Democratic Strategy of Outrage

Some of our blue colleagues imply that the Dems have ideas, but such is their confidence that they plan hide them until just before the election, or maybe just after. I think that Dems maybe have hid their ideas so well that even they can’t find them, but assume they have ideas. They won’t share with us but we can infer them from Dem actions. Based on what they do, it we can infer that the key Dem strategy is to p*ss people off.

The news is mostly good, but that does not mean we can’t find the dark lining in the silver clouds.

We hear a lot from Dems about outrage and anger. Some people might call this hysteria, but since our blue colleagues don't care for that term, I will just say that they are in a state continual of agitation. This must cause significant fatigue, but I think that is the way the party leadership likes it. Low turnouts are the norm for midterm elections. Only party loyalists and angry people show up to vote. So keep people agitated. If they are furious as Howard Dean or fuming like Cindy Sheehan for a few more months, Dems figure they can win.

Republicans did it in 1994. The New Republic wrote a cover story called "The Incredible Shrinking President" talking about how Bill Clinton had become irrelevant. Dems think this is the advantage they have now. Are they right? Probably not.

The challenge is ideas. Dems just are not very good at the vision thing anymore. It is true that back in 1994, the Republicans put out their detailed Contract with America only six weeks before the elections, but most observers could have told you the outlines of it a year before. What are the outlines of Dem ideas? What do Dems stands for? I don't expect they can be as specific as Republicans, but let's try.

-They don't like SS reform and are against private accounts. They killed it last year, but they expect to keep the vigil against an ownership society until the system runs out of money.
-They dislike the President’s policy in Iraq, but they can’t agree what to do differently.
-They like Kyoto. They would not pass the treaty, but they would talk about it more, ironically creating even more hot air.
-They like nationalized health care in general, but not any of the details.
-They think 4.7% unemployment is too high, but they have no plan to do anything about it, a wise strategy since unemployment below even 5% is hard to sustain.
-They oppose Arabs investing in American infrastructure, but oppose profiling in any other way.
-They all hate President Bush. Howard Dean hates all Republicans.

Any Dems want to be more specific or make corrections? What is it that most Dems favor of that most Republicans are against? In other words, why should anyone follow the Democratic leadership for any reason other than a vague sense of curiosity about where such people might wander?

P.S. I know that many Dems will write in to tell me why they have the right to be outraged. But please let me know why we should expect more than outrage from you guys (besides being the unBush).

Posted by Jack at March 7, 2006 7:50 PM
Comments
Comment #131993

Jack,

I used to respect your opinions although I disagree with your rose colored view of your president. But in a few months you’ve gone from reasonable to just another red column agitater.

If your trying to rile up the blue column, please keep posting nonsense like this crap.

Republicans did it in 1994. They b-slapped Democrats and President Clinton around like rag dolls.

cheers!

Posted by: reed at March 7, 2006 8:36 PM
Comment #131995

This is just baiting and thoughtlessness. 5 minutes and Google could answer all of your vapid questions. Why should anyone engage you on the terms you set; you show continually that you have no interest at all in substantive ideas.

So let’s see. I’ll offer some solutions, you’ll reply either that they’re not “offical” party policy, whatever that means, or that they’re just one man’s opinion. Sorry, we can’t compete with the GOP when it comes to sloganeering.

Social Security.

* Lockbox, anyone? How about the status quo? Lifting the cap on social security-taxable income?

Iraq.

* Shouldn’t have invaded in the first place. Oh yeah, we can’t say that, cause the GOP says we can’t. Got to clean up their mess. Ok, how about massive international coalition, real security, and real rebuilding, preferably done through international competitive bidding.

Global warming

* As a short-term strategy, I’ve reluctantly come around to nuclear power as an option seriously worth consideration. Raise the gas tax and use the proceeds to fund a “space race” for alternative fuels.

Unemployment

* A rising tide lifts all boats. Repeal many of the Bush-era tax cuts and redeploy them to finance incentives for firms to invest in R&D and expand operations, as well as subsidizing worker retraining programs.

Port ownership (which many conservatives oppose)

* Seriously and honestly evaluate the impact of foreign ownership of critical infrastructure, including retroactively examining current port operations and ownership. If an honest appraisal of the evidence indicates no problems, great.

I’m not going to engage your shrill yaps about hate, because that’s just your tired cop-out. If the President had carried himself with an iota of integrity during his term, he would have earned better than the scorn and derision he’s received. I respect the office of president, you’ll note (hopefully publicly) that I always speak of members of the administration by proper title.

I, personally, would rather no big ideas than huge bad ones. You seem to fall in a different camp. I’d like to say I respect that, but the truth is, I don’t.

Posted by: Arr-squared at March 7, 2006 8:43 PM
Comment #131998

The Dems are not a terribly appealing party right now, but if they did nothing else but uphold the Constitution, reduce the rampant political corruption, and obey the laws of the land, they would be infinitely preferable to today’s morally and intellectually bankrupt kleptocracy.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at March 7, 2006 8:57 PM
Comment #132006

For you who like to harp on corruption, go back in history and read about Boss Tweed, Tamany Hall, Huey Long et.al.. Then learn about todays corruption. Write a disertation about corruption past and present and see if you can make any sense. People accuse others of corruption when all it is is a disagreement of ideas. Oh, yes there is corruption on both the R and D side. But to say one party is excessive over the other is a stretch. As long as the loose construction of party and power is there, you will find corruption. Instead of carping find a solution and put some energy into it and reach a profitable result.

Posted by: tomh at March 7, 2006 10:21 PM
Comment #132008

I’m not thrilled about the rise of Democrats, just because the perception is that Republicans are corrupt.

Why? Because most (if not all) of them, all parties, are failing us (corrupt, irresponsible and unaccountable).

But, the bought-and-paid-for incumbents are succeeding at gettin’ theirs, spreadin’ corporate welfare to the big-money-donor-puppeteers, and padding their golden parachutes for when the $#!+ eventually hits the fan.

Who’s fed up with all of the corrupt, bought-and-paid-for incumbents. Well, it appears not enough people are quite fed-up enough. Not yet. So, the voters (I’ve been guilty of it too) just keep going to vote the same bums back in, over and over, no matter how corrupt, do-nothing, and bought-and-paid-for they are.

Republicans are likely to lose some seats in these coming elections, due to the perception of run-away Republican corruption (which is true of course, but ignores the fact that most (if not all) in Congress, from all parties, are almost equally corrupt).

But, it won’t be enough. Voters won’t take action until it gets much worse. And they seem to have a great capacity for taking abuse.

Interestingly, voters would ignore the crooked politicians, and tolerate their crap indefinitely, as long as the voters’ pain level isn’t too great. But, greedy politicians are not happy with a little corruption. Their greed grows every day, and drives the country deeper and deeper into the hole. When it finally gets bad, then voters will start votin’ out the crooks. But, that’s OK. Most of the incumbents have golden parachutes. They’ll get a lucrative job as a lobbyist. They have the deck stacked completely in their favor. That can’t lose. Voters always lose.

Could it be that it is simply impossible for the larger group (complacent voters), even though they have been provided a simple mechanism (i.e. vote), to ever stop empowering the very few (corrupt, bought-and-paid-for incumbents) that keep using and abusing voters? If history is any indication, it appears not, most of the time. Every once in a great while, people manage to find the responsibility and courage to bring about reform. Wouldn’t it be nice if the next time were that once in a great while?

Posted by: d.a.n at March 7, 2006 10:27 PM
Comment #132009

Just wanted to throw something out on this alternative energy items.

Hybrid cars aren’t cheap things as of yet, the thecnology is shaky at best, lifespans are uncertian, and not enough have been around to factor in repair costs.

Sooo that said, a gas tax is one of the most horrible ideas i have seen passed around.

Let’s explore some details:

-As said earlier hybred, alternative fuel yadda yadda cars are fairly expencive yet. So most of the middle and lower income persons cannot afford such cars.

-Also Hybrid cars work much better in the west and midwest than in the east.. they seem to lack some mountian climbing power.

-If they were to happen to get one repair costs would be to high to maintain the cars.

-A gasoline tax would impact the middle and lower income persons more than the higher income persons .. . and if i remember right the Democratic party was the “party of the people” and they catered to the adverage Joe so to speak, so for Joe comes a punishment tax since he cannot afford a new un long term tested technology.

-Ethanol…thats been tried sounds like a nice idea, but its called E85 for a reason its 85 octane… and not talked about much is how ineffecient it is to run a motor car… you need a car that can run it.. but then you get about 1/3 less gas milage on top of it.

-Battery power, is out.. makes the car around 1000 lbs heavier with current battery technology. Also more crash risk is leaking acid splashing on kids. Along with about a 5-10K bill for a new set of batteries every 3-5 years.

-Hydrogen cars prob the best option in non gasoline engines Infrastructure would be a problem for a few years (the on board conversion system of water doesn’t seem to be gaining in popularity).. and carries a stigma of a mushroom cloud (unfounded but stigmatized anyway)

-The best gasoline option up and coming is direct injection which is also not talked about much since it still uses gasoline.. but it light years more efficient a 1.0 liter direct injected engine can very likely do the same power as a 4.0 liter MPI engine and have amazing milage to boot.

In Conclusion, I would like to ask that people think about things before jumping on the alternative fuel bandwagon. We all don;t live in flat cities with large incomes to either buy a car we can’t be sure of in 5 years, or be punished because wehave to drive to work in what we can afford.

Posted by: RHancheck at March 7, 2006 10:31 PM
Comment #132010
Then learn about todays corruption. Write a disertation about corruption past and present and see if you can make any sense. People accuse others of corruption when all it is is a disagreement of ideas.

Unfortunately, corruption is always with us.
I don’t accept the excuses that just because something is worse somewhere else or at other times in the past, that there it is acceptable now. There is plenty of corruption now too. It’s just more sophisticated in many ways. But, it’s still there, and possibly worse in many respects.

No. We can accept mediocrity either. Tolerating any level of corruption only breeds more corruption. And, it doesn’t matter whether it is Democrats or Republicans…who ever the majority “In-Party” is at the time, they always advocate mediocrity, and always try to paint a rosy picture. And the “Out-party” spends its time and energy trying to sabotage the goals of the “In-Party”. So, we have dysfunction. With nothing constructed to do, they might as well get theirs and make the most of it. And they do. Most (if not all) are trollin’ for money, votin’ on pork-barrel, graft, and corporate welfare, gettin’ their kick-backs, cuttin’ deals in the back-rooms, and gettin’ away with murder (literally, in some cases). And, even if they get caught red-handed, they can get a pardon (like the 140 felons, and Dan Rostenkowsi, who pled guilty, that Clinton set free). So, who says political crime doesn’t pay.

So, trying to down-play corruption, ever, is a bad idea.

As for solutions, I can recommend many dozens of badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms, and the easiest way to bring that about.

But, corrupt government will never reform itself, and voters rarely vote to bring about reforms, until it is too late. That’s the history.

So, the solution appears to be a need for Education. Otherwise, we will keep repeating history, and keep learning the hard way, over and over.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 7, 2006 10:43 PM
Comment #132011

Excellent reply, Arr-squared. I wish I was that articulate.

Republicans put out their detailed Contract with America, blah, blah, blah…

Yeah, whatever happened to the Contract with America? Weren’t Republicans supposed to impose term limits and introduce a balanced budget amendment?

But when it came time to choose between the voters who liked the Contract and the business special interests who financed the campaigns… Well, we know which way the Republican Party chose.

I just finished Joe Scarborough’s book, >”Rome Wasn’t Burnt in a Day” — and no, he doesn’t explain how that dead body got into his Congressional office — but he does accurately point out the big problem with the Republican Party today,

Ten years after taking control of Congress, the Republican Party’s governing doctrine has morphed from: “The government that governs least governs best” to “The government that’s run by Republicans governs best. End of conversation.”

I understand that many Republicans are so partisan that they’ll never vote for a Democrat, but it would be foolish to vote for a Republican incumbent who’s already kicked you in the nut sack.

Posted by: American Pundit at March 7, 2006 10:58 PM
Comment #132013

BTW, the Senate Democrat’s website has the top Democratic issues posted:

  • Real Security
  • Energy Independence 2020
  • It’s Time to Clean Up Washington
  • Strong Economy
  • Health Care

Posted by: American Pundit at March 7, 2006 11:19 PM
Comment #132014

I agree, the democrats are becoming obsolete, but the Republicans are pushing strategies that are harmful, so I will continue to resist them. I’m a green personally, so I’m not really part of the partisan debate.

To address a few things:
“They don’t like SS reform and are against private accounts. They killed it last year, but they expect to keep the vigil against an ownership society until the system runs out of money.”

The social security trust fund was created to ensure solvency, but it has been borrowed against to help finance the increases in spending durring times of tax cuts. What everyone forgets is that private accounts means either taking out MASSIVE loans to cover current entitlements, or cutting current benifits down to nothing. Those are the only 2 ways to pay for private accounts and simultaneously continue funding the system as it stands, that is unless you guys are aware of some magic math/super energy source we could sell to the world and use to fund private accounts.

“They dislike the President’s policy in Iraq, but they can’t agree what to do differently.”

No one can agree on Iraq, not even the conservatives. It’s a mess, but something has to be done differently. Still, there is no plan on the part of the Democrats, besides Mr. Murtha, who wants to get us out of there in a years time.

“They like Kyoto. They would not pass the treaty, but they would talk about it more, ironically creating even more hot air.”

Kyoto was a mess, and it didn’t work, but we have to do something, individual states (with republican governors might I add) are doing great work in this area, so hopefully this will lead to a national plan (as the states are the laboratory of democracy as they say). This is an example of something I want to see changed, but could give a shit what party the solution comes from.

“They like nationalized health care in general, but not any of the details.”

This is really an issue for individuals, since if you look at Kerry, he wanted a national healtcare system, but other Democrats don’t. What isn’t changing is that it gets harder and harder to compete with other industrialized countries as legacy costs go up. You pay one way or the other, as individual companies, or as a nation.

“They think 4.7% unemployment is too high, but they have no plan to do anything about it, a wise strategy since unemployment below even 5% is hard to sustain.”

I don’t even know what to say to this. do you think having 4.7% unemployment is good? Those people are a burden on society. Add in the people who are UNDER-employed, meaning theyre either starving or they have to stay on welfare and other programs to survive, even though they are actually working, and you’ve got a drain on our finances. I thought conservatives, with their ownership society, would want more people to have jobs and job opportunities.

“They oppose Arabs investing in American infrastructure, but oppose profiling in any other way.”

Racial profiling in the case of terrorism and policing has proved to create, in the case of terrorism, dangerous assumptions, and in the case of policing, major discrepancies in arrest rates of blacks and latinos. By targeting our anti-terrorism efforts against people who are of a specific ethnicity, and even religion, we forget that 1. there are muslims of every race, and 2. there are terrorists of every (well, not every, to my knowledge there has never been a buddhist terrorist group…if i am wrong please correct me) religion. What would have happened if we focused just on Arabs, or people who look vaguely arabic (since persians and indians and turks and kurds and even jews from the middle east are all often mistaken for arabs), what happens when southeast-asian terrorists are recruited? The UAE deal was handled poorly by both the President and those opposed to it. The 45 day review process should have started as soon as the Coast Guard announced it had serious concerns with the deal, but responding to the UAE as if they are a terrorist state is not the proper way to go about this.

“They all hate President Bush. Howard Dean hates all Republicans.”

I had some hope for Dean, considering how grass roots his campaign was, but instead he lost touch with the people as soon as he had power. Guess what, a lot of people believe that President Bush is dismantelling some of the most important freedoms in our country, and to me that warrants deffensiveness. I personally support not-supporting the president, though i think Hate is a strong word. I was at the anti-war march last september, and I must say, the range of opinions was a little broader than your generalization.

I say take off and nuke both parties from orbit, It’s the only way to be sure.

www.iandanger.com/blog

Posted by: iandanger at March 7, 2006 11:19 PM
Comment #132015

Arr-squared,

I hope this is the Dems true platform…It gives the Republicans a fighting chance…

Posted by: Cliff at March 7, 2006 11:29 PM
Comment #132016

Arr

Social Security.
• Lockbox, anyone? How about the status quo? Lifting the cap on social security-taxable income?
Lockbox - not possible for the USG to “save” money. It can only tax promise to tax future generations. Status quo will run out of money. Lifting the caps is a big tax hike. You may think 90K is big money, but what you are doing in raising taxes on individuals and firms. You will be, of course, honestly showing SS for what it is: a tax and not a savings program. That may be good. Your program is tax hikes now and greater tax hikes on future generations.
Iraq.
• Shouldn’t have invaded in the first place. Oh yeah, we can’t say that, cause the GOP says we can’t. Got to clean up their mess. Ok, how about massive international coalition, real security, and real rebuilding, preferably done through international competitive bidding.
Great. How? This reminds me of Kerry’s idea that he could just talk to foreigners and they would do his bidding.
Global warming
• As a short-term strategy, I’ve reluctantly come around to nuclear power as an option seriously worth consideration. Raise the gas tax and use the proceeds to fund a “space race” for alternative fuels.
Bush also likes nuclear power. I would like a high gas tax. It would never pass either a Dem or Republican congress.
Unemployment
• A rising tide lifts all boats. Repeal many of the Bush-era tax cuts and redeploy them to finance incentives for firms to invest in R&D and expand operations, as well as subsidizing worker retraining programs.
You would let government bureaucrats determine where R&D would do the most good and subsidize training. We do some of this now. We did more of that in the 1970s. We should have learned our lesson. 4.7% is very low. There is even some doubt whether it can get much lower in any sustainable way. That was a trick question.
Port ownership (which many conservatives oppose)
• Seriously and honestly evaluate the impact of foreign ownership of critical infrastructure, including retroactively examining current port operations and ownership. If an honest appraisal of the evidence indicates no problems, great.
Here you essentially support what the President is now doing.

So the Dem plan (as I thought) is Bush lite or “we will get everyone to help even though they have not done so before.”

AP

I don’t like everything Republicans do, but the alternative is worse.

Posted by: Jack at March 7, 2006 11:41 PM
Comment #132018

AP

Let’s just take one of the Dem points.

Energy Independence 2020
Creating a Cleaner, Greener and Stronger America
Democrats are determined to put America firmly on the path towards energy independence by 2020. The American people are tired of the false choice of rising prices or more drilling in pristine places. They know America can do better. They know Americans can achieve any goal once we set our minds to it. Democrats want to tap that spirit of innovation and build a cleaner, greener and stronger America. Today’s rollercoaster ride of rising energy prices must end. It puts too great a strain on the budgets of working families, small businesses, airlines and farmers. Democrats will put families first by taking steps to stabilize prices and take real action to make America energy independent. It will help our economy, our national security and our environment.

So to sum it up

Dems have no plan. They wish for clean energy, but don’t want to do anything about it.

Who could be taken in by that?

Posted by: Jack at March 7, 2006 11:49 PM
Comment #132021

Jack,
Are you sure you didn’t get Eric Simonson to write this for you?

Posted by: ElliottBay at March 7, 2006 11:56 PM
Comment #132022

The b-slap comment is over the top and I will edit. Otherwise, I think it is the Dem strategy to make everyone unhappy. We get lots of “we can do better” but not much “how”.

Posted by: Jack at March 7, 2006 11:58 PM
Comment #132023
Jack,

I used to respect your opinions although I disagree with your rose colored view of your president. But in a few months you’ve gone from reasonable to just another red column agitater.

reed,

I agree with your assessment. I used to think that Jack was the most reasonable of the right wing writers here, but lately it has become really hard to tell the difference between the writings of Jack and Eric Simonson.

I also agree with you that the Democrats really don’t need to do too much to be a better alternative to the scum we have running the nation right now, but I don’t think that the current crop of Dems have the ability to do that. I really believe that there is a whole new generation of Democrats coming up through the ranks that will put today’s Democrats to shame.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at March 7, 2006 11:58 PM
Comment #132024

JayJay

I do feel bad that you guys don’t like what I write, and I did take out a gratuitous sentence, but I am doing much less than you guys do. In your own post, we see “the scum” referring to Republicans. And our president is often called worse on the blue side.

Besides my being more moderate, what is the difference? Dems seem to think they have the right to call names, but when someone gives them a little back, it is extreme.

Posted by: Jack at March 8, 2006 12:07 AM
Comment #132026

Jack,
Republicans are in power. They have a lock on all branches of the federal government. They have the presidency. They have both houses of Congress. The Supreme Court is 5-4 conservative. Republicans control the agenda. Republicans make the calls, and there is almost nothing Democrats can do about it.

Do you like what you see?

You write that Democrats “killed” Social Security reform. That’s incorrect. Republicans “killed” Social Security reform. The Republican Congress killed it. They could have approved whatever reform they wanted, and Democrats would have been hard-pressed to resist.

Iraq is a Republican war. You’ve seen General Pace’s recent comments. You know today the Iraqi General in charge of security for Bagdhad was assassinated. You heard Rumsfeld suggest media reports about problems in Iraq are “exaggerated.” Remember the guy in charge of the morgue who let the Washington Post reporter tour it? Remember the reports of 1300 bodies?

“Grisly attacks and other sectarian violence unleashed by last week’s bombing of a Shiite Muslim shrine have killed more than 1,300 Iraqis, making the past few days the deadliest of the war outside of major U.S. offensives, according to Baghdad’s main morgue. The toll was more than three times higher than the figure previously reported by the U.S. military and the news media.

Hundreds of unclaimed dead lay at the morgue at midday Monday — blood-caked men who had been shot, knifed, garroted or apparently suffocated by the plastic bags still over their heads. Many of the bodies were sprawled with their hands still bound — and many of them had wound up at the morgue after what their families said was their abduction by the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/27/AR2006022701128.html

Simple question: who do you believe? Rumsfeld, or the report from the morgue? You might be curious to know the Iraqi in charge of the morgue fled. Too many death threats.

Truth of the matter- no one reading about Iraq believes Rumsfeld; not Republicans, not Democrats, not Independents. And, on a humorous note, even OJ Simpson had higher approval ratings than the Republican Vice President of the United States.

But Iraq, Iraq, this is a Republican war. The CINC is the Republican president. 22 Democrats voted against it in the Senate. All but one Republican voted for it. What would you have Democrats do? The Murtha amendment was undercut by another Republican amendment.

The Republicans control the agenda.

The economy? I believe Democrats would be quite satisfied to treat the midterm election as an up and down vote of approval on Republican policies.

Sorry, but the sad fact for Republicans is that Democrats don’t need to offer alternatives. I know this is painful. I know people reading this are political junkies, and the idea of Democrats sitting on their hands for the next few months is painful. Sure, Democrat values and stands are available for anyone who cares to check links. So what?

Politics isn’t beanbag. Face it. Negative political campaigns work. The situation in the next few months is likely to get even worse for Republicans.

Pottery Barn rules. The country was in your hands. You broke it. The bill is due.

Posted by: phx8 at March 8, 2006 12:14 AM
Comment #132027
-They don’t like SS reform and are against private accounts. They killed it last year, but they expect to keep the vigil against an ownership society until the system runs out of money. -They dislike the President’s policy in Iraq, but they can’t agree what to do differently. -They like Kyoto. They would not pass the treaty, but they would talk about it more, ironically creating even more hot air. -They like nationalized health care in general, but not any of the details. -They think 4.7% unemployment is too high, but they have no plan to do anything about it, a wise strategy since unemployment below even 5% is hard to sustain. -They oppose Arabs investing in American infrastructure, but oppose profiling in any other way. -They all hate President Bush. Howard Dean hates all Republicans.

But, what about all this other stuff?

: )

Sorry, but it begs the question.

Oh, right. The evil, liberal Dems are the whole problem.

Well, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s what the “Out-Party” always does. Foot drag, sabotage the “In-Party’s goals, etc.

That’s what the Republicans did when Democrats were the “In-Party”.

And the “In-Party” always tries to paint a rosy picture.

I too used to fail to see all that, but I’m surprised not to find more people here that truly realize it, and refuse to entertain the idea that possibly, too many irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbents of both parties is the problem, and most voters don’t get that yet? Some day, when voters finally get it, they’ll do the one simple thing they were supposed to be doing all along.

But, the same old tired petty partisan warfare, bickering, sniping, and spin does more harm than good, by fueling the partisan warfare that so easily distracts voters from higher priority issues. A better use of time would be to educate voters how to reject all of this petty partisan warfare, see how cheaters use it to whip voters into a frenzy of circular thought and behavior, and prevents voters from ever forming a majority large enough to oust those that practice the invisible dialectic used to use and abuse voters.

For those that see it, the best tactic may be to simply vote non-incumbent always (since most (if not all) incumbents are corrupt), because most elections are only won by a few percent of all the votes, so even a small percentage of votes could change he political landscape significantly.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 8, 2006 12:17 AM
Comment #132028

And this from some one who’s best idea is George W. Bush?

Posted by: expatUSA_Indonesia at March 8, 2006 12:20 AM
Comment #132029

Jack,

I really do not give a crap about the name-calling. It is meaningless to me. What I was referring to is the reasonableness of the posts here. At one time, I agreed with some of what you had to say on some important issues, but as of late, the motivation of your posts has become as transparent as Eric Simonsons. Rather than talk about the serious issues plaguing this country, some of the discussion here has degraded to he said, she said rhetoric.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at March 8, 2006 12:23 AM
Comment #132031

For the Republicans being in almost complete control of Washington for the last 5 years, they have accomplished very little of what they supposedly stand for. In fact, they have done many things that leave people questioning what they stand for anymore. At one time being a conservative meant smaller government, but not this administration. They used to stand for fiscal responsibility, but you will not find that here. They used to stand for keeping government out of private lives, but this group of Cons wants a say in every aspect of our lives. At one time Conservatives were against social programs, yet this group of Cons just initiated the largest expansion of a social program since the creation of Medicare. They used to believe in the rights of the states, yet they are actively pursuing usurping state power. What do Republicans and Conservatives stand for? I do not know, but I know I don’t like it. What plans do the Republicans have to clean up the mess they have created? They have total control of Washington, and America has never been in a bigger mess.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at March 8, 2006 12:43 AM
Comment #132033

RHANCHECK good post except E85 stands for 15% gas and 85% ethanol hence the E85 name and the mixture has a octane rating of 105 about 20 points higer than gas. if you had a 10to1 compression ratio engine you would get about 15% more preformance because of the higher octane. the reason for about 20% less milage is the btu (british thermol unit) rating is about 20% lower than gas. but e85 cost about 30% lower than gas because of less taxes. hi d.a.n.

Posted by: rodney brown at March 8, 2006 12:50 AM
Comment #132034
we see “the scum” referring to Republicans.

BTW Jack,

I used the word “scum” to describe the leaders of the country, it just happens to be that the majority of the scum running this nation are Republicans, but I in no way am dicounting the Democratic scum that resides there. You will notice that I stated that the best and brightest Democrats are outside Washington, right now.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at March 8, 2006 12:51 AM
Comment #132037

JayJay and others,

Jack asking dems for answers instead of complaints is unreasonable and overly partisan? Really? You may want to rethink that, or maybe not … you guys re-thinking that would confuse my view of your opinions.

To The Person Who Wants To Make Revamps to Affect Unemployment:

Please check the current unemployment rate! “Look Johnny, it’s working! Let’s fix it anyway!”


Phx8,

Your quote: “Sorry, but the sad fact for Republicans is that Democrats don’t need to offer alternatives. I know this is painful.”

You’re right to the extent that the 2 party system will always ebb and flow from one party to the other. But to not offer answers will decrease the flow rate to the Dems side. I know this is painful.

And your other quote: “The country was in your hands. You broke it. The bill is due.”

This is more “The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling”. And then you respond with anti-Bush polls and then I respond with “Are people happy that we’ve avoided terrorist attacks at home these last 54 months?” and I continue with “Are people happy they have a job?” and then I might throw in a “Are people happy they have a house instead of an apartment?” and then I’ll add a “Do you think you have more options at alternative fuel cars than you did before Bush was in office and, if you bought one, do you like the federal tax cut associated with it?” and then I’ll throw in a “Many more dems voted for the Iraq War than Gulf War I … does this mean Dems have no idea which war will be popular or, at the very least, accepted?” … and then we’ll go back to to your indefinite statement of a completely broken country … . and then you’ll change the subject and we’ll talk about baseball.

Posted by: Ken Cooper at March 8, 2006 2:05 AM
Comment #132041

Ken,
Once upon a time, I was a Cubs fan…

The sky is falling? Mmm, don’t know about that. The prospects for the Republican party are falling? Ayup. The midterms will be about Democrat efforts to tie Republican congressmen to Bush, and Republican efforts to escape association with him.

For example, I don’t think I’d ever refer to one certain country as the UAE. I’d make sure it was called the United Arab Emirates every time. And I’d tie Bush and Republicans to the United Arab Emirates time after time. Too bad Willie Horton isn’t available to broker a ports deal, he’d be perfect. Like someone said, politics isn’t beanbag.

And I’ll repeat a prediction I’ve made many times in the past: the midterm election of 2006 will be about the US economy. I know, I know, it doesn’t seem like that right now. We’ve been in a recovery for a while. But I predicted we’d see an inverted yield curve as a precursor to recesssion. It took a while, but sure enough, the curve inverted, a usually reliable sign of impending. So I’ll put it on the line again, Ken. We’ll be in recession by the midterms.

And now my 20 year old son is a Cubs fan. I’ve warned him off, told him the cautionary tale of my time as a Cubs fan, but do you think he listened? And when a Cubs fan reached for that infamous foul ball in the playoffs… sob… I can’t go on. Tomorrow is another day.

Posted by: phx8 at March 8, 2006 2:29 AM
Comment #132042

Jack,

Don’t get down about liberals not “respecting” your message any more. My guess is that they never respected you in the first place, and they’re going for the only tactic they know, “can’t argue the message, attack the messenger”. They do it every time. I got into some discussions over on the blue side and any time I made a compelling argument, the libs over there decided to come up with creative, yet derogatory ways to change my post name instead of arguing the points I was making. I can tell you this, I respect your work on here, and I think you articulate your positions better than anyone on this site, especially me. Keep up the excellence.

Posted by: Duano at March 8, 2006 2:41 AM
Comment #132043

JACK was right about the dems just talk about clean energy, but wont put it in their own back yards. i read in the paper a couple traveled in every state hmhmm guess what almost 70% of clean energy wind mills ,solar ect ect you know the ugly stuff was in republican areas in this country! one of the kennedy boys said he was for ocean wave power, a reporter pointed at the ocean where the kennedys lived and said that would be a good area to put a wave energy, mr kennedy said no that my friend will be a historical area soon! NOT IN HIS BACK YARD!

Posted by: RODNEY BROWN at March 8, 2006 2:57 AM
Comment #132044
Jack asking dems for answers instead of complaints is unreasonable and overly partisan? Really? You may want to rethink that, or maybe not … you guys re-thinking that would confuse my view of your opinions.

Ok Ken, here are answers, with no complaints. Now could someone please produce a list of Republican ideas for the future?

Democrats on taxes:

1) end tax incentives for companies that ship their jobs overseas

2) middle-class tax cuts – boosting consumer demand and the business investment necessary to meet it

3) $32 billion in tax relief for small businesses

4) give businesses that hire people who have been out of work for at least six months a tax credit worth $2,400

5) give a tax credit worth $3,000 to companies for every new job they create

6) cut taxes for domestic small businesses and use a pay-as-you-go system that balances spending expenses with cuts in other areas - like fewer tax cuts for large corporations that outsource American jobs

7) economic Stimulus Plan that allows small businesses to immediately write-off the cost of new investments in equipment and get tax relief for their expenses

8) aid small businesses with a 50 percent tax credit to create health insurance choices for their workers

9) Trade

Democrats on Social Security:

1) Social Security will be fully solvent for the next forty to fifty years, and even after that it will to continue to be able to pay 80 percent of benefits. Social Security Faces a Challenge, Not a Crisis. Protect Social Security, don’t trash it.

2) Preserve Benefits

3) return the government to a path of fiscal responsibility to ensure that we can protect the Social Security Trust Fund for future retirees. Congress should not be allowed to spend Social Security taxes on anything but Social Security benefits. Reduce the deficit in order to protect the Social Security Trust Fund.

4) make it easier for workers to save for retirement by enhancing and strengthening investment vehicles like 401(k)s and IRA plans, and provide clear information on retirement investment options

Democrats on the Environment:

1) support the rapid adoption of health-based standards for air toxins, to protect the air our children breathe

2) Protect the Safe Drinking Water Act that the Republicans are trying to weaken

3)Oppose Republican efforts to roll back limits on Mercury emissions

4)improve the Superfund program to clean up toxic waste dumps and expand the public’s right to know about pollution in their neighborhoods

5) international trade agreements should protect environmental standards so that they do not undermine our clean air and water

6) support new efforts to clean up “brownfields” faster by giving states and local governments increased funding and technical assistance

7) support responsible limits on logging in national forests and want to preserve the “roadless rule,” which places one-third of national forest acreage off-limits to virtually all road building and logging. Unspoiled by human activity, roadless areas are among the last strongholds of the original American landscape.

8) new funds to help states and communities protect parks and open space

9) Prevent drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

10) fighting to fund farmland conservation programs that improve water quality, reduce soil erosion, and provide habitat for numerous wildlife species

Democrats on Health Care:

1) directly address rising premiums by reforming malpractice insurance, stopping frivolous lawsuits, and providing direct assistance to communities that have a shortage of health care providers as a result of increases in malpractice insurance premiums

2) make sure that health insurers are held accountable if they deny necessary services, or do not deliver high quality health care

3) Guaranteed access to needed health care specialists

4) support activities to train providers to care for racially and ethnically diverse populations and address health prevention measures such as immunization, nutrition and physical activity

5) support and strengthen the capacity of those health institutions by providing financial resources for delivering care, as well as loans and grants to provide for needed improvements in existing facilities

6) give states flexibility to provide federally subsidized coverage to more working parents, young adults 18 to 20, and other Americans who find it hard to afford insurance

7) provide a tax credit to help small businesses offer health coverage to their employees. Over 60 percent of uninsured workers are employed by a small business

8) believe that American consumers should not pay more for FDA approved drugs than consumers overseas do. Democrats also believe in increasing access to generic drugs, and increasing the government’s negotiating power so the Department of Health and Human Services can obtain lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries

9) give states the option to allow middle class families of children with disabilities to purchase Medicaid coverage, helping parents care for their children while continuing to work

10) support a Medicare prescription drug benefit that helps seniors, not HMOs, repeal the Republican prescription drug plan written for big drug and insurance companies and replace it with real coverage for seniors and the disabled

11) let the government negotiate lower prices for Medicare participants, and allow for the re-importation of approved drugs from other nations where prices are far lower

12) oppose risky Republican strategies that put HMOs, private insurance plans, and drug companies in charge of seniors’ health care

13) increase preventive benefits for seniors like flu shots and cancer screenings, and to add affordable, comprehensive prescription drug coverage

Democrats on Education:

1)expand professional development programs for teachers, increasing funding for programs with a proven track record in helping improve the performance of beginning teachers, providing tuition assistance to talented undergraduates committed to a career in education, providing incentives for exemplary teachers to teach in “high-need” schools, and developing career ladders for teachers

2) keep our commitment to fully fund No Child Left Behind as well as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

4) a new federal tax credit that will pay the interest on $25.2 billion of school modernization bonds, to give communities the resources they need

5) support more high-quality charter schools and believe that we should promote public school choice within school districts

6) include funding for public charter schools, which are tuition-free public schools that are open to all students and operated by community groups, parents, teachers, universities, museums, or other organizations. Like traditional public schools, charter schools are publicly accountable, and, as schools of choice, they are answerable to parents

7) make higher education more affordable by increasing the maximum Pell Grant from $4,050 to $5,800 this year, doubling the HOPE Scholarship tax credit from $1,500 per student to $3,000 per student, and making the HOPE tax credit refundable

8) Reduce the costs of all student loans, by allowing borrowers to consolidate their student loans more than once - so that they can take advantage of lowered interest rates, and eliminate student loan taxes. Further, the plan will eliminate the student loan tax, or origination fee, which will save the typical student borrower more than $500

9) increase support for GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program), which encourages more young people from low-income families to aspire to and prepare early for college, and TRIO, which helps low-income children attend and complete college

10) increase funding for Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Alaska Native- and Native Hawaiian-serving institutions

11) forgive the student loans of highly qualified public service teachers who commit to five years in high-poverty schools and of excellent professionals in other public-service careers with personnel shortages

12) protect and expand the Head Start Program

13) The Innovation Agenda

Democrats on the budget:

1) pursue new policies that take our country in a different direction, restore fiscal responsibility and to bring real solutions to the American people, along with economic prosperity, a strong national defense, affordable health care and energy prices, and strong public schools

2) reinstate Pay-Go rules. Democrats believe Pay-Go rules that apply to both spending and tax cuts would be a first step toward truly reigning in budget deficits

3) enact a major deficit reduction bill, fiscal responsibility and debt reduction lowers long-term interest rates for home mortgages, autos, and student loans. It also lowers borrowing costs for businesses, fueling private sector investments and economic growth

Democrats on national security:

1) achieve a secure Iraq, by working on a bipartisan basis with the Administration to ensure that the U.S. achieves its goals

2) support an ongoing, strong American commitment to ensuring a peaceful and stable Iraq. It is in the interests of the United States that a stable, democratic, and unified Iraq emerges in the Middle East, the U.S. must continue to work closely with the new Iraqi government to achieve success

3) create a railroad security plan, adequately fund rail security, ensure transportation security training, establish “best practices” for passenger transportation systems, increase public awareness, and strengthen employee protections. These measures make critical investments in our national security by strengthening our rail and public transit security.

4) promote economic development, combat illiteracy, and encourage tolerance and diversity must be strenghtened. The strength of American ideals must be as clear as the strength of the American military

5) provide the men and women who protect our coasts and our ports with the resources they need to keep us safe

6) increase the Coast Guard by 15 percent and upgrade the fleet of ships and patrol aircraft in half the time of current plans

7) Customs inspectors permanently stationed at high-risk ports abroad and the installation of systems to track every container and ship entering U.S. ports, so that 100 percent of cargo entering the country is screened

8) To preempt terrorist attacks, the federal government needs to provide specific, usable threat information to state and local law enforcement. Today, state and local law enforcement officials have not been granted the security clearances they need from the federal government and lack the best information technology and interoperable communications equipment available. The Department of Homeland Security must also develop a comprehensive terrorist threat assessment, catalogue our critical vulnerabilities across the nation, and use these tools to set priorities and create a detailed strategy to protect the homeland.

9) rapidly develop a single comprehensive national list of risks and vulnerabilities in all critical infrastructure sectors and work with the private sector and municipal governments to provide the necessary level of security at these facilities

10) help first responders prepare for the effects of a potential catastrophic attack, and acquire the specialized tools necessary for response

11) strengthen our homeland security while protecting privacy and traditional civil rights and liberties, take strong measures to protect security across the board while maintaining respect for constitutional guarantees in the areas of privacy, due process, and the right to counsel

12) create a unified terrorist “watch list,” and more Border Patrol agents and State Department officials to stop terrorists from entering America in the first place

13) require water treatment plants to assess their vulnerability to terrorist attacks and develop emergency response plans

14) conduct a top-to-bottom review of nuclear security concerns. New programs of technical aid and training are needed for National Guard, state and local law enforcement, and first responders to improve prevention and response. We need to upgrade security at nuclear power plants to assure the highest levels of security and provide new protections against theft of radioactive materials that could be used in “dirty bombs.” We also need to secure stockpiles of nuclear materials from the former Soviet Union so that the terrorists cannot get their hands on them

15) require chemical facilities to implement security improvement plans

16) grant state and local law enforcement access to the same intelligence information on terrorist threats available to federal officials. Democrats want to connect all local, state, and federal justice information systems – and make sure cops on the beat have the information they need.

17) restore FEMA to an independent agency with the personnel and resources to respond to a national disaster

source: House Democrats

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at March 8, 2006 4:49 AM
Comment #132048

Phx8

Do I like what I see?

Generally, yes I do. Things can always be better, but in our case they could also be a lot worse.

The Democratic dodging responsibility is getting old. Republicans control the Federal government, but the Dems have considerable influence.

The Dems did kill SS. They bragged about it. You are right that is ALL the Republicans had been behind reforms they would have passed. It is also correct that if ONLY Republicans had voted it would have passed. Dems have been slowing or stopping many administration policies. That is what they should do if they think they are right. But they cannot claim to be so completely powerless when it suits their purpose.

Both sides and all individuals should be responsible for their votes and actions.

And you are right that Dems don’t have to offer alternatives if that strategy works. But reasonable people have a right to ask and perhaps not let them get away with the duck and cover strategy.

Posted by: Jack at March 8, 2006 8:00 AM
Comment #132049

Jay Jay

Thanks for the list. It is very nice and most of it is either being done now or can’t be done. Let me take a couple from each. I will chose ones I have written on before so that you all can look for details in the archives.

Taxes
middle-class tax cuts Boosting consumer demand and the business investment necessary to meet it

The first round of the Bush tax cuts went disproportionately toward the middle class. It was much less effective than the targeted cuts on capital gains etc.

Translation of Dem position: Raise taxes on capital gains make the tax code more progressive (like it was in the 1970s)

SS
Social Security will be fully solvent for the next forty to fifty years, and even after that it will to continue to be able to pay 80 percent of benefits. Social Security Faces a Challenge, Not a Crisis. Protect Social Security, don’t trash it.

It depends on what you call solvent. The USG cannot save money (not won’t, can’t) It can promise to tax future taxpayers to pay future benefits. So this means tax hikes. I also like this 80% thing. Next time I go to the store, I will offer to pay 80% of my bill and see what I get.

Environment
Protect the Safe Drinking Water Act that the Republicans are trying to weaken. Oppose Republican efforts to roll back limits on Mercury emissions
Nobody proposes that we should roll back to the Clinton era standards.
We talked about this at length. Water quality regulations are stricter now than they were under Clinton. Nobody is rolling back mercury emission. Bush FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER regulated mercury from power plants.
Health
directly address rising premiums by reforming malpractice insurance, stopping frivolous lawsuits, and providing direct assistance to communities that have a shortage of health care providers as a result of increases in malpractice insurance premiums
Welcome to the Republican party. Who is going to tell the Dems biggest money machine – trial lawyers.

Anyway. Thanks for the comparison.
I know exactly how people feel about these things. A lot of people have felt that way. But when you really look at the facts you find that the Dems would bring back the 1970s - if we were lucky.

Posted by: Jack at March 8, 2006 8:02 AM
Comment #132051

The Republicans have made a false god of vision. The Democrats do no need to follow suit. A little charisma would not be undesirable in my party, but I would rather us be unglamorous pragmatists and problem solvers than a bunch of vision-obsessed ideologues. We must not have leaders who habitually seek imaginary gains over the real.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 8, 2006 8:08 AM
Comment #132053

Classic goalpost moving.

“Dems have no ideas.”

“Dems ideas are Bush lite or suck.”

Now, the latter is a perfectly valid argument, albeit entirely based on one’s politics. That being the case, Jack, I strongly recommend retracting this post, the premise of which has been annihilated, and substituting instead, “Democrats have lots of ideas, but I think they’re all bad.”

That, at least, is an intellectually honest position. The one you take here is not.

And AP, thanks for the comment. Coming from you, that is high praise, indeed.

Posted by: Arr-squared at March 8, 2006 8:31 AM
Comment #132055

And you people say Dems do not have plans to
help America. I say it is just more spin.
Because you say there is no plan does not
make it so. Republican plan is transparent.
Keep repeating the Dems can’t do it. That
might get you reelected so Repubs can steal
for a few more years.

Posted by: Honey P at March 8, 2006 8:32 AM
Comment #132059

“Social Security will be fully solvent for the next forty to fifty years, and even after that it will to continue to be able to pay 80 percent of benefits. Social Security Faces a Challenge, Not a Crisis. Protect Social Security, don�t trash it.

It depends on what you call solvent. The USG cannot save money (not won�t, can�t) It can promise to tax future taxpayers to pay future benefits. So this means tax hikes. I also like this 80% thing. Next time I go to the store, I will offer to pay 80% of my bill and see what I get.”

But of course to “fix” social security by creating private accounts, we then have to take out 3 trillion dollars in loans, which pushes our national debt even higher, increasing the percentage of tax revenue that is spent on interest payments. Our government is not solvent, social security happens to be a program that takes in more than it spends, and in response to this, the trust fund was created. But instead of protecting the trust fund so that social security would be stable through the time when it would be at risk, the government borrowed against the social security trust fund. This means that social security, so long as it is taking in more money than goes out the door, is going to be solvent for a long time yet.
But what of the private accounts idea? there are a few major problems with it. 1. When every person in America is putting funds into investment in a stock (assuming we dont use treasury bills, which would be asinine, since thats what the trust fund already is), what is to prevent stocks from becoming over valued due to this speculatory funding. Remember, this is a LOT of money we are dealing with, and even if you spread it out accross a large portfolio, the sheer amount of money will created over valued stocks. 2. Who controls where the money goes? This is another bad thing, since someone is going to have to decide where the people are investing. If it is a government person, what is to stop businesses from bribing him, ala duke cunningham, if the individual is making his investments, what happens when he chooses incorrectly? And what happens when the person looses their account because of a stock crash, or when a person winds up paying out all of their account because they worked a low income service job their entire life and didn’t have the opportunity to save that much. Do we let that person essentially starve in the street? Do we expect their children to take them in? What if they didnt have children? What happens then.

Under the current conditions social security is a safety net designed to prevent elderly people from being completely without income at times when they have nothing else. As well, it provides survivor and disability benifits for people who would otherwise have nothing. Imagine having your husband get crippled and not have any way to buy food. Does a private account have a way to protect this family?

We arent talking about lazy people here. We’re talking about the desperate, which is why people support social security. If you want it gone, just say it, but admit that youre either going to plunge us deeper into debt or youre going to cut off that wonderful segment of the population that votes more reliably than anyone else.

so why should we risk that to change the systemm which is currently working? Id rather have no changes than what has been suggested. A tax increase for social security wouldnt even be necissary yet, and i might add would just put more money away to be “borrowed” by the rest of the government. Our finances are in sad straights, but Social Security is the least of that issue.

www.iandanger.com/blog

Posted by: iandanger at March 8, 2006 8:53 AM
Comment #132060

We will never get any reforms as long as bought-and-paid-for incumbents prevent prevent newcomers from passing any badly-needed, common-sense reforms.

Think about that when you go to vote this year. Try not to pull the party lever. Do you really know about the person(s) and their records that you are voting for? Are they really fiscally and morally responsible. Or are they like most (if not all) politicians, only in it for self-gain?

Posted by: d.a.n at March 8, 2006 9:01 AM
Comment #132065

JayJay,

Democrats on the budget:
3) enact a major deficit reduction bill, fiscal responsibility and debt reduction…

An odd statement in a post full of spending proposals and tax credits.

And which Democrat supports this again?

To my knowledge there is not a single Democrat (or Republican for that matter) in Congress who supports cutting the budget to a point that would allow for debt repayment. If such people do exist they obviously don’t care enough about fiscal responsibility to fight for it.

There is a proposal in the House to balance the budget in five years. The Republicans are calling this “fiscally responsible,” which is bullshit. But are the Democrats going to live up to your post and fight for balancing the budget this year? Of course not. God forbid they do something politically popular in an election year. They’ll whine and complain about the Republican’s lack of fiscal responsibility, but which Democratic representative (or candidate) is willing to fight for a balanced budget and debt reduction? None of them.


Honey P,

And you people say Dems do not have plans to
help America. I say it is just more spin.
Because you say there is no plan does not
make it so.

So basically you’re saying that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence? ;-)

Posted by: TheTraveler at March 8, 2006 9:17 AM
Comment #132069

Jack,
After reading your last post I would expect to hear less from you about how “the Dems have no ideas” and more “the Dems have no ideas I like.” You should print out Jay Jay’s post and refer to it often so you can concentrate more on an honest discussion of the issues and less on the vacuous Republican claims of a lack of ideas from the opposition. Maybe then the unflattering comparisons to Eric would stop.

Posted by: RMD at March 8, 2006 9:29 AM
Comment #132076

Please remember that the infamous “Contract with America” wasn’t issued until a month or 2 before the General Election in 1994.

The repubs didn’t have a plan or answers during that fateful year either.

Here is a little tidbit from that contract taken from here Contract With America

* FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress;
* SECOND, select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;
* THIRD, cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;
* FOURTH, limit the terms of all committee chairs;
* FIFTH, ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;
* SIXTH, require committee meetings to be open to the public;
* SEVENTH, require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;
* EIGHTH, guarantee an honest accounting of our Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting.

I won’t get into specifics on how each one of these items the republicans can even remember but I will say this.

1998 - Newt Gingrich steps down from Majority Leader post due to ethics violations
2005 - Tom Delay steps down from Majority Leader post due to ethics violations

In case you didn’t realize, this is an election year and the Dems don’t believe in tipping their hands too early in the cycle…..just like the b-slappin repubs in 1994. The repubs would like nothing more than a democratic version of the contract with america to come out early enough to destroy.

Relax people, this will be an interesting, dare I say, make or break year for Dems. The biggest problem I see with the Dems currently is that there are so many ethical and moral issues facing the repubs that the Dems can’t unify on a common message.

Posted by: reed at March 8, 2006 9:45 AM
Comment #132077

RMD

Okay - the Dems have few (not no) ideas that either are not being tried already or will work. How is that?

BTW - What do you have against Eric? He is partisan like Paul or Andre (or you) or most others on the blue side (so what) and he often comes up with good ideas.

Posted by: Jack at March 8, 2006 9:45 AM
Comment #132094

It appears that the dem’s ideas have been rejected by the voters for the last few cycles. This despite the MSM carrying their water for them —remember McCaulif (or was it some other partisan?) saying the MSM was good for 15 points during the 2004 elections. That is an awfully big lead to blow.

Posted by: nikkolai at March 8, 2006 10:38 AM
Comment #132096

Jack,
“Okay - the Dems have few (not no) ideas that either are not being tried already or will work. How is that?”

I can at least respect that as your honest oppinion, but the old and tired refrain that the Dems have no ideas is both tired and old. Think of something new.

I may seem partisan, but I suspect our opinions are closer than you might think. In 2000 I supported McCain in the primary and would have voted for him had he won the nomination. I refused to vote for candidate Bush after what he did to McCain in SC. I’m a social liberal and a fiscal conservative, so this administration offers the worst of both to me. I think the government works best when the White House and Congress are controlled by different parties. Currently I see the Congress abdicating its oversight role and making the concept of checks and balances a complete joke. I always split my ticket and vote for the best candidate. This year I’ll vote for Dems for all federal offices in hopes of brining the power grab from the executive branch to a halt.

I want to see the president get a line item veto. I think John Roberts is president Bush’s greatest accomplishment. I think partisan gerrymandering is the single greatest threat facing the Republic (yes even bigger than OBL).

I have nothing against Eric. Why do you ask?

Posted by: RMD at March 8, 2006 10:42 AM
Comment #132099

Why do you not see the Republican party subscribes
to the belief that.

Evidence of Corruption and Incompetence.
Does not mean Corruption And Incompetence
are there.

Evidence of lies and broken laws. Does not
mean anyone will pay for lieing and breaking
the law.

Proof- Delay wins Republican Primary in Texas.
You can not evan clean house cause to many are
dirty.

Oh Delay thought it was ok to skip the election
party. So he could raise money partying with
lobbyist.

Posted by: Honey P at March 8, 2006 11:00 AM
Comment #132102

As a former Republican I can tell you that the Republican Party has lost it’s vision and been co-opted by the radical religious right. Republicans don’t have exclusive access to God and God is not a Republican or a Democrat. The overt usage of religion to get votes is a shameful amoral practice that is anti-ethical of the teachings of the majority of all faiths.

I have been so thoroughly alienated by my former party that I am a proud and active Democratic and involved in the fight to oust the likes of Tom DeLay.

While I am not proud of all Democrats, Like Ted Kennedy, I do at least see that the majority of Democrats are making a concerted effort to change. Where as the new Republican Majority Leader Boehner, who luckily beat out Shadegg whom referred to himself as “Least Tainted” as a major qualification. This is the behavior that speaks to the current culture of the Republican Party. Being the “least tainted” is now a qualification for office and leadership. This does not speak of reform or integrity. It speaks to the point of being better at not getting caught.

We have an administration that defends it’s above the law status on illegal wire taps and grants authority to the NSA that is clearly illegal in it’s application. There are no legal barriers to protecting us from foreign agents calling into the U.S. The administration openly and willingly lies to defend it’s untenable position.

We have an administration that again lied in regard to reasons for invading Iraq. I have actually read the 9/11 Commission Report and The 9/11 Investigations: Staff Reports of the 9/11 Commission : Excerpts from the House-Senate Joint Inquiry Report on 9/11 : Testimony from fourteen Key Witnesses, Including (Public affairs Reports) from cover to cover.

The only consensus on intelligence or threats in Iraq are from those directly related to the Whitehouse. The Whitehouse had magic intelligence that 16 other intelligence agencies did not have. They lied and they lied repeatedly. Then to make matters worse CNN and FOX both reported information citing these sources that were completely contradictory to the contents of the reports, they never read them completely or they intentionally misled the public as well.

The idea that Democrats are Tax and Spend is ludicrous in the face of the facts of the Bush Administration where as of last week every single American, including your children, owe more than $2,380 for their share of the war in Iraq. Which the Republicans predicted would not exceed $1.8 Billion. We have the largest deficit it in history and it is all thanks to the Republicans and the Knee Jerk spending following 9/11.

President Bush promised to Increase spending in Education, particularly in Math and Science in his Stat of the Union in 2006. Tonight I announce an American Competitiveness Initiative, to encourage innovation throughout our economy, and to give our nation’s children a firm grounding in math and science. the goes to show how much he means it by cutting dollars from education 5 days later in his Budget request to Congress.

Then we have the Patriot Act, that is used to spy on liberal political groups in this country that oppose Bush more than it is used to protect America from real threats and acts of terrorism.

“There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” [Source: House Committee on Appropriations Hearing on a Supplemental War Regulation, 3/27/03]

Republicans use great marketing campaigns and I will tell you what they really mean:

Defense of Marriage = The National Homophobia Act
Patriot Act = Completely Un-American Disregard for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights Act
Strengthen and Improve Healthcare = Gut Medicare and Medical Coverage for the poor, the elderly and middle class Act
No Child Left Behind = Under-Fund Education, Hold the fastest child back so that public Education fails and can be privatized Act
Healthy Forests Initiative = Kill Every Tree Act
Illegal Logging Initiative = Decriminalize Illegal Logging, All Better Now Act
Tax Cuts for America = Defer our debt, give you a $300 Check and let the Grandkids pay it back to China and India Act
Faith Based Initiative = Taxpayer Funded Christian Evangelism and Churches Act.
Concerned Women for America PAC = Put women back in the kitchen as the property of the husband, bare foot and pregnant PAC
Focus on the Family PAC = Make America a Christian Theocracy PAC (or) the Talibabtists
Welfare Reform Act = Screw the Poor Act
American Competitiveness Initiative = Help China and India beat us in the Technology Race Initiative
Trickle Down Economics = Tax Breaks for the Super Rich that place their money in Caribbean Bank Accounts to pay zero taxes
I have done nothing Wrong = I am guilty as hell

These names that reveal what the acts and PACs really mean are to long and would probably not garner as much support as what they currently use.

President Bush and his followers keep claiming that they have thwarted attacks, made America more secure and are hot on the trail of Al Qaeda.

Really?

Why is it every single time that they are asked to present evidence that they can not discuss it?

Why is it that our “secret programs” that have detained thousands only result in 1 or 2 arrests?

What about the illegal bypass of the mandatory 45 day security check as required by law in the Dubai Ports acquisition that President Bush personally approved?

Why aren’t American ports actually secure?

Did you know that a ships cargo (if it is checked at all) is only x-rayed or checked with a Geiger counter just before it leaves the gate of the port facility and gets on our highways?

Did you know that that was way too late in the process?

Did you know that meant that whatever might be smuggled into the U.S. is already here if it is detected?

Did you know that if a nuclear bomb is in a shipping container, makes it on a ship and is still in the water in New York Harbor it is too late?

I keep saying that “Actions speak louder than words.” Republicans have been saying one thing and doing the exact opposite ever since they got in power.

Democrats on the other hand stand by and for all people, regardless of race, religion, sexual anything or economic status. They are all inclusive. You are even allowed to disagree with the party online on issues.

When I attended Republican events it was something like 90% white men in attendance. When you attend a Democratic event it is representative of the community in which we really live in. There are people of all colors and religions and is generally representative of the ratios in our community. Democrats believe in representing the people, not special interest. We believe that as elected officials your job is to work for the tax payer, not the campaign contributor.

Where Republicans say no to the needs of families and serve the narrow interests of wealthy individual and corporate benefactors, Democrats work with from all regions and all walks of life to provide opportunity for each succeeding generation. Where others seek policies that would have government impose their version of “family values” on everyone, we offer common sense policies that value all our families.

No one party is ever going to be perfect. However, the Republican party is so screwed up, tainted and infiltrated with the talibabtists movement that it is no longer a party for America unless you want a theocratic state that protects the wealthiest 2%.

If you make less than $190,000.00 per year and you believe that the republican party represents you, think again. If you are in the pay range of $80,000 to $190,000 per year you are part of the 20% of America that pays 80% of all the taxes in America. Think about that the next time you go to the polls.

Democratic Values:
Our fundamental beliefs and values have been threatened by the misplaced priorities and failures of Republican rule. Democrats believe issues matter because public policy affects our daily lives. But the current Republican leaders’ refusal to even allow an open process and debate in Washington illustrates their callous disregard for the people’s priorities and anything other than their lust for partisan power.

Unlike Republicans who cater to those who would privatize our schools, continue tax breaks for the wealthy few who ship our jobs overseas, deny our basic right to seek justice and fairness, and deny basic services to millions of Texans, Democrats believe in:
• Equal opportunity for all to achieve and succeed in their efforts to get a quality education, find a good job, buy a home, provide health care for their families, and exercise their right to participate in our democratic system and have their vote count.
• Quality public education that gives all the opportunity to reach their potential.
• Rewarding honest hard work with a livable wage and a tax system that is fair to all taxpayers.
• Providing economic security for all hardworking through better access to quality health care and child care, affordable insurance, prescription drug coverage, and comprehensive health care for every child.
• Making neighborhoods and homes safer and more secure through the cooperative efforts of involved citizens and law enforcement officers equipped with the best available technologies to identify and justly punish dangerous criminals and protect the innocent.
• Preserving our precious natural resources, clean air and water, and our quality of life.
• A United States made strong and secure by moral, economic, and diplomatic leadership, as well as military might.
• Providing American workers and businesses, and especially small businesses, both the basic infrastructure and advanced technology required to succeed in a changing economy -– instead of sending jobs overseas.
• The right of all employees, public and private, to organize, collect dues, designate their income voluntarily to organizations and agencies of their choice, and to negotiate freely with their employers through their elected agents.
• Freedom from government interference in our private lives and personal decisions and full protection of civil and human rights.
• Separation of Church and State to preserve the freedom to pursue our beliefs.
• The benefits derived from the individual strengths of our diverse population.

For more information on what is really happening in education see: http://www.billboardsforreason.org

Posted by: Prescott Small at March 8, 2006 11:07 AM
Comment #132116

I personally love the idea of raising taxes again to put more money into the hands of a government that we all admit is corrupt to the gills! LOVE IT! LOOOOOOOOOVE it! I think it’s a brilliant idea. Let’s do it. Let’s give the corrupt politicians even more control of our lives and our $$$$…

Posted by: LB at March 8, 2006 11:56 AM
Comment #132120

It is always something with these Cons. They whine that the Democrats have no ideas, but then when you present them with an easy to find list of Democratic ideas then they just dismiss it with some lame whiny ass complaint. Last time I challenged someone who said the Democrats had no ideas, the complaint then became that they had too many ideas. I have also heard the right complain that the Democrat’s ideas have not been “dumbed down” enough for the average American to understand. Give me a break.

BTW, I provided a long list of Democratic ideas and challenged anyone on the right to provide such a list of Republican ideas. I got the complaints about the Democrat ideas, but I still have not seen the list of Republican ideas. Do they have any? Let me guess, they cannot be revealed because they are a matter of national security! Right?


Posted by: JayJay Snowman at March 8, 2006 12:08 PM
Comment #132122

Phx 8,

You said the country was broken but you defended why you think the Republican Party is broken. I’ll take that as a move on your part from hysteria to a more acceptable difference of political opinion.

Posted by: Ken Cooper at March 8, 2006 12:10 PM
Comment #132126
And which Democrat supports this again?

TheTraveler,

It is called the source. Click the link I provided and you can read about the Democrat’s ideas all day.

To my knowledge there is not a single Democrat (or Republican for that matter) in Congress who supports cutting the budget to a point that would allow for debt repayment. If such people do exist they obviously don’t care enough about fiscal responsibility to fight for it.

Um, a Democratic administration put the wheels in motion to cut the budget and start an aggressive move to pay down the national debt. Unfortunately, your boy Bush got his hands on the purse before those plans could be realized. There have been several bills introduced in Congress by Democrats that would reinstate the pay-go system, rejected everytime by the Republicans.

BTW, although it was ultimately the Republicans who had the final say on Bush’s SS reform, the Democrats did wage a campaign to kill it. Good for them. The SS privatization plan was a bad idea that would have increased the debt by trillions while doing nothing to address SS solvency. The Republicans control all of Washington and nothing gets out of Congress without their blessing on it. The best the Democrats can hope to do is kill bad legislation and work on becoming the majority party to put forth meaningful reforms. Any Democratic ideas put forth by Democrats in this Congress will be squashed on introduction.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at March 8, 2006 12:26 PM
Comment #132130

Shortly after Bush called for alternative ideas to fix SS, Florida Democrat Robert Wexler introduced legislation that not only addressed the SS shortfall, but also would have reinstated the pay-go system. His legislation was quickly wisked into commitee never neverland, where the Republicans made sure it never saw the light of day.

Social Security Forever Act of 2005

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at March 8, 2006 12:42 PM
Comment #132131

RHancheck – On Hybrid Vehicles:

I can tell you that you are incorrect in your data:

I have had my 2005 Toyota Prius for 9 months now.

$25,000 fully loaded with GPS navigation and JBL Surround Sound system.
$19,000 Base model

The car is very comfortable and has the same acceleration as the Hummer H2 and has much better mileage.

I drive 84 miles round trip to work each day. My monthly gas savings has been $350.00/month. Very tangible.

There was a $2,500.00 tax credit this year. My insurance is $10 per month cheaper than our 1997 Plymouth breeze was with full coverage. Combine the Gas, insurance and tax savings = that totals $6,820 in the first year. I make $500.00 per month car payments – So I have a profit of $820 in saving above what my car payment is in the 1st year.

The rest of it is still a major difference. With the gas and Insurance savings I will be making the equivalent of 5 car payments a year.

In Austin (or Hill Country as we call it) I get about 40 to 45 mpg real world, lead foot driving (80mph on the highway). When I drive closer to the speed limit I get between 45 and 50 mpg if I use cruise control a lot.

I took an option to prepay all of my routine maintenance for the first 100,000 miles, including a new tire package for $1,200.00. I get my standard maintenance as defined by the owner’s manual. Every 5,000 miles I drop off my car at no charge at the dealership. With the Tire benefit I am saving $420 in the routine maintenance for the 1st 100,000 miles. Everything else is covered by a very comprehensive warranty.

The Toyota technology is rock solid and some of the best researched ever. The technology is profitable to Toyota as well.

http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/20/news/companies/pluggedin_2_fortune/index.htm


Battery replacement is around $3,000 based on current numbers, you numbers are about 4 years old. Also Battery life is expected to exceed 150,000 miles. By then the batteries will cheaper still.

Batter Acid leaking on kids is a real classic make a point via fear mechanism with no basis in fact or reality. The Batteries are high impact resistant. If you were to hit hard enough to rupture the batteries, especially considering where they are placed in the car – You and everyone in the car is already dead.

The Toyota hybrids are reliable and more than 10 years of one the road testing. They were in Japan years before they came to the U.S. Japan gets the newest hybrid technology from Toyota for 3 years before it is released in the U.S. allowing them to refine it and improve it even more. Most recently Toyota was talking about the New Japanese model that gets closer to 80mpg. About 2 years away from the U.S. and that is a huge improvement on a huge improvement.

The big problem with Hybrid Technology today is that not all technologies are equal. Honda is far behind Toyota and Ford is using Toyota’s Technology but is still behind in properly implementing it. Also ford can’t get the Toyota parts fast enough because demand exceeds supply for Toyota.

We spent two years researching our Hybrid purchase. We read scientific journals, consumer reports and others. Toyota is hands down the superior technology and has the highest reliability. Their hybrid reliability rivals and conventional gas car or manufacturer and most often exceeds their reliability in consumer reports 4 years running.

In conclusion, we have seriously considered our purchase. We are extremely aware of the facts. And we have realized a huge and tangible benefit.

In closing consider this – I get 540 miles on a 12 gallon tank of gas. 1 gallon of gas generates 25 lbs of Co2. I am generating 0.56 pounds of Co2 for each mile I drive. The Typical 17mpg SUV with a 19 gallon tank generates 1.47 pounds of Co2 per Mile. The hybrid is 265% more efficient than that SUV when it comes to environmental impact.

Put that in your tailpipe and smoke it.

Posted by: Prescott Small at March 8, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #132133

Prescott—

Your ideas of what your party stands for sound lovely and magical, but I’m sure Republicans have similar views of their own party and the opposite of your own. It’s all about perspective.

I do have one question for you, though? Just how much of your paycheck are you willing to give up to make all those wonderful ideas happen? And keep in mind that the extremely wealthy never TRULY pay taxes… they own the companies that sell goods and services to the rest of the country, and any increase in taxes to them or their company is simply forwarded on the the public in the form of increased cost for those goods and services.

So are you willing to see everyone’s tax burden raised, knowing that the only ones who will really pay that burden are you and I and everyone whose income rests below the $190K/year range?

I hate paying taxes, and I hate it all the more because I know that the people who make the most money in this country are paying next to nothing in taxes, due to shelters, loopholes, transferred tax burden, etc… However, I am pragmatic enough to know that by trying to raise their (rich and corporate) taxes, I’m really just watching my own throat get cut.

Personally, I think the beginning of salvation for our economy and our country is the re-structuring of our tax code, preferrably with a flat tax with NO loopholes, or perhaps even just a national sales tax, rather than an income tax. You get taxed on what you spend, rather than what you earn. Those who spend less (the poor and middle-class) get taxed less; those who spend more (the wealthy) get taxed more. Also, the re-structuring of our tax code would also allow the streamlining of an entire department of the beauracracy of the gov’t: the IRS. It would reduce the need for some gov’t. spending, as well as simplify all our lives when it comes time to do our taxes, if we even still needed to DO our taxes (a flat rate for all would eliminate that need completely — as well as putting more money in most of our pockets at each paycheck). That’s money that we could probably all spend more judiciously than the corrupt politicians in our gov’t.

Posted by: LB at March 8, 2006 12:47 PM
Comment #132136

Prescott —

Thanks for the info on the Prius. That’s really good stuff.

I’m actually in the market for a new car very soon, and I hadn’t looked at Hybrids because I thought they were too expensive. I’ll be giving the Prius a serious look-see.

If I can save $$$ and gas and help the environment at the same time… I’m all for it.

Posted by: LB at March 8, 2006 12:52 PM
Comment #132140

Ethanol is okay, but I like biodiesel a lot more, since i can make it in my backyard, and if you use a chemical additive instead of mixing it with petro-diesel, you can use it any time of the year. The best part, is that every diesel car can run on biodiesel, though a few modifications have to be made to old cars (replacing rubber gaskets that get worn down by modern diesel anyway). As well, you have to replace your fuel filter after you first start using the stuff, because the biodiesel cleans your enginge of all the gunk petro-diesel left in it, meaning all that winds up in the filter.
ethanol: + made from corn or eventually switch grass. many new cars are being converted to use it.
- still contains petroleum, has to be manufactured in a large plant, puts money in the hands off the assholes running our country into the ground with oil.

biodiesel: + I can make it at home, can be made out of waste oil from McDonalds/Burger King, etc, works in any diesel vehicle.
- you have to use an additive so that it stays liquid at freezing temperatures, requires effort on the individual’s part if there is no retailer in the area selling the stuff, and no coop to join. Involves chemistry, and, heaven forbid, independence from large organizations with control of a product with inflexible demand.

As you can see, biodiesel is worth checking out. If you use waste oil it can be as cheap as under a dollar a gallon, and is actually GOOD for diesel engines.

Posted by: iandanger at March 8, 2006 12:59 PM
Comment #132146

Tax cuts and pass the costs onto your children and grandchildren or tax increases to pay for an inefficent government. Are these really the only two alternatives? What about lower taxes and cutting government waste? How about lower taxes and eliminating duplicate and wasteful programs that don’t work, while sending funds to programs that do? How about lower taxes and holding Congress accountable for our tax dollars?

The flat tax is an idea that is fair, however, it would also be political suicide. No matter which side campaigned for it, it would be exposed as a huge tax cut to the rich and a huge tax increase to the poor and middle class. It will never happen. An interesting plan was put forth by Democrat Rep Chaka Fattah [PA-2], called the Comprehensive Transform America Transaction Fee Act of 2005, would abolish the income tax on individuals and buisness. It would be replaced with a transaction fee. The fee under the proposal would apply to all non-cash transactions (including checks, credit cards, transfers of stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments) and all high-dollar cash transactions. There would be no fee collected on cash transactions under $500 and a 1% fee collected on other non-cash transactions under $500. The fee would not be collected on personal savings account transactions or on transactions involving your payroll check. The fee would apply to transactions by individuals and corporations. The fee would be progressive, charging a higher fee on larger transactions.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at March 8, 2006 1:11 PM
Comment #132148

JayJay,

2 things straight away.

(#1) Thank you for acknowledging, albeit indirectly, that Jack’s thread wasn’t the partisan demagoguery many such as yourself had claimed it to be.

(#2) Thanks for submitting ideas. The republicans also have a web page with ideas. (For other Republican ideas please reference the many years of their Congressional rule since 1994.) However the difference is that, much like the 2004 election, there aren’t a lot of ideas being stumped on TV or in the newspapers by democrats … when they are interviewed the only thing you really hear with emotion or any degree of resonance is “Bush ia bad, Bush is wrong.”

However, as for the ideas copied from your web page, I felt like I was looking at a pack of dogs pooping all over my yard and I don’t know where to start … nor do I think there’s enough time in the day to handle it all today. But let’s tackle just a few of these brilliant ideas which can be classified as more non-ideas while your good ideas can be classified as Bush-lite:

[Middle Class tax Cuts]: Yes! Let’s also elect a republican governor from Texas next time as well. I’m a middle class guy and my federal taxes have been reduced seriously under GWB. But hey, if you want to take the republican ball and run with it … Go Baby Go! Bush lite.

[On Social Security]: Yes! Let’s believe in that 40 to 50 year pipe dream. And let’s keep a savings program which has the most deplorable interest rate (or depreciation rate depending on your math skills) on any type of savings vehicle imaginable. And let’s make sure the government retains FULL control of the money the PEOPLE earn because, lord knows, the gov’t can spend and save my money much better than I could ever think of. Liberalism 101.

[keep our commitment to fully fund No Child Left Behind]: Hey, it’s nice to hear this program not getting slammed on its merits like the Dems did when it was first introduced, but we have relegated it to a funding issue. Ahhh, sanity. Bush lite.

[Prevent drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge]: Yes! Because it will kill the caribou much like the Alaskan pipeline … which actually saw a rise in caribou population in its vicinity … but let’s not let facts get in the way of our argument!!! And why give us 2% more of our own energy when we can continue to complain that we’re “stealing” all of the Muslims’ oil?! That’s so much more hysterical!!


Anyway, I do like your Bush lite ideas … which really aren’t your ideas. Most of your other ideas are non-ideas because they aren’t viable … “We want to promote world peace and love around the world … and riches for everybody!!!” Fictional fantasy writing sounds good, but it doesn’t help when dealing with the reality of government.

Posted by: Ken Cooper at March 8, 2006 1:14 PM
Comment #132152

As John Fund says maybe the AFL/CIO and the Democratic Party should merge and call themselves the Labor Party. That could help the demos to reinvigorate somebody or something, I’m not sure what.

Posted by: tomh at March 8, 2006 1:21 PM
Comment #132159

JayJay,

Um, a Democratic administration put the wheels in motion to cut the budget and start an aggressive move to pay down the national debt. Unfortunately, your boy Bush got his hands on the purse before those plans could be realized. There have been several bills introduced in Congress by Democrats that would reinstate the pay-go system, rejected everytime by the Republicans.

Bush certainly isn’t “my boy” when it comes to spending…

Pay-go doesn’t repay the debt. Pay-go alone does not constitute fiscal responsibility when the government is $8,000,000,000,000 in the hole. The fact is, the government is bankrupt (or it would be if they would admit it). Currently, there is not a single Congressman or candidate from either party willing to make the kind of cuts needed to begin debt repayment.

The Republicans control all of Washington and nothing gets out of Congress without their blessing on it. The best the Democrats can hope to do is kill bad legislation and work on becoming the majority party to put forth meaningful reforms. Any Democratic ideas put forth by Democrats in this Congress will be squashed on introduction.

Therein lies your problem. The Democrats don’t propose any more meaningful reform than the Republicans do. The excuse is, “It’s not going to pass anyway, so why bother?”
That in and of itself is a political mistake. You expect us to take your word that the Democrats are fiscally responsible even though the democrats currently in office show no inclination to be that way.
If there was one democrat (or Republican) who had the intelligence (or balls) to get up in congress and propose budget cuts sufficient to facilitate debt repayment, I wouldn’t even have posted here today.

Posted by: TheTraveler at March 8, 2006 1:46 PM
Comment #132163
The republicans also have a web page with ideas.

Ken,

And that webpage is…..?

I’m a middle class guy and my federal taxes have been reduced seriously under GWB.

Well, I am glad to hear you got serious reductions in your federal taxes. I am a lower middle class guy, who if I did get a tax cut it is seriously undetectable. Bush may have reduced the tax rates for some in the middle class now, but he raised taxes on the future middle class. Who and how do you think is going to pay for your boy George’s reckless spending? The middle class.

when they are interviewed the only thing you really hear with emotion or any degree of resonance is “Bush ia bad, Bush is wrong.”

And all we hear from the right is our boy George is wonderful! Best President ever. Our plan, stay the course! We stand down when they stand up! What a load of crap.

[On Social Security]:

Republican idea on SS: plunge the government trillions more in debt to be passed on to the future and do absolutly nothing to solve the problem. The SS system is solvent for several years into the future, nobody is disputing that. The Democrats did the right thing by killing your boy George’s SS plan. The SS system needs to be fixed and we have time to put forth a good plan to fix it. It is not a crisis as your boy George would like us to believe.

No child left behind in my own opinion needs to be scrapped along with the current public school system. The PS system needs to be reworked from the ground up. The Democrats ideas for creating the best and brightest teachers is a good start. No reform will mean anything unless you have the best to start with, and have the ability to weed out the bad.

There is no reason to pursue drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The climate is right to pursue alternatives to fossil fuels. The country that developes the technology that will end our reliance on fossil fuels will own the market. Putting forth more resources to continue our reliance on those sources would be a huge mistake. Ford recently announced that it will expand the infrastructure of E85 filling stations accross three states in the midwest. If Detroit is getting serious about fuel alternatives, then so should the government. It is funny that the president’s state of the union speech centered on our addiction to oil and fuel alternatives. Those are ideas democrats have been pushing for years. It is also hilarious that we are told the very next day that the President didn’t mean what he said. (btw: Bush’s unworkable hydrogen fuel cell program was started under the Clinton administration, and is simply a poor continuation of that program. It is a poor program because Bush’s plan relies too heavily on fossil fuels and would do nothing to decrease our dependency) -Clinton-lite.

“We want to promote world peace and love around the world… and riches for everybody!!!” Fictional fantasy writing sounds good, but it doesn’t help when dealing with the reality of government.

Well that’s a better dream than the neocon reality. Suppress anyone not like yourself, kill innocent civilians because the boogyman might get you in the middle of the night. Make the U.S. worldview that of an evil empire. Unload your burden on future generations.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at March 8, 2006 1:50 PM
Comment #132165

Sorry boys, I’d like to stay and chat about your misconceptions of Democrats, but I have to go to work. (What? A liberal that actually works? Yes, we liberals dispell the myths of the Cons all the time.) See ya!

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at March 8, 2006 1:53 PM
Comment #132184

To all those voters down in that great state of Texas who voted yesterday to keep DeLay going: You must be out of your minds.
regards

Posted by: charles ross at March 8, 2006 3:12 PM
Comment #132199

JayJay-

While I like the idea of the Flat Tax precisely because it IS fair, I also recognize the difficulty in getting it through “politics as usual” to the people so that they can get an unbiased view of the merits of it. The sad thing is, if it was implemented properly with the right rate percentages, it would generate more income for our government AND would also be a tax cut to most of the population. When I say properly, I mean without loopholes and tax shelters, etc., etc., etc… A flat tax that everyone pays. Period. Anything else won’t work because it will be exploitable.

But, actually, I prefer the national sales tax in lieu of an income tax. That’s the ultimate fair tax. Spend more, get taxed more. Spend less, pay less in taxes. There’s no loopholes or ways to get around it. And again, if implemented with the proper percentage, it could actually increase tthe revenue generated for our gov’t.

I’ll look into the site you posted regarding a monetary transaction fee. Working for a bank like I do, I know just how much money can be generated by fees. Of course, most bank fees are because people don’t pay attention to their money and overdraw their accounts! LOL!

Posted by: LB at March 8, 2006 4:02 PM
Comment #132212

LB

I do have one question for you, though? Just how much of your paycheck are you willing to give up to make all those wonderful ideas happen?

Short answer - NONE! I think we overpay for what we get. If I were getting the level of service I get from the Government from a retailer - I would never shop there again!

That said, let’s be more realistic.

Our taxes are absolutely insane. We pay taxes on items that have been taxed 2, 3 or 4 times already.

I have read many articles and books that have cited a similar number. paraphrasing here:

Based on import tariffs, transportation taxes, fuel taxes, sales taxes, inventory taxes, etc. etc. etc the government is way beyond double dipping us when it comes to taxation of the consumer. Add in income taxes and other taxes like property taxes, utilities taxes and so on - the average American is paying out close to 75% of their income in taxes already.

You probably get the idea.

I agree wholeheartedly that we all pay not only too much but a disproportionate amount as well. More taxes is not the answer. That is like throwing money at a problem and not fixing the problem. The biggest problem we have, and it is the fault of both parties, is the utter lack of fiscal accountability in government. I was a candidate earlier this year for the Democratic party. I have put a lot of thought into exactly what people like us are complaining about here in regards to taxes and expenditures.

More taxes is not the answer.

A new tax code might help that tax payer immediately but it is not a long term solution nor does it address “root cause” in regards to the problem.

I have been involved in politics for a short time, I am a working guy in a full time job and part of that job is operating efficiently and profitably. I believe that more people like my self and many of you should run for office and bring our experience of fiscal accountability to government.

In order to solve our problem for the long haul we need long term solutions and root cause analysis.

The main problems are:
Inefficiencies
Irresponsible spending
Lack Of accountability, no punishment.
Undue influence from campaign contributors (Alaskan Bridge)
Lack of combined purchasing power.
Complacency
You and I
Etc…

I have been writing my ideas down for quite a while now. Here is an excerpt on one part I authored regarding Fiscal Accountability in Government:

Please note this part is a DRAFT:

[DRAFT] Prescott E. Small

What is fiscal responsibility in government?

To begin with:
For one, Government personnel are often referred to as public servants. I really don’t like this phrase because it seems to be so “old world” and demeaning. I also believe that it is demoralizing in it’s connotation. At the risk of sounding politically correct, I would rather refer to these persons as Public Advocates.

The other problem that I perceive in calling these people Public Servants almost seems to relegate them to a lower class, a servant class per se?

Would you be motivated to work for someone as a servant?

Why a Public Advocate?
Simply put, that is what they really are or should be doing.

A person that has a job title of Public Advocate as opposed to Public Servant should be default have a better understanding of what their job is.

Any person that works in Government should have a sense of duty and purpose that reflects the attitude of advocacy. These people make a sacrifice in the sense that they take underpaid, unappreciated and mostly unwanted jobs. There is a large sense in the public of resentment to these employees. And let’s face facts, some of it is earned. “What evidence have I?” you say.

Well – Have you ever called a government office, stood in line at a government office or requested service at a government office in person or by phone?

Now ask yourself:

How many of those experiences stand out in your mind as being…
- Exceptionally efficient?
- Enjoyable?
- “That was much better than I expected.”

I don’t know about you, but I have a very short list.

Now let us be fair. A lot of the inefficiencies and bad experiences aren’t the fault of people we deal with. Many times it is due to laws or policies that were written or implemented by upper level bureaucrats or politicians with little or no understanding of the systems they are changing. There are also many processes, rules and laws that are outdated and need to be changed.
In addition:
• There is also a good possibility that a case can be made that the staff are not properly trained and are underpaid.
• There is also the major problem that is seen throughout most Government bodies in that their IT Infrastructure is so outdated and non-homogenous that it is prohibitively expensive to repair it now.
• There are processes in place that are archaic:
o They are costly in time and inefficiencies.
o There are processes that could be completed in 2 steps that take 10.
o When there is a single person that can do 1 job to complete a multi-part task there are often 3 or 4 separate individuals that have to be seen instead. How often have you been sent to one line to only find out you need to stand in two more afterwards to complete 1 task.
• Then of course, there is us. Yeah some of this is our fault too. We are impatient, ungrateful and often frustrated. We walk in with the attitude that we already expect a bad experience. If you had to deal with people like us all day long, you’d probably be a bit cranky too.

[[INSERT EXAMPLES HERE]]

Wasteful spending:
Too often I have heard or read stories regarding how the government is wasting our tax dollars on poorly planned projects, inefficient scheduling and buying unneeded equipment and professional services in order to maintain inflated budgets.

Natural Disasters:
This is in particular a huge pet peeve with me. My wife and I are able to set aside money each month in case I end up in the emergency room or the car breaks down. Which, if you knew me, is bound to happen sooner than later.

I can not remember a single year in which some form of natural disaster did not hit some part of the United States or some other country that the United States offered assistance.

It is unconscionable to me that the United States does not have a disaster fund that we place a minimal amount into each year. Surely with all of the data we have collected we can predict what we pay out each year in emergency budgets for each disaster. Why can’t we have an emergency fund as part of each budget cycle already set aside that goes into an interest bearing savings fund?

[[INSERT EXAMPLES HERE]]

Common Direction:
According to WWW.Dictionary.Com ADVOCACY, FISCAL, RESPONSIBILITY and GOVERNMENT are defined as follows:

Ad•vo•ca•cy
Pronunciation: ‘ad-v&-k&-sE
Function: noun
1 : the profession or work of an advocate
2 : the action of advocating, pleading for, or supporting a cause or proposal

Source: Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law, © 1996 Merriam-Webster, Inc.

Ad•vo•cate
Pronunciation: ‘ad-v&-k&t, -“kAt
Function: noun
1 : a person (as a lawyer) who works and argues in support of another’s cause esp. in court
2 : a person or group that defends or maintains a cause or proposal

Source: Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law, © 1996 Merriam-Webster, Inc.
Fis•cal
Pronunciation: ‘fis-k&l
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin fiscalis, from fiscus basket, treasury
1 : of or relating to taxation, public revenues, or public debt
2 : of or relating to financial matters —fis•cal•ly adverb
Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Law, © 1996 Merriam-Webster, Inc.

Responsibility
\Re*spon`si*bil”i*ty\ (r?*sp?n`s?*b?l”?*t?), n.; pl. -ties (-t?z). [Cf. F. responsabilit[‘e].]
1. The state of being responsible, accountable, or answerable, as for a trust, debt, or obligation.
2. That for which anyone is responsible or accountable; as, the resonsibilities of power.
3. Ability to answer in payment; means of paying.
Source: Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

And as a follow up I felt adding the definition of Government was relevant to the following diatribe. In accordance I have cited Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Law.
Gov•ern•ment
Pronunciation: ‘g&-v&r-m&nt, -v&rn-
Function: noun
1 : the act or process of governing; specifically : authoritative direction or control
2 : the office, authority, or function of governing
3 : the continuous exercise of authority over and the performance of functions for a political unit : RULE
4 a : the organization, machinery, or agency through which a political unit exercises authority and performs functions and which is usually classified according to the distribution of power within it b : the complex of political institutions, laws, and customs through which the function of governing is carried out
5 : the body of persons that constitutes the governing authority of a political unit or organization: as a : the officials comprising the governing body of a political unit and constituting the organization as an active agency b cap : the executive branch of the U.S. federal government c : the prosecution in a criminal case in its capacity as agents of the political unit —gov•ern•men•tal adjective —gov•ern•men•tal•ly adverb
Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Law, © 1996 Merriam-Webster, Inc.


Getting to the Point:
So with these definitions we could easily extrapolate that:

“The office, authority, or function of governing or relating to taxation, public revenues, or public debt places the state in a position of being responsible, accountable, or answerable, for debt and obligations.”

It could then be further deduced that any Government Official, whether elected, appointed or hired, shares in the burden of accountability for fiscal responsibility.

So what do I really mean here?

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to doing my day job and working with budgets and money that isn’t mine, I don’t handle it like it’s mine, I am more careful than I am with my own money, I spend more time looking for value, I spend more time working on competitive quotes, discounts and better warranties. I have more hesitation to spend money and make sure that I have a sound justification to do so. In this sense I am acting as an advocate for my company.

“Why am I more careful with someone else’s money?”

It is very simple, I am accountable for that expenditure. I have a body of people that analyze what I do and I am rewarded based on that performance. If I am irresponsible with that money I am not going to get as good of a reward as I would for being frugal. In other words, what is good for the company is good for me as well.

What should be done differently?
This is how I think a Public Advocate should operate.

A public advocate is not just there to fill a slot and perform a robotic set of duties. They are fulfilling an important need. They are paid with our collective tax dollars. Every penny they spend is also their money. It is my opinion that all government employees should operate with a basic set of principals at all levels:


Budgets:
Budgets should be handled differently. The unbelievably irresponsible practice of spending the money so that you will have a similar amount money next year is reprehensible and reflects a complete lack of respect to taxpayers when it is government and contempt for stock holders when it is a publicly held company. I have witnessed this behavior in the private sector ever since I have had a “real job.” And I am fully aware of the fact that this continues in the government as well.

Being that I have never seen a business or economy that does not progress through various cycles of ups and downs it seem un reasonable to not have budgets that cycle as well.

For Example:
Let me take you through something we have all seen since PC’s have become commonplace in the business world. It seems that every 3 to 7 years each company goes through some type of major Information Technology change. Whether that be a new software deployment like SAP, a new version of the Windows Operating System or a deployment of all new hardware. In some cases you will even see a combined effort in these projects all running simultaneously.

These projects often last one to three years. Very often similar changes with major impact do not occur very often unless there is a tremendous failure in the project itself or there is a major shift in overall company policy shift or leadership. Another major factor in how often such projects occur is related to how vast the previous project was.

I have previously experienced some of these exact scenarios personally in my career. Now many of these types of projects are capitalized in a separate budget. But hey tend to have a secondary effect on budgets. Starting 2 years after the completing there becomes the need to replace equipment that was considered adequate at the time and not in the need of replacement. The fiscal needs for IT departments start to increase steadily as a sudden jump in new hardware/software is required. The point is that there are ups and downs. The budgetary requirements will not be the same every year.

Another example is that training cost go up when new technology comes out. Once the familiarity with newer technology is achieved the training needs lessen.

The result is this, the government should not be penalized for not spending all of their years budget. A system should be in place that rewards fiscal responsibility. The employees should participate in such a reward and the left over funds should be either placed in savings or returned to the tax payer.

Lets say that I have a 5 year plan, that plan will cost an average of $1,000,000 each year. I cooperation with my employees we operate our regional office at a greater efficiency with the following savings a saving of $200,000 that year.

Fiscal Year Budgeted Actual Variance Carried Over Returned to taxpayer
2000 $1,000,000 $800,000 $200,000 $200,000 $0
2001 $1,000,000 $800,000 $200,000 $400,000 $0
2002 $1,000,000 $800,000 $200,000 $600,000 $0
2003 $1,000,000 $800,000 $200,000 $800,000 $0
2004 $1,000,000 $800,000 $200,000 $1,000,000 $0
2005 $1,000,000 $800,000 $200,000 $1,000,000 $200,000


I believe the following, though rather simplified, process could be applied after a few years of implementing the cultural shift I will propose following this section in regards to employees has had time to be adopted and implemented.

By looking at this chart and using very simple rounded numbers you can see that what I am proposing here is every governmental department take a hard look at it’s previous budgets. Make a good and reasonable expectation to what is really needed to operate their department and have a reasonable overage accounted for emergencies and unforeseeable incidents or expenditures. There needs to be a viable and fair rewards system that motivates employees and supervisors to do what really needs to be done, buy what really needs to be bought and provide the best quality of service possible.

Lets say now that he department that I am running with all of my wonderful employees has decided to operate on an average budget. We have been extremely efficient and mange to save $200,000 per year. After 5 years will have enough of the overage in saving to be equal to one average year of budget. So starting in 2005 we will be able to operate as efficiently as we have, have a reserve of a full years budget in place and then return the $200,000 variance back to the tax payer.

Now this is a highly simplistic scenario. But it is not a whole lot different from what my wife and I plan in our budget at home. We make sure a certain amount goes to operating our house and paying our bills. We then make certain that we pay ourselves and contribute to retirement and saving and emergency funds. Any extra money is split to savings, charities and then fun.

I know this sounds terribly simple. But I have the firm belief that if we, the tax payer have no choice but to live within our means, then the government should too.


Employees:
- Identify processes or policies that may need to be changed or that are outdated.
- Communicate the outdated processes up the chain of command.
- Seek continuous improvement.
- Identify areas where savings can be made.
- Identify and report areas or persons that are wasteful and not fiscally responsible.

Mangers or Leaders (Elected Officials):
- Should be receptive to constructive criticism.
- Should be receptive to process change request and ideas for improvement.
- Should actively pursue getting changes to policies and laws that are no longer practical communicated to those that can get changes implemented.
- Should act on communications from areas identifying problems or opportunities.
- Should terminate those that do not comply with being fiscally responsible or display apathy in their daily operations.

Additional Steps:
- Everyone in every position should lead by example.
- Change needs to be for the positive. A government job should have appeal and attract the best people.
- Processes should reflect the “time is money” mantra. Not only does it cost the state money for the amount of time employees work, it also cost the state in the productivity of it’s citizens when their time is wasted standing around.
- There needs to be a method for anyone in the hierarchy to be able to anonymously report problems.
- There should be a system in place to reward those that make a difference and improve efficiencies. Including:
o Financial rewards
 Bonuses.
 Percentages for overachievers.
- There also needs to be an external oversight and audit system that is run in the community to review:
o What has happened and why.
o What progress that has been made.
o What is working and what is not working.
o Recommend additional changes.
- Systems, policies, laws and resources that are obsolete, inefficient and redundant need to be closed, rescinded, or consolidated where possible. The right actions need to be taken at the right time.
- Gross fiscal negligence and repeated offense should be a prosecutable or impeachable offense. The most severe cases should even carry some jail time with no exceptions for rank or office, up to and including the President of the United States.

[DRAFT] Prescott E. Small

Anyway that is ton to digest.

Posted by: Prescott Small at March 8, 2006 4:47 PM
Comment #132237

OK Gang, I have another question. I know I’m not making myself look very good to you, but I see it like this, since you guys have your own ideas about politics, then maybe you’re the best to scrutinize mine before I actually present them to people that know me. So, my question is this…why don’t we just put sales tax back on food? It makes sense to me (even though I wouldn’t want to pay more for food, the theory is good). Not everyone smokes, drinks, plays the lottery or drives-so inflicting higher tax rates on these things is actually unfair. Everyone has to eat, so wouldnt the most fair way to tax be to tax everyone the same, rather than some higher or lower? Or would this create problems that I’m not aware/thinking of? I heard that the food tax was eliminated because of food stamps-but I’m not finding any research to verify that.

I don’t deny that I’m relatively young, and even though I’ve been involved in politics for the past 10 years or so (my mum held office and dad was GOP Chair. until they ‘retired’ and moved to Florida), I still have a lot that I want to learn and understand. Which, is the reason WHY I started coming to this site in the first place. So…if anyone can give me some insight, hopefully without bashing me, I would definitely take it in and appreciate it.

Posted by: Tanya at March 8, 2006 6:22 PM
Comment #132261

Tanya

Sales tax is regressive in that the poor pay relatively more than the rich. The logic is that everyone needs food, but nobody, rich or poor, can eat a limitless amount. So not taxing food (and some places clothes) is meant to take some of the tax burden off the poor without allowing excess consumption.

Posted by: Jack at March 8, 2006 8:18 PM
Comment #132269

I find it quite ironic that the Dems are lambasted for wanting to take this country back to the 1970’s. Especially when the Republicans want to take it back to the 1890’s.

Posted by: ElliottBay at March 8, 2006 8:43 PM
Comment #132358

Jack,

Thank you for your reply. As I suspected, you shed some light on things for me. Hopefully others will follow suit, as I truly want to hear how others feel about this.

Posted by: Tanya at March 9, 2006 3:08 AM
Comment #132365

Can there be any real doubt that Jack is on the RNC payroll? Wal Mart hires bloggers…Rove & Company would not allow a corporation like that to get a leg up on Cheney/Bush…would he?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 9, 2006 7:02 AM
Comment #132380

Marysdude, you wrote:”Can there be any real doubt that Jack is on the RNC payroll? Wal Mart hires bloggers…Rove & Company would not allow a corporation like that to get a leg up on Cheney/Bush…would he?”

A statement like that can go both ways, for example, can there be any real doubt that you are on the payroll of the ‘other side’?

Jack’s opinions are just as relevent and welcome here as yours, and in some cases moreso-so let up it, OK? We all know how you feel about him, you’ve made that known on more than one occasion, but some of us rather like reading what he has to say. If you have such a problem with it, you’re free to leave and not come back. Nobody is holding you hostage here to read our views on the issues. Having said that, I think you would be a lot more well-respected if you would focus more on the topic
and less on the writer. If you want us to respect your views, then you should respect ours. If you’re not willing to do that, then shutting up would be your next best bet.

Tanya

Posted by: Tanya at March 9, 2006 9:31 AM
Comment #132417

Tanya,

The theory behind not taxing food and perishables is that it hits the lower-income families the hardest. Food is an essential for everyone, and for the most part, families of similar size will spend the same amount on food, regardless of whether they are high- or low-income. Thus, by taxing food, you’re hitting the low incomes the hardest, because they are the ones who spend a larger proportion of their income on food — an essential for survival.

I have no issue with non-taxation of food and perishables. Since it’s something everyone needs and HAS to buy, it doesn’t make much sense to tax it anyway. The national sales tax I would like to see implemented in lieu of a graduated income tax would end up affecting the higher incomes anyway, because they tend to spend the most on non-essentials. A national sales tax, perhaps even one that taxes defined “luxury” items at an even higher rate, would be extremely effective at generating revenue and would tax fairly based upon spending habits, not earning habits.

Thus, if someone prefers to save their money or has to spend more of it on essentials (food and the like), as well as things like health care for the family, would pay less tax…while those who have the money to spend on non-essentials will take on an accordingly high portion of the tax burden. But even if it’s being saved, it will be taxed when it gets spent eventually.

There are no loopholes, tax shelters or ways to avoid paying a sales tax. It’s a point-of-expenditure tax, rather than a point-of-receipt tax. No hidey-holes.

I don’t think I need to add that by removing income taxes, we would put more money into the hands of the people that have worked to earn it, and would thus give them more control over how they choose to spend it, save it, invest it, etc… The way I see it, it’s MY money… let me decide what I want to do with it. My decisions will be much better suited for me individually, and what I do with it will inevitably be more efficiently handled as well.

Posted by: LB at March 9, 2006 12:11 PM
Comment #132481

LB, you wrote:”I don’t think I need to add that by removing income taxes, we would put more money into the hands of the people that have worked to earn it, and would thus give them more control over how they choose to spend it, save it, invest it, etc…”

First of all, I would like to say thank you for responding to my question regarding taxing food. I see your point on that and very much appreciate the insight.

In regards to removing the income tax, I totally agree with you. I have said for several years now (much to the chagrin of some) that I would like to either see income tax removed, or for the government to “give us back” our tax refund say, in early November, because I know personally, if I had my income tax back in November, I would put it right back into the economy in the form of purchasing Christmas gifts and contributing “last minute tax deductions” to my IRA, etc.

Many people are so desperate to receive their tax refund back that they pay upwards of 300% to get a “rapid refund” loan anticipation check (HSBC makes a FORTUNE off these people). I absolutely cringe when people tell me that they opted to get their refund that way. If those same people could force themselves to be more disciplined with their paychecks, the best thing for them to do would be to claim the highest amount of exemptions they possibly (legally) could on their W2’s which would give them more back in their weekly pay, also allowing the government to collect less interest from “their” money. If they take that extra money that they’re now getting back in each paycheck and divide it in half, keeping half to spend and putting the other half into a compounding interest account, such as a CMA or something of the sorts (or a Roth), and keep close track of it, they would see that the growth from the interest on that savings would likely equal MORE than they would get in the form of a tax refund. Plus the fact that their money would be at their disposal whenever they needed/wanted it, rather than the IRS basically sending it whenever they darn well please.

I know that people that have to live paycheck-to-paycheck feel that this would not be a viable option for them, but if they could just discipline themselves to try it, I’m sure they would see that I am right. Within the last year I was fortunate enough to be able to open my own Cash Management Account with Merrill Lynch. Normally the minimum required amount of money necessary to open such an account is $20,000; however, since my parents have been with them for over 20 years they allowed me do open one of my own (they call it “householding” even though we don’t live together) with less than that amount. Anyway, my point here is (yes, I DO have one LOL) that in 10 days, I earned $1.50 in interest alone and that’s not the account I use for investing, that’s just my regular checking-type account. If I’d still had my checking account with the credit union I would never have seen that kind of interest in such a short time. This is why I recommend that people put that extra exemption money from their paychecks into a ‘compounding interest’ account, where they could enjoy watching their money grow quickly like I do with my account. =)

Posted by: Tanya at March 9, 2006 4:40 PM
Comment #132484

Tanya,

Being distasteful does not make it less likely. This is a blog site and everyone has a right to post here, but if Jack is being paid to post, we should all be informed, so that we can assess how much of what he says is from him and how much from his handlers…

I approached the subject once before and he did not deny it. Instead he said, “I wish. Yadda yadda”. Laying it off as a foolish question. With his determination to sell Dems short and Repubs long, it only makes sense to raise the question. I’ve done so on the left site and now on the right site, so I’ll now leave you be with it. If it has no meaning to other posters, it can’t mean that much to me. I already know how much attention he deserves…

Posted by: Marysdude at March 9, 2006 4:44 PM
Comment #132496

Marysdude,

Personally, I could care less if he, or anyone else, is being paid to post here, but I highly doubt that he is. I could be wrong (it’s happened before LOL), but I just don’t get that sense from him. I guess I can see where you would be skeptical though, I hadn’t even considered it until you brought it up. I apologize in that when I replied, I had felt that you were just “attacking” him because you ‘don’t like him’, which was presumptious on my part, because it seems you were posing a question you felt logical. I try not to make assumptions, but at times, I’m afraid, I am guilty of that-again I apologize.

Hey, maybe I can get a job posting on a blog site! I could sure use the money! *winks*

Posted by: Tanya at March 9, 2006 5:28 PM
Comment #132500

The idea of entirely eliminate income tax or reducing income taxes collected is great.

However, it does not address the root cause of the issues we see today. (See lengthy response above).

The bottom line is that until we address the root causes behind our out of control spending no solution will offer anything more than temporary relief.

Personally I am tired of band-aids on bullet wounds. I want to see things get fixed. Solve the problems then talk about revamping the I.R.S or abolishing income tax.

Posted by: Prescott Small at March 9, 2006 5:33 PM
Comment #132507

Marysdude,

I’m not taking sides here, just making a comment:

…”With his determination to sell Dems short and Repubs long, it only makes sense”… Well, don’t you do the same thing in reverse? I’ve seen your posts, and I know how avidly you build up the Dem side of things. Why does he “have to be in the RNC’s pocketbook,” while you are simply “a concerned poster voicing a concern?” I’m a moderate and a Libertarian, so I have nothing at stake in your beef, but I do think it’s kinda hypocritical that you’re the only one who is allowed to defend your party line.

Posted by: LB at March 9, 2006 5:52 PM
Comment #132510

Prescott, you wrote:”Personally I am tired of band-aids on bullet wounds. I want to see things get fixed.”

Agreed-I definitely acknowledge there is a problem with this nation’s deficit, and certainly something NEEDS to be done. I guess my biggest issue regarding this is that so many people do nothing but bitch about WHY the deficit is as it is, or THAT it is as it is, yet not enough actually offer suggestions for possible solutions to actually fix the problem. It’s like the old saying goes “Superior people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, little people talk about other people”. The deficit is more than a Republican or Democrat problem. It’s there irregardless of what party is in office at the time. I’m not saying that Republicans don’t add to it, just like nobody can honestly say that Democrats don’t-the ultimate fact of the matter is that some way, somehow, SOMEBODY needs to do something to improve it. Hopefully then, as you said, we can work on abolishing that income tax.

Posted by: Tanya at March 9, 2006 5:58 PM
Comment #132512

Prescott,

I got your point about holding the politicians the beauracrats responsible for their waste and inefficiency. And voting them out of office, and voting in responsible individuals who have the best interests of the public at heart is definitely a necessity. But part of reducing and/or removing that inefficiency IS making changes to an inefficient tax code. They are not necessarily two different things. I see them as one and the same. I don’t believe we will be able to make changes to the tax code or anything else that will improve efficiency and responsibility and accountability within our gov’t UNTIL we make changes to the personnel there. But changing the people won’t make much difference if all we leave them to work with is the same old inefficient foundation. Change is necessary on both fronts to see the improvement we all seek.

Posted by: LB at March 9, 2006 6:13 PM
Comment #132520

Tanya,

Appology not necessary, but accepted none the less. I’ve made a couple of mea culpas myself.

I do not care if he’s being paid, I’d just like to know, so we’d be on a level playing field.

LB,

You are right, I tend to defend the blues. I’d like to think I do it as part of a dialog, but know sometimes I go overboard. It’s hard to see ourselves as hard headed as the guy on the other side absolutely is…but, there is something so intense about Jack’s efforts, and his research appears to be done by more than one person (RNC?). He’s probably a regular guy…but…

Posted by: Marysdude at March 9, 2006 7:28 PM
Comment #136074

Personally I believe the IRS needs to be gutted and revamped completely. not only for their inefficiencies but because they are the goose stepping branch of our government that people fear the most. This is one government entity that appears to be exempt from constitutional duties. Especially when it comes to the 14th amendment:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

the IRS has the power to seize and sell property for someone that has only been accused of a crime, not convicted. The IRS has repeated abused this power and will continue to do so.

There are so many things wrong with our tax code, the IRS and the application of it’s policies and laws that it would be much easier to list what is good about them.

So here goes - What’s right about the I.R.S.?

1) …..

Can someone help me here I am drawing a blank?

I have one finally!

1) Tax incentives for hybrid vehicles.

But, then again they didn’t come up with that one did they? It was forced on them by some crazy liberals.

Posted by: Prescott Small at March 27, 2006 12:09 PM
Comment #136079

There was a great article that I read several years ago and wish I had kept that listed all of these taxes and some that this guy missed like use tax and import duties. He calculated 53% of a $40,000 income family of four going to taxes of one kind or another.

Then he went on to talk about indirect taxes and how much of an additional bite they take. Indirect taxes are like the property taxes paid by a landlord and passed along to the tenant disguised a part of the rent. Another example would be taxes companies pay causing the company to pass those costs along to us in the form of higher prices on their products.

Most middle class Americans have been brainwashed into looking at the top line on their paycheck. Suppose they’re both professionals and both husband and wife are employed. They have a $100,000 combined income so they ought to be on easy street or so they might think. Guess again Tonto. They’re struggling to pay the bills. This list starts to get the problem in focus. After the various governments take their 53%, and the indirect taxes run up the costs of everything they buy, they’re left with very little discretionary income. That $100,000 may not be enough for a Europe trip this year.

I don’t think most of them realize how what a large portion of their gasoline purchase is tax, or their cell phone bill, or their wine purchase, or cigarettes, or whatever.

I think the single most aggravating tax is property tax that escalates automatically with property values rising. They just automatically take more and more every year whether they need it or not.

And bureaucracies always seek to sustain themselves and to grow. That’s the nature of the beast. When you talk about expenditures like ‘school funding’ you’re really trying to put a pretty face on a black hole that just vacuums up more and more cash all the time. They want more and better facilities, more teachers, more facilities, more, more, more of everything because all bureaucracies are like that by their very nature. They will always come up with a budget that shows them needing more money even when student populations are declining.

And the school systems aren’t the only ones. Take any government bureaucracy at any level and you’re likely to see the same thing going on.


Isn’t this amazing?


TAXES:
Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
Capital Gains Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Court Fines (indirect taxes)
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel permit tax
Gasoline Tax (42 cents per gallon)
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax Interest expense (tax on the money)
Inventory tax IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Local Income Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Septic Permit Tax
Service Charge Taxes
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Taxes (Truckers)
Sales Taxes
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Road Toll Booth Taxes
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone federal excise tax
Telephone federal universal service fee tax
Telephone federal, state and
local surcharge taxes
Telephone minimum usage surcharge tax
Telephone recurring and non-recurring charges tax
Telephone state and local tax
Telephone usage charge tax
Toll Bridge Taxes
Toll Tunnel Taxes
Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)
Trailer Registration Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax


COMMENTS:
Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago and our nation was the most prosperous in the world, had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world and only one parent had to work to support the family.

Posted by: Prescott Small at March 27, 2006 12:17 PM
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