservatives who broke faith with their children. They demanded tax cuts for themselves, today, and wanted to cut social programs that would have benefited their children and their children’s children. Thus, the results are the same whether it is Reagan or Bush #41 or Bush in power: enormous deficits, and huge amounts spent on defense, all to be funded by denying money to the children and the chilren’s children. Did you know that California once had a public education system, K - University, that was the envy of the United States? Now look at it. As a result of Prop 13, the tax system which funded that once proud education system was gutted.

Today we have a top tax bracket which is lower than any other time since 1929. We have a new generation of conservatives, the Tea Party within the GOP, who wants to privatize or completely get rid of Social Security.

The conservatives who post here will not address the issue. Even mentioning it is a ‘scare tactic.’ Yet only a few years ago, President Bush spent an entire year barnstorming the nation to advocate privatizing social security. Imagine if the conservatives had succeeded! The financial sector collapsed only a few years later, and only government intervention saved the Banksters.

The fact is, conservatives ARE scary. They want citizens to believe Iraq is a good thing, Social Security is failing, socialized medical care means death panels, and Global Warming is a hoax (almost every GOP candidate believes this).

Finally, let us remember: Conservatives root against working people and for corporations. That is what they do, to their eternal and undying shame. Ask them about the Citizens United ruling. If they bother to answer, check and see if they are blushing. They should be.

Posted by: phx8 at September 6, 2010 4:52 PM
Comment #307861

This sums up the republican policy. More war more tax cuts more deficits more misery.

Posted by: Jeff at September 6, 2010 4:52 PM
Comment #307862

It’s very very scary. And it’s sad. Why some people will do anything say anything to make a political statement… No FLAT OUT LIE to score political points.

Posted by: Jeff at September 6, 2010 5:02 PM
Comment #307865


Cut spending to the levels of 1999-2000. Tax up to balance the budget at that level.

Posted by: C&J at September 6, 2010 5:19 PM
Comment #307866

No what we have is a repubofascist mental disorder where working class people get nothing.

Posted by: Jeff at September 6, 2010

Jeff, could you put a little meat on that comment so I have something to chew on?

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 6, 2010 5:23 PM
Comment #307870

I would actually go along with a proposal to restore spending to 1999/2000 levels, if the following occurred:

1) restore taxes on the top bracket to that level

2) cut defense spending to that level or lower; remember, the USSR does not even exist anymore, and our current military with its technological, conventional orientation is utterly unfit for modern asynchronous warfare. We’re in good shape to win World War II, but would fail yet again in Vietnam with this current set up.

3) restore health care costs to the same level by instituting the public option. We spend twice as much on our health care as Canada, yet receive less.

Obama failed us when it came to health care reform. Yes, his intiative made some badly needed improvements; however, he gave in to Big Pharma lock, stock, and barrel, and he took national health care off the table without a fight.

C&J, I suspect we’re already on a similar page on all three of these points… The question is, what party will deliver the goods?

Posted by: phx8 at September 6, 2010 5:58 PM
Comment #307871

Here’s a start at lowering the cost of government…

The union movement has transformed over the past generation; it now primarily represents government employees. Three times as many union members now work for the U.S. Postal Service as for the auto industry. The mandatory union dues that the government collects on behalf of its unionized employees raise billions of dollars a year. The union movement spends a substantial amount of this money aggressively advocating higher taxes and increased government spending.

This creates a situation in which both government labor and management have an incentive to promote higher taxes. Congress should take several steps to restore equity between government employees and taxpayers:

Congress should recognize that the union call for raising taxes to pay for more and more highly paid government employees is narrowly self-interested. Congress should reject union lobbying for tax increases. Every major school of economic thought agrees that the government should not raise taxes during a recession. Congress should not raise taxes to insulate unionized government employees from the recession.
Congress should reduce the pay of federal employees to market rates. Congress can do so by adopting performance pay based on market signals of labor demand, hiring more contractors, and reducing the generosity of federal employee benefits. This would save taxpayers $47 billion in 2011.[70]
Congress should not force states that do not collectively bargain to begin doing so. Legislation currently before Congress, the Public Safety Employer–Employee Cooperation Act of 2009 (H.R. 413, S. 3194), would require all states and local governments to collectively bargain with police and firefighters. Congress should respect the decisions of states that find government unionism counterproductive.
Congress should stop requiring taxpayers to subsidize the collection of government union dues. The federal government uses its payroll system to automatically deduct the dues of federal union members from their paychecks. Federal unions use these dues to lobby for higher taxes. Unions should use their own resources to collect dues from their members. Congress should end the automatic deduction of federal union dues.
Congress should adapt the law to appropriately respond to the reality of the new government union movement. It is the right thing to do.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 6, 2010 6:12 PM
Comment #307872

RF Why do republicans hate union people ie middle class working people.

Posted by: Jeff at September 6, 2010 6:18 PM
Comment #307873

Jeff, what you refer to as “hate union people” is really a stretch if you are assuming that from the article I posted.

If you read the article you would have understood how government unions are screwing middle class working people with higher taxes to pay for their much higher salaries and much better perks.

It’s easy to understand why the libersocialist politicians in congress and the president want more taxes. They depend upon the money and votes of government employees to keep them in office. And we in the middle class are paying for that.

Jeff, if you’re working for wages and pay taxes and are not a government union worker, why would you wish this to continue and grow?

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 6, 2010 6:34 PM
Comment #307877

Thank you for sharing that link. It certainly is startling to know that more union members work in the public rather than private sector today. Unions in the context of a nonprofit organization (or the government) is pretty ridiculous.

Posted by: Warped Reality at September 6, 2010 7:44 PM
Comment #307922

There really is no “too low” when it comes to the Republican party stooping, as shown in this article:

Posted by: jane doe at September 7, 2010 2:17 AM
Comment #307948

An example of Conservative scare tactics:

Social Security is going broke, and is deep in the red.

Both are lies.

The reason for the lies, lies in what Tea Baggies DON’T want you to think about…

All my life I’ve heard Latin America described as a failed society (or collection of failed societies) because of its grotesque maldistribution of wealth. Peasants in rags beg for food outside the high walls of opulent villas, and so on. But according to the Central Intelligence Agency (whose patriotism I hesitate to question), income distribution in the United States is more unequal than in Guyana, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, and roughly on par with Uruguay, Argentina, and Ecuador. Income inequality is actually declining in Latin America even as it continues to increase in the United States. Economically speaking, the richest nation on earth is starting to resemble a banana republic. The main difference is that the United States is big enough to maintain geographic distance between the villa-dweller and the beggar. As Ralston Thorpe tells his St. Paul’s classmate, the investment banker Sherman McCoy, in Tom Wolfe’s 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities: “You’ve got to insulate, insulate, insulate.”

If you would like to read the entire essay:

Get old folks to worry about Social Security and they won’t be thinking about the future of America.


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