New Deal, New Direction... eh?

As Yoda would say, “Deceitful the darkside is. Hmmm. Good appear evil can. See you, Pelosi marxist theory explain.”

Today, this economy is making the super-rich richer, and leaving middle-income American families further behind, deeper in debt, and struggling to make ends meet.

Make no mistake – this is a result of choice, not chance.

Democrats believe in the marketplace.  Yet choices made by President Bush and Republicans in Congress have created a market failure by consistently rewarding wealth without rewarding work.

There are those who will say our economy is successful for everyone because corporate profits are the highest share of GDP in 50 years.  They will say we are doing well because productivity is way up, or that our economy is thriving because the Dow hit record levels.

But something is wrong with this picture.

Something is wrong with the picture Pelosi is painting here. That's because it's an old and discredited picture. It's Karl's picture in fact.

Compare this explanation about the labor theory of value:

According to the labor theory of value, all profits are the rightful earnings of the workers, and when they are kept from the workers by capitalists, workers are simply being robbed. On the basis of this theory, Marx called for the elimination of profits, for workers to seize factories and for the overthrow of the "tyranny" of capitalism. His call to action has been heeded in many countries throughout the world.

With the following:

Here is what is wrong: corporate profits are up, but the incomes of middle-class families have declined for five straight years – unprecedented in a time of so-called ‘economic growth.’  People are working more productively than ever but their purchasing power is down.  The cost of everything from housing, to health care, to energy is making it harder than ever to make ends meet, tightening the middle-class squeeze.  The Dow is up, but people’s retirements are less secure than ever.

Pelosi's understanding of economics is flawed. She states that corporate profits are up and worker incomes are down. They are working harder, but being paid less. In essence, she is regurgitating the Labor Theory of Value. i.e. Capitalists are exploiting workers by stealing the surplus value of their work.

Americans know that our economy is going in the wrong direction for middle-class families.  Republicans have promoted the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the very few.  Democrats want an economy that allows many more Americans to participate in the prosperity of our country – to participate in the American Dream.

Yes, Pelosi is merely repeating marxist dogma.

Why is it that Democrats are always insisting that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer? Why do they believe that as long as Republicans are in control that the economy is going in the wrong direction? How is it that Democrats are always talking about how everything is getting worse for the people because the rich are robbing them-- indeed, where would they get such an idea that it's, "the result of choice, not chance?"

Marx predicted that competition among capitalists would grow so fierce that eventually most capitalists would go bankrupt, leaving only a handful of monopolists controlling nearly all production. This, to Marx, was one of the contradictions of capitalism: competition, rather than creating better-quality products at lower prices for consumers, in the long run creates monopoly, which exploits workers and consumers alike. What happens to the former capitalists? They fall into the ranks of the proletariat, creating a greater supply of labor, a fall in wages, and what Marx called a growing reserve army of the unemployed. Also, thought Marx, the anarchic, unplanned nature of a complex market economy is prone to economic crises as supplies and demands become mismatched, causing huge swings in business activity and, ultimately, severe economic depressions.

The more advanced the capitalist economy becomes, Marx argued, the greater these contradictions and conflicts. The more capitalism creates wealth, the more it sows the seeds of its own destruction. Ultimately, the proletariat will realize that it has the collective power to overthrow the few remaining capitalists and, with them, the whole system.

The entire capitalist system—with its private property, money, market exchange, profit-and-loss accounting, labor markets, and so on—must be abolished, thought Marx, and replaced with a fully planned, self-managed economic system that brings a complete and utter end to exploitation and alienation. A socialist revolution, argued Marx, is inevitable.

A New Direction?

Democrats are proposing a New Direction for America that works for all, not just the privileged few. First, as a matter of fairness, we will raise the minimum wage. The minimum wage has not been raised in nine years. Some of you were in the 6th grade the last time the minimum wage was raised.
Yes, the government is in a better position, after all, to make economic decisions for the millions of small businesses in America aren't they? Just another step on the way to a, "fully planned, self-managed economic system that brings a complete and utter end to exploitation and alienation".

Could it be that Democrats are stuck in an ideological rut?
Second, we will repeal current tax incentives that serve to export American jobs overseas. We propose an Innovation Agenda to create good paying jobs here at home.
Finally, we'll have a government willing to create jobs. Any BS detectors going off here? How does the government create jobs? Oh yeah... that planned economy thing.
Third, we will enact targeted tax cuts to spur economic growth and competitiveness for businesses to invest in research and development to promote energy independence, to keep tax rates low for middle-income families, and to make tuition more affordable for all of you.
More tax incentives. Just what people who file FormEZ can take advantage of.

The Democrat's New Direction is plainly a stale slab of warmed-over socialism pasted to a few twigs of catch phrases, affixed to a cheap tray, and garnished with thinly disguised New Deal rhetoric. Yummy.

Posted by Eric Simonson at December 2, 2006 2:55 AM
Comment #197384


“Yes, Pelosi is merely repeating marxist dogma.”

So what you’re saying is that James Truslow Adams, the man the coined the phrase, “The American Dream” was merely spouting Marxist dogma.
Wow, I never thought of it that way.

I guess you’re right.

It should take at least two paychecks to merely survive in this country.
That we should consider it a privilege to pay aprox. $220,000 for the average home in this country.

We should all consider ourselves lucky that we don’t live in China, where the average wage is 64 cents per hour, and that’s up 12%.

We should feel lucky when we go to the county hospital for medical care, because we can’t afford the house we live in, or the car we drive, or food we eat, or even the utilities, because the wages we make are going down, and the prices for all of these are going up.

I think it is incredibly magnanimous of the American corporations to ship jobs that were once held by American workers overseas, because in the long run, they are just spreading the wealth.

Don’t ya think?

Posted by: Rocky at December 2, 2006 7:22 AM
Comment #197385


I know you don’t believe this, but the liberals I know aren’t communists. Most haven’t read Marx; I don’t know of any who are sympathetic to the Soviet Union. Most also, like I do, know that capitalism has been the most successful engine for economic growth. The differences between the Democrats and Republicans are not as wide as you think. Most Republicans believe in some sort of safety net, for instance, to keep the bottom raised to a certain level. Sure, there are disagreements on what that level should be and some differences on how to achieve that goal, but fundamentally, they are not that wide. Generally when legislation passes, many legislators from the opposing side joins in.

You’ve written a serious post, and I believe now that you really believe what you’ve written. Let me point out what I think are the fallacies in your article.

1) First, you take the words of Pelosi and find some correspondence with the words of Marx. That would be like my taking some words of Pat Robertson and pointing out some correspondence with something in the Koran, and then using that to prove Robertson was a Muslim.

2) Second, you imply that Republicans do not do the types of things Pelosi is discussing. For example, the targeted tax cuts. She wants them to encourage investment in energy independence, help familes pay for college, etc. The Republicans do this too. Big oil, as you know, receives government breaks to encourage oil exploration and development. Perhaps you don’t agree with that, but if you don’t, you should post that. Your colleague, Jack, loves to propose higher oil taxes in order to make renewable energy sources more competitive with oil. If you disagree with that, you should say it. You would at least be consistent and not give the impression that you can only see the “sins” of the other side.

3) Your argument is heavily reliant on the belief that if Marx said something, it must be false. I am not a Christian, yet I find much in Christian scripture that I admire. Conservatives love to overstate how much Marx is taught in schools; the truth is, he hardly comes up. When I read Marx it was never in the context of economics or economic theory; it was always in the context of ideology. Studying how ideology works is not a political discussion in terms of taking political stances; it is entirely a discussion of how the assumptions of a culture lie deeply embedded in the citizens who live in the culture. At any rate, you are using Marx as a bogeyman. I love Plato, but you could never accurately call me a Platonist in the sense I buy into a World of Forms or believe that the Good is behind everything. I like him because he developed a tool for analysis — dialectic. It’s a tool that gives us power to construct arguments, but it’s not a tool that predetermines the content or result of those arguments. Using dialectic will not make you a Platonist anymore than analyzing ideology will make you a Marxist.

I don’t know anyone who believes in the Marxist utopia of a classless society with no controlling appartus of power. Curiously, especially in light of Jack’s recent article on how Republicans are more optimistic than Democrats, Marx was too optismistic about human nature. We humans find power hard to resist.

At any rate, in terms of economics or governance or most everything else, ideal states are impossible — I guess that is why they are ideal. Mixed government is what we have now — not pure democracy by any means. It seems to be the best we humans can do. By the same token, the economic policy of this country is mixed. No one really, I think, wants pure capitalism because we recognize that unfettered, it can be destructive and explotiative. No one wants pure communism, either, because we all want the means to improve our lot in life. (I say no one wants these things, but of course on the extremes of either side, you can find proponents; it’s the job of realists to combat the extremes of both sides.) We strive for a balance: capitalism with some socialist elements. What we disagree on is the exact mix of these elements.

Anyway, I really think you are worrying too much. Nothing radical is going to happen. Oh, the minimum wage might be raised a bit for the first time in many years, but that only affects a small, small fraction of the lowest-paid people. There is going to be no massive redistribution of wealth. The uber-rich in this country have no worries. I do hope the middle class gets a break; the Clinton child care deduction has helped me out a bit; like any parent with a kid in child care, I’ll get back two or three hundred or whatever it is. Nothing much, really, will change. These are politicians, of course, and that fact is far more important than their political party.

And now, time to make some coffee. I can’t believe you’ve got me posting before I drink my morning coffee.

Posted by: Trent at December 2, 2006 7:24 AM
Comment #197388

Very well said, Trent. This post is an ideal example of the drivel Eric posts; logical fallacies, guilt by association, words taken out of context, and hypocritically criticizing Democrats for behaviors common to both parties.

At least he’s not rambling about mind control this time. This is his normal type of post that shouldn’t be taken seriously for the normal reasons.

Posted by: LawnBoy at December 2, 2006 9:33 AM
Comment #197391

Lefties rejoice!
The Dems have taken over Congress and now everything will be better!
Reality check…
The Dems were just playing politics. Not much will change because they know current policies are working. Also, they are not going to pull us out of Iraq. The Dems are slowly going to try to own current policies and by the next election they will be taking all the credit.
One thing that will change is, the MSM now will report good news.

Posted by: JoeRWC at December 2, 2006 10:28 AM
Comment #197393


The media will report good news exactly to the extent it failed to go after Clinton. I’m sorry; I just can’t take arguments like that seriously. In the NYT the other day, I read an article critical of Hillary’s campaign spending. Yesterday I read an article in the NYT that essentially called Obrador, the leftist presidential candidate in Mexico who thinks the election was stolen from him, a “gadfly,” and discusses President-elect Calderon (a conservative) approvingly. It also contained an article that appeared to approve of new testing for immigrants seeking citizenship — instead of being asked how many stripes are on the flag, they will be asked what the stripes represent, for instance.

I read the NYT not because I think it is liberal, but because as far as daily newspapers go, it tells me more about the country and world than any other newspaper. I also listen to rightwing radio, but not, admittedly, for the same reasons.

Posted by: Trent at December 2, 2006 10:50 AM
Comment #197394

Lest we forget. Republicans, Democrats, Independents. They are all politicians and the most important thing to a politician is to get re-elected.

The American economy is so huge, huge, it is very difficult to make any change except in small increments.

Posted by: Donald at December 2, 2006 10:58 AM
Comment #197401

Amen, brother! The reason the Reps lost so many seats is because people were tired of them. They cant complain about their or their opponent’s campaign. People didnt listen they just voted for change. Even in NV, although they didnt win, two no-name candidates gave the incumbent Senator and Congressman a run for their money.
There are some freshman Democrats in Congress, that if they keep their promises, will be better for our country. Im all for VOIDing out the squabbling, do-nothing establishment.

Posted by: JoeRWC at December 2, 2006 11:40 AM
Comment #197402


Most liberal have not read Marx. Almost nobody reads Marx anymore. If fact, almost nobody ever did. We give Marx too much credit. The good things in Marx are not original and the original things are not good. A lot of times people can call Marxist what are just general ideas. You probably know that “seeds of its own destruction” thing comes from Polybius. The labor theory of value is just an old medieval idea that Marx dressed up as science.

I do not think liberals are communists. I do agree with Eric, however, that they tend to believe in the labor theory of value. Marx believed in this too, but it doesn’t belong to Marx. MOST people believe in a labor theory of value. It is not right, but it is easy to understand and not believing it is counterintuitive. This is another reason why the market beats the alternatives, BTW. It can handle the counterintuitive realities much better.

It is hard to understand that hours of hard work can be without value or that a decision that takes seconds to make could be worth a fortune, but that is how it really is.

Posted by: Jack at December 2, 2006 11:43 AM
Comment #197405

You may be right. Hopefully. But, I agree with the premise: Republicans were more concerned about retaining their seat (read power), than they were interested in actually governing. I think this is what the electorat saw, even at a subconcious level.

By the way….I am slightly to the right of Attila the Hun.


Posted by: Donald at December 2, 2006 12:19 PM
Comment #197408

Jack, you speak way too generally about Marx, and you use the same phrases you used the last time we crossed swords on this topic. Anyway, I’ve heard people dismiss Plato, Shakespeare, and Milton Friedman for the same reasons you dismiss Marx.

Posted by: Trent at December 2, 2006 12:38 PM
Comment #197412

This is the only economy that is going up during war. More jobs are created. Everybody is getting richer.

Communism is not the way to go. A McDonald’s toilet cleaner should earn less than a life-saving brain surgeon. If Communism, or “wealth redistribution” as the liberals call it, is so good, then why do people flee from these countries that have it. Humans take pride in their hard work. If you make everybody get the same pay for everything, then you are injuring the human spirit.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 2, 2006 1:05 PM
Comment #197414


Some people originate ideas. Others repackage. Most ideas are shared. Plato - most of Plato is OBEd today. But Plato was an orininator of ideas we developed. Can you live by Plato’s principles w/o updating? No. Is he worth reading? Yes. Shakespeare is a type of art. It is not in the same group as Marx. Friedman mostly repackaged, but he brought back important ideas.

The problem with Marx is that he bit off may more than the world could chew. He and his followers thought of it as science and that made them willing to tolerate great outrages. Then Marxism proved a very effective way for evil men to control large populations and placate intellectuals. It is almost the perfect storm of evil. Bad men can murder opponents AND feel they are doing good (or at least inevitiable) and they can still be praised by intellectuals.

I think people should read Marx. After a critical reading of the old fool, they will see how his ideas were so 19th century and inappropriate to any large society then or now.

Posted by: Jack at December 2, 2006 1:13 PM
Comment #197418

Jack, Marx is still relevant today because of his important contribution in understanding how the construction of a society influences the creation of subjects (understood as not only how we preceive ourselves but how we are able to perceive ourselves). That alone secures his place in history. He is a discourse creator, like Freud. One can say that the theories of Freud are no longer relevant, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that he changed the way we understand psychology.

Posted by: Trent at December 2, 2006 1:53 PM
Comment #197421


Marxism changed the way about 100 million people looked at the world. They saw it from under the ground.

It is always hard to assess someone who obviously affected history so much. But in the both the cases of Freud and Marx, I think there is a decent chance the world would be a better place today if they had never been born.

Both these guys created discourse around ideas that were fundamentally wrong and pernicious.

Think of all those poor people who were tortured with electric shocks and were told they wanted to have sex with their mothers to cure “mental” ailements that we now know are chemical. Freud is like those medieveal doctors bleeding thier patients. What they did eventually evolved into medicine, but I hesitate to credit them with it.

Marx is even worse. His theories were used for more than a century to create oppression. I can think of no Marxist society where I would want to live. Can you?

Posted by: Jack at December 2, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #197422

Marx saw what true capitalism could lead to. What he did not take into account was that humans would not, could not tolerate true capitalism in a democratic society.

What we have is a capitalist economic system that is regulated by the government. Some say to much regulation, others say to little. If we had a true capitalist system without government’s ability to intervene, then Marx would have been much closer to the truth.

It is very easy to explain wealth distribution when you compare a toilet cleaner to a brain surgeon but not so easy when you compare the brain surgeon to Paris Hilton. Obviously, in a capitalist system, Paris Hilton is far more productive and therefor worth more than a life saving brain surgeon.

Posted by: jlw at December 2, 2006 2:24 PM
Comment #197425


You are still calling names. “You are wrong.” You can’t be right because you are a Communist.” “What you say sounds a lot like what Karl Marx said, so obviously you are wrong.”

Do you call this logic? Of course not. But it does work to change the subject. All of a sudden you have people discussing Karl Marx and Communism. Was that your intent? Just link Pelosi to Communism and you will have done your damage for today to the Democratic Party. Maybe other Republicans will cheer.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at December 2, 2006 2:47 PM
Comment #197437


Marx defined the system. Yes, IF a system that Marx described existed, it probably would have been really terrible. But Marx understood little of the world outside his theories. He believed in these pure systms.


Marx was a creature of his time. He was a lot like Herber Spenser. Fortunatly, the followers of Spenser never took over a revolution. Had it not been for Lenin, Marx might be a harmless curiosity. But now that we saw what it lead to, we have the right to criticize Marxism from more than the intellectual angle.

BTW - however, I agree with you that Pelosi is not a Marxist. It is just that some of their ideas overlap. There are some decent ideas in Marx. It is just that Marx didn’t originate them.

Posted by: Jack at December 2, 2006 4:24 PM
Comment #197440

Marx and other social theorists were products and reactions to their times. Let’s not forget what conditions were like. Regardless, I assume you wouldn’t judge Christianity by the blood spilled in its name. Marx was no murderer, no matter what butchery others did in his name.

At any rate, the proper way to discuss someone like Marx or Marxism is for us all to agree to read a particular work and proceed from there. Without that necessary first step, we’re just going to lob generalities and half-truths at each other. I realize we won’t get that agreement here, so there’s no point in continuing.

Posted by: Trent at December 2, 2006 5:13 PM
Comment #197444

It’s amazing Eric that you are gonna actually claim that its the democrats who have the failed economic ideology….”Could it be that Democrats are stuck in an ideological rut?”

Not only do the facts conclusivly prove that the Republicans have the failed ideology but they also show that the Republicans consistantly want to put Capitalism (an economic system) above Democracy (a political system). The average connservative is spouting prrincipals far more fascist then democratic while the average liberal is spouting for more democracy NOT socialism or Marxism.

The coutries last 3 major depressions all occured after conservative led laissez-faire policies. The best economy we ever had occured after 30 years of democratic rule when a single worker in the 60’s/70’s was able to support his family and put his kids through college.

Clintons economy kicked the crud out of the current one.

The stock market has consistently done better under Democrats.


Other countries that have minimal labor laws, minimal taxation and minimal regulation include countries like Mexico, Peru, Columbia ect….
The Social-democracies of Europe have strong middle classes, strong economies, univeral health care and they take 6-8 weeks off a year.

Bottom line the republicans will give us an economy like Mexicos’s with consolidated wealth in a ruling elite class while the democrats will give us 6-8 weeks off, health care and a fair wage….and that’s through democratic principals NOT MARXIST.

Posted by: muirgeo at December 2, 2006 6:05 PM
Comment #197466

Pelosi a communist? Please. I don’t have a particularly high opinion of her but I still don’t buy that.

Neither true capitalism or true communism is a good idea. What is needed is some sort of blend. A safety net is needed…what the debate is about is how high to set that net. Put it this way. There are ten notches on the pole supporting the safety net…The tenth is the highest, the first is the lowest. Marx wanted the net at the tenth notch. Dems want it at or around oh…the 6th. Reps want it at or around the 4th or so. Not too much of a difference. Just because dems are closer to Marx doesn’t mean the believe him.

Posted by: Silima at December 2, 2006 8:39 PM
Comment #197470

My take on this? Both sides commit the mistake of reifying (or thinking of as real) the systems in question, as if they were discreet things we could categorize the way we do an animal species.

Truth is, both systems simply are emergent results of practices and beliefs, and not all of these practices or beliefs play out as promised.

Because these are labels applied to interpretations, its easy to get tied in knots chasing around labels, because people can be so negligent about how they apply them.

The real key is: look at what works and why. the good and wise courses of actions do not always bear labels cooperatively or fit in neat little definitions without busting a few seams.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 2, 2006 9:03 PM
Comment #197483


I understand why you might feel I am calling names, but really my point is that the left’s rheorical toolbox is heavily saturated by these theories.

Trent is quite right in saying most have never read Marx. Probably not. You don’t have to know where an idea came from to repeat it or believe it.

But shouldn’t the fact that liberal ideology and thus their policy options are informed by these theories?

Posted by: esimonson at December 2, 2006 11:40 PM
Comment #197487


1) First, you take the words of Pelosi and find some correspondence with the words of Marx. That would be like my taking some words of Pat Robertson and pointing out some correspondence with something in the Koran, and then using that to prove Robertson was a Muslim.

I agree with you but with this caveat: I would not consider Pelosi a communist. Heavily influenced by the ideology? Absolutely. But consciously a communist, like Cindy Sheehan and Medea Benjamin of Code Pink? No.

2) Second, you imply that Republicans do not do the types of things Pelosi is discussing. For example, the targeted tax cuts. She wants them to encourage investment in energy independence, help familes pay for college, etc. The Republicans do this too. Big oil, as you know, receives government breaks to encourage oil exploration and development. Perhaps you don’t agree with that, but if you don’t, you should post that…

Tax incentives are a moderated way for government to control the economy. At least it allows some choice. But, you are correct, I would prefer the curent tax system to be completely scrapped.

If you would believe it, I have the begining of a draft post praising one policy announced by Charles Wrangel. I should get that posted.

3) Your argument is heavily reliant on the belief that if Marx said something, it must be false. I am not a Christian, yet I find much in Christian scripture that I admire. Conservatives love to overstate how much Marx is taught in schools; the truth is, he hardly comes up. When I read Marx it was never in the context of economics or economic theory; it was always in the context of ideology. Studying how ideology works is not a political discussion in terms of taking political stances; it is entirely a discussion of how the assumptions of a culture lie deeply embedded in the citizens who live in the culture. At any rate, you are using Marx as a bogeyman. I love Plato, but you could never accurately call me a Platonist in the sense I buy into a World of Forms or believe that the Good is behind everything. I like him because he developed a tool for analysis — dialectic. It’s a tool that gives us power to construct arguments, but it’s not a tool that predetermines the content or result of those arguments. Using dialectic will not make you a Platonist anymore than analyzing ideology will make you a Marxist.

True. In fact, Plato can be sited for many of the ideas of Marx, such as a fully egalitarian society. The idealized golden age when supposedly every one lived in peace and had everything in common etc.

But it isn’t my point just to say that Marx is evil. Although he is. It’s not that folks are studying Marx and following him. No. My concern is that they are not studying Marx as Marx. Instead the ideas codified by Marx and subsequent Marxists are being taught but without any clue to the pedigree or source of some of the ideas. That’s the real danger.

Knowing where ideas came from and knowing what those ideas have wrought in the past…

When I link Pelosi to Marx I’m saying, Hey! Look at where these ideas came from. They’re dogmatic and demonstrably false.

Posted by: esimonson at December 3, 2006 12:05 AM
Comment #197488


I admit that I am never going to give Marx an even break. I have seen its results. Most movements have bad aspects, but they also have good ones. Marxism just doesn’t have those good points.

Posted by: Jack at December 3, 2006 12:09 AM
Comment #197489


As a freshman, I wrote a paper in which I said that Plato’s Republic was a precursor of communism. My professor ripped it to shreds. I now think he was right; the resemblance is superficial.

I appreciate your calm and thoughtful reply.


I blame Lenin for what Lenin did, just as I blame Stalin for what Stalin did. I think it’s clear that Marx would have said about their systems what he said in another context: If that’s Marxism, then I’m not a Marxist.

Posted by: Trent at December 3, 2006 12:22 AM
Comment #197491

Well Eric you seem to have given the impression that there is something wrong with FDR’s new deal and its socialist tweaking of our capitalist economic system. Taking the best of both seems to make sense for most Americans.
Especially after the past couple of decades of shrinking middle class income due to the trinkle on theory of economics espoused by the Reaganites the new deal economics looks damn good. Considering our other option is the banana republic approach to economics currently in vogue with the righties, I think a step towards the socialist policies that have proven to work so well is certainly justified.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 3, 2006 12:38 AM
Comment #197493

“Something is wrong with the picture Pelosi is painting here. That’s because it’s an old and discredited picture. It’s Karl’s picture in fact. ” Eric

Sorry Eric this is complete bolony on SO many levels.

People voting for leaders to increase minumum wage is not communism. Its democracy. People voting for leaders to structure a progressive tax is not communism. Its democracy. People voting for leaders to get univeral health care is not communism. Its democracy. People voting to get lobbyist out of the political process is not communism. Its democracy.

Companies using their power, their money and lobbyist to subvert the vote, to get prok riders attached to unrelated bills and to influence public policiy is NOT democracy….its Corporatism (which is basically fascism).

A congressman switching over to become a lobbyist for Phamra (the most powerful phameceutical lobby) then using his connections,power, aand money to basically write the Medicare prescription drug bill at the expense of the people and to the benifit of multinational corporations and their CEO’s is NOT democracy…it’s Corporatism.

(“Serious conflicts of interest on the part of the bill’s primary authors were common. The chairman of the Commerce Committee, Representative Billy Tauzin (R-La.), coauthored the bill while negotiating a $2-million-per-year job as a lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the drug industry’s trade organization.”)

How the conservatives turn a blind eye to this choosing insted to call liberals communist. When they are only wishing for democratic representation. And furtther conservatives go on making all sorts of excuses for why wealth is being transfered and consolidated to the already super wealthy at the expense of the working middle class IS BEYOND ME.

There is no doubt in my mind which side has a flawed, inconsistent and undemocratic ideology when it comes to how our economy and democracy should work.

Posted by: muirgeo at December 3, 2006 1:03 AM
Comment #197495

Since the Reagan “revolution” we have gone from a lender nation with billions (~ + $10 billion)in trade surpluses to a debtor nation of obscene proportion ( - $600 billion).

The national debt has went from 1 trillion to almost 9 trillion. (Almost all from Reagan and Bush W’s spending.

The debt to GDP ration has gone up from 30% when Reagan took over to now almost 70%.

The dollar teeters on the brink of collapse as does the housing market.

Americans for the first year since the Great Depression last year spent more then they saved.

And you have the nerve to suggest the Republicans/Conservatives are good for the economy???? The facts say you are absolutely wrong.

Posted by: muirgeo at December 3, 2006 1:20 AM
Comment #197502

Eric’s post talks about where Pelosi wants to take us and makes the case she is a socialist. Clearly she promotes big government but how much bigger can she make it when she’s going to SHRINK government?

So will she keep her promise to cut government spending? Will democrats balance the budget or will they EXPAND deficit spending. It’s hard to tell. but we can find a clue in the plans for the first 100 hours.

A part of her first 100 hours plan is NO NEW DEFICIt spending. No what does that mean? will she pass a bill that says we must pay as we go and allow no new deficit spending? Or will she later expand deficit spending and say her promise not to expand the deficit spending was only for the first 100 hours?

In 100 hours of congress action we will possibly have an answer as to if Pelosi and friends plan to balance the budget….or if they lied and are not going to be financially responsible. After all, nothing prevents them from reworking this years budget and balancing it….or moving it much much closer to balanced.

I’m suspicious that her “no no deficit spending” is merely a promise to maintain present levels of spending, present levels of deficit, and not balance anything.

Posted by: Stephen at December 3, 2006 8:36 AM
Comment #197503

Jesus advocated people giving all their wealth to the poor. Does that make him a communist, or the communists Christian?

The fact that Jesus advocated much of what you might call liberal or associate with communism should give you pause: ideas do not necessarily limit themselves to certain political movements.

Communism, as it developed under Stalin, has much in common with the Totalitarian Islamism that al-Qaeda hopes to spread, but it would be foolish to say that they are one and the same. One would destroy religion, while the other makes the law out of it. Similar confusion is caused by terms like Islamofascism, which asserts that the wide variety of theocracy, strong-man dictatorships, monarchies and aristocracies can be easily reduced to one political description, one political phenomenon, merely because all involve non-democratic governments over populations that are muslim. Islamofascism is one of the words that means nothing but falls off the tongue easily. It badly misleads, though. There are differences of religion(Saudi Arabia to Iran, Iraq within itself, of attitudes towards religion (compare the theocracy of Iran with the secular socialism of Syria or Egypt), of language (Persian Vs. Kurdish Vs. Turkish vs. Arabic), of ethnicity, among other things. Ignoring these faultlines is unwise. They help determine the character of the responses that you might get.

Similarly with Democrats. Calling them leftist is both an oversimplification and misleading. There’s a strong centrist component to American politics, and the Democrats have the strongest support in it. Socialism immediately strikes you as being just like Marxism, but you forget that there was more than one variety of it with more than one set of attitudes of what government social programs could do. Marxism is particularly aggressive about industry where Christian socialism wasn’t. Christians following the social gospel would advocate things like social security, medicare and other entitlements not on the basis of what some German in England said in the mid-1800s, but instead on what some itinerate Jew said almost 2000 years before him.

The value of the approach of this kind of political broadbrush theatre, where everything that even resembles something else is broadbrushed as being exactly that is that makes for fairly strong language and strong beliefs. The problem is, such ideology often throws the baby out with the bathwater, and precludes limited application of what might be helpful programs and initiatives. The communist systems that have survived have made their peace with a limited amount of capitalism. The ones that have perished are those that have failed to do this.

Ideological purity will not save us, because ideologies represent hopes and dreams rather than realities that will weed out the bad from the good.

The value of the market economy is that it allows such a weeding out to occur. However, if too few players in an industry survive, no such weeding out occurs, and the quality of goods and services go down as the price goes up. Look at energy deregulation, and you’ll see precisely that. The market can’t survive on purity. there must be some elements that are not determined by competitive forces, but rather by certain ethics, certain needs, and certain rules of law.

Democrats have learned to be less ideological about economics, more pragmatic. I think the Republicans should learn this too. Americans want a free economy, but they do not want it free to destroy their lives, aside from the economic choices they might make.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 3, 2006 8:52 AM
Comment #197505

Stephen Daughterty: If you keep this up, we might have to nominate you for President. Are you old enough?

Posted by: jlw at December 3, 2006 9:30 AM
Comment #197506

I am not a bible scholar, but I do know a few things. Jesus believed in charity. He taught people how to fish instead of just giving them fish. God helps those who help themselves.
Jesus is sometimes compared to a hippie because of his calm, kind demeanor, but he was no liberal.

Posted by: JoeRWC at December 3, 2006 10:55 AM
Comment #197507

Democrats are to Marxism as Republicans are to Fascism.

Posted by: ElliottBay at December 3, 2006 11:03 AM
Comment #197510

I’m suspicious that her “no no deficit spending” is merely a promise to maintain present levels of spending, present levels of deficit, and not balance anything.

Posted by: Stephen at December 3, 2006 08:36 AM

The problem here is you don’t have the luxury of being suspicious of Pelosi and the Democratic parties motives. They have consistently shown themselves to be the party of fiscal responsibility and have had more balanced budgets and it it the Republicans who have been rip roaringly irresponsible with your money.

Increasing taxes to help pay for programs that actually help Americans and stimulate the economy is what democrats do. Republicans tell you they are giving you a tax cut when in fact all they are doing is borrowing from your children simply to transfer more and more wealth to their donors, robber barons and war profiteers. While at the same time useful government services and projects are cut.

Posted by: muirgeo at December 3, 2006 11:17 AM
Comment #197512


The American Heritage dictionary defines fascism as:
A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

This is more simlar to what the neo-libs, aka kossacks, believe.
1. Big Government
2. Redistribution of Wealth
3. Political Correctness
4. Racial Quotas

You are going to have to find a better analogy.

Posted by: JoeRWC at December 3, 2006 11:19 AM
Comment #197516

JoeRWC, and what planet have you been on the last 6 years? Throw in corporatism into your definition and you have the repubs in the Congres, Senate and Administration the last 6 years to a T.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 3, 2006 11:41 AM
Comment #197517

About the super-rich getting richer and leaving middle-income families further behind—
The super-rich will always be able to afford a new taxes, new regulations, and restrictions the left levies. “I used to make 100 million dollars a year, but ever since the Dems took over, I find myself only taking home 95 million dollars a year.” Aaawh, poor baby.
New gas taxes, though, can affect middle-income families severely. Everyone’s heard all the complaints about higher gas prices. A middle-income family that relies on a yearly refund to support it’s budget shortcomings, would be devastated to find out they now have to pay.
The Dems are not looking out for the little guy.

Posted by: JoeRWC at December 3, 2006 11:47 AM
Comment #197518


Not my definfition. American Heritage dictionary definition. I cant throw anything into the definition like lefties trying to insert “definitions” into the constitution.

I agree that it would fit the Senate to a T, the last 6 or so years.

Posted by: JoeRWC at December 3, 2006 11:52 AM
Comment #197523

Wikipedia states the definition as “a radical political ideology that combines elements of corporatism, authoritarianism, nationalism, militarism, anti-liberalism and anti-communism” JoeRWC so I think ElliottBay had it right and I think you could add the repubs in Congress and most definelty the current Administration back into the T. So goes the illusion of inserting definitions into the constitution by the lefties.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 3, 2006 12:10 PM
Comment #197526

The bible contains not one instance of Jesus teaching anybody to fish. Check if you don’t believe me. It does contain a rather famous examples of him multiplying a few loaves and fishes to feed thousands of hungry audience members for free.

The phrase “God helps those who help themselves” is not in the bible. What are in the bible are calls to help the hungry, the poor, those imprisoned, among other unfortunates. He makes it clear that those who don’t do this aren’t getting into heaven. In essence: God helps those who help others. Sure, helping people to stand on their own two feet qualifies, but just giving to people without expectation of reward or the expectation of their getting back on their feet qualifies as Christian, too.

I think your views on what is Christian have been influenced in part by what it Conservative. Be careful about that. The World, Conservative, Liberal, or otherwise, can have a wearing effect on good religious principles. Witness Pat Robertson calling for the cold blooded murder of a world leader.

As for your opinion about what the new liberals believe? I think you you had to bend and break a few analogies to stuff things in there. Let’s start from the end and work to the beginning

Racial Quotas: they may not necessarily do the job right, in my view, but they certainly do not represent racism. Did you know that the phrase reverse discrimination first pops up in White Supremacist literature? The accusation of racism here reflects an unwillingness to consider that whites are getting more than their fair share of the jobs in many of these situations. Personally, I don’t like quotas, but I do think a tie-goes-to the runner system is a good idea. Qualifications should be the first and foremost means of determining who gets employed at a job.

Political Correctness- This is the essentially dead horse that some on the Right are quite happy to keep on beating. In a time when South Park, Mind of Mencia, and the Farrelly Brothers make good money, and even Liberals make jokes with PC terminology, it’s more mythological beast than living monster.

I think the concept that political correctness is blurring needed distinctions is basically a bludgeon for some on the right to beat their prejudiced picture of Muslims into people’s minds, implying that they’re in denial if they don’t see all people who don’t conform to their vision of cooperativeness as evil.

Redistribution of Wealth- Another scare tactic hiding under scholarly language. Republicans love to say that Government spending is taking their money, a tactic that nicely dissociates Americans from the government they elect, that taxes on the rich are redistribution of wealth.

What you’re ignoring is the fact that such redistribution of wealth is built into the system. That is in fact wealth’s purpose. The economy is an engine for it. It naturally redistributes more to some than to others. Most Democrats, you will find, have no objection to that. That’s why we didn’t hold Kerry accountable for having millions. They’re willing to assume more the burden, having enjoyed more of the benefits. Conservatives, though, seem to favor policies that give more to people who have already given much, essentially redistributing wealth more to those who already have more, while doing little to maintain equitable rises across the board.

We’re not for confiscating all the money of the wealthy, not by a long shot. I personally plan on being rich one day. If that means higher taxes, there’s a very easy thing we can do there: Make more money. Personally, I’m for people making more money. I just want it to be more across the board. The executive should not grant himself raises he says the company is too strapped for cash to grant to employees down the line. They especially shouldn’t do it if they’ve cut people’s jobs. This should not be an economic aristocracy here.

Big Government- This term has no solid definition to argue from. It’s another boogeyman to scare the little children. Some wouldn’t be satisfied, they claim, until everything is rolled back to 1900s levels. Others would be satisfied with much more than that.

Liberals like myself would like to see the virtues of efficient government and low tax bills combined with effective governance and appropriate funding and manning of the agencies.

Most of the moderate supporters of our party are willing to compromise on the size of government hence pay as you go.

Ultimately the problem is, you don’t have all that fine grain of an appreciation for what liberals really think; your buying of the propaganda gets in the way.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 3, 2006 12:23 PM
Comment #197529

So wikipedia is the end-all for all research?
As I understand it, wikipedia is a consortium of definitions provided by anyone logging on. Maybe, I’ll add that Mussolini and Bugs Bunny sat down together and came up with the whole idea.

The Columbia Encyclopedia defines fascism as-

(făsh´ĭzm) , totalitarian philosophy of government that glorifies the state and nation and assigns to the state control over every aspect of national life.

If you dont like it, write your complaints to the aformentioned sources.

Posted by: JoeRWC at December 3, 2006 12:38 PM
Comment #197531

I am really having a hard time seeing how Big Business is helping Americans in this day and age. Walmart? I used to go the local hardware store. I knew the people that owned it, I would buy something, lets say a hammer. That hammer was 12.00. It was made here in the USA by some guy that tried to make good hammers not just good profits. Unless I lost that hammer, I would never need to purchase a new one. Now I go to walmart, I buy a hammer made in China or Brazil by some guy that works for a guy that works for a guy that makes big, big profits. I pay 4.00 for this hammer. I use it for a year or 2 and and I have to replace it. Walmart does not offer me the quality hammer because they cannot make the 300% profit on it. In the long run, is big business really lowering the cost of my hammer? I hate where we have arrived in this country. People need to become involved in their lives. Why do you have to take a test to drive yet any uninformed person can vote?


Posted by: JayTea at December 3, 2006 12:39 PM
Comment #197532

JoeRWC its not a matter of liking it, its well… fascism just isnt fascism without corporatism, sorta like a peanut butter sandwich needs jelly to be a PBJ.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 3, 2006 12:53 PM
Comment #197535


My beliefs are Catholic, maybe not taken directly from the bible.
Im happy to see the recent breakdown of PC. I have been a lont time fan of Carlos Mencia (yeah, I know, before it was cool). I like his comedy and his philosophy (maybe, the same thing).
I admit to not fully understanding liberals, but I can predict their behavior 99% (Kehloe decision, what?).
My definition of “liberal,” is way better than any liberal definition of “conservative” (see fascism above).

Posted by: JoeRWC at December 3, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #197541

My Beliefs are Catholic, too. I am from a Catholic family, and was confirmed as one. Given Catholicism’s stated attitudes towards giving to the poor, Those beliefs are probably influence by an outside culture. As for being able to predict liberal’s behavior, you already failed to nail the average liberal’s position. The truth value of a prediction is important to understand its accuracy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 3, 2006 1:51 PM
Comment #197547


Lets say that I can predict that a bear will poop on a Chevy Corvette. I wont understand why he wont do it in the woods or why it chooses that particular car, but if I predict it every time, that makes me very accurate.

Posted by: JoeRWC at December 3, 2006 2:33 PM
Comment #197548

JoeRWC, if you read closer you will find that repubs from the Congress Senate and Administration of the last 6 years, not conservatives,were mentioned by me. BTW we were defining fascism not conservatism. In fact you were the one to define neo-liberals as fascist.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 3, 2006 2:34 PM
Comment #197554


Please point to one single democratic controlled congress in our life time that passed a balanced budget. Not one. And that’s part of my point. Democrats have a long history of NEVER passing a blanced budget when they are in controll of congress.

Now, you claimed they do and I’m going to quote you directly…your so called facts about democrats: “They have consistently shown themselves to be the party of fiscal responsibility and have had more balanced budgets and it it the Republicans who have been rip roaringly irresponsible with your money.”

….please give me the year in which that happened, in which a democratic controlled congress passed a balanced budget. Just give me one single budget in one single year that the democrats controled congress and balanced the budget. I say it never happened. surely since you KNOW they did it you can prove it?

I’m waiting, muirgeo .

Please, don’t INVENT your so called “FACTS”. The republicans did it under Newet when they controled the congress….when did the democrats do it? Never my friend…you are being dishonest with us, inventing your “facts”.

Posted by: Stephen at December 3, 2006 3:26 PM
Comment #197597

I have to admit it - I’m rich.

Yes, I got richer under Bush.

However, I got stinkin rich under Clinton. Plus, my tax advisors take me too their sporting events, dinners, etc. because I’m such a good client.

I love the Dems (though I vote Repub) - it just lets me relish in rubbing their nose in my wealth which I can shield all day long with just a few extra bucks for the right tax consultants.

You “poor” Dems - nothin gonna change after 4-8 years of Dem rule, you’ll still be poor and I’ll still be rich.

Posted by: echop8triot at December 3, 2006 10:09 PM
Comment #197601

And ya sound rich in character, too!

Posted by: Trent at December 3, 2006 10:53 PM
Comment #197606


The Democratically controlled 81st, 84th and 86th Congresses presided over budgets that actually decreased the public debt.

Posted by: muirgeo at December 3, 2006 11:59 PM
Comment #197608


Yep we liberals like making money as well. This is well recognized by a quick look at average incomes which shows us Blues states trouncing the Red states on personal income stats.

Posted by: muirgeo at December 4, 2006 12:06 AM
Comment #197663


I must give you credit. You have done something no one else on these boards has done. You found data that goes back far enough, apparently, to find a democratic congress that balanced a budget?

What was that? About 50 years ago? We have had many decades of democrats who have not balanced budgets…so many that no one remembers a Democratic congress that did balance a budget.

So when you preach about how wonderful democrats are and how many budgets they they have balanced…..keep in mind that there hasn’t been a democratic congress to balance a budget in a generation….they have been taxers, spenders, and deficit creators.

Now, will Pelosi break the mold? I doubt it. I expect her to raise taxes, spend, and never create a balanced budget.

Posted by: Stephen at December 4, 2006 2:47 PM
Comment #197672


The problem with relying on factoids is that they often tell an incomplete picture. It is true that Democract-controlled Congresses haven’t produced a balanced budget in recent decades. And it is true that in the latter years of the Clinton presidency with the Republican Congress we did have balanced budgets. Overall, though, neither party has been great about producing balanced budgets. The Republican Congress under Bush didn’t, and the cause wasn’t primarily the Iraq War.

A good question to ask is why a Republican controlled Congress under Clinton could produce balanced budgets but the Republican Congress under Bush couldn’t. I’d think it was because of Bush’s large tax cuts. If you want to argue that the Republicans under Clinton controlled spending than the Republicans under Bush, you’d get no argument from me.

Posted by: Trent at December 4, 2006 5:11 PM
Comment #197677


I went back and reread some of your links. It might surprise you to know that I think David L. Prychitko is esentially correct. Marx, of course, did use, along with, much earlier, Adam Smith, a labor theory of value that we no longer believe. He also extended it to try to account for surplus labor value.

The mistake you make, however, is taking some lines from Pelosi about an actual verifiable fact and tease out a similarity between them and Marx’s theory. Let me put this another way. If someone says that objects fall at different speeds because they weigh different amounts, and then someone else says that an anvil falls faster than a feather, the latter statement while true has nothing to do with the theory of another person.

In your first quote of hers, for example, Pelosi said the super-rich are getting richer and that the middle class is getting squeezed. Economic figures supporting this statement have been posted on these boards many times. My question is, is pointing to a verifiable fact the same as supporting any particular theory? And, as I and no doubt others noticed, you did not dispute the factual nature of what she is claiming; you merely said that it sounds like Marxism to you. Pelosi is not advocating massive redistribution of wealth; she is not advocating revolution. She, my friend, is not a Marxist.

What is her remedy? Incredibly modest, compared to the dire picture you paint. Raise minimum wage a bit for the first time in many years. Repeal some tax incentives. It’s fine to disagree with those steps if you wish, but it is overstating to call that Marxism. That’s a scare tactic.

You’re a bright guy, Eric, and I haven’t quite decided if you realize what you are doing or not. I realize that it may be giving ammunition to the enemy to say this, but you really would be more persuasive if you toned down the rhetoric.

Posted by: Trent at December 4, 2006 6:11 PM
Comment #197680


I think a better question is will the democratic congress produce a balanced budget. One “factoid” is they have a 50 year or so history of NOT doing so. But I still have hope, even if it’s very very little hope.

What I want from both parties is a balanced budget. The Republicans know they screwed that up and acknowledge thats part of the reason they were defeated…they wondered away from one of the key issues that helped them sweep a tax and spend, deficit democratic party out of office. Well, the democrats are back….are they the same old deficit spenders they have been for a generation or two…..or will we see something new from them?

They have promised no additional deficit spending but what does that mean? Does it mean present levels of deficit creation will continue? Does it mean they will stop all deficit spending and balance the budget? What does this promise Pelosi made for the first 100 hours mean and how long is it good for? Will they create now new deficit spending in the first 100 hours then spend like crazy? We have no clue, except to look at history “factoids” like the fact that they haven’t balanced a budget when they were in control for 50 years.

Posted by: Stephen at December 4, 2006 6:27 PM
Comment #197681


Another factoid you may want to take into account when trying to give credit to Democrats for the Budget the Republicans balanced under Newt G is that it was Newt G’s bill. Clinton in fact submitted a deficit spending budget and was angry at Newt for insisting on a balanced budget. Clinton indicated that Newt was just balancing the budget to defeat some of Clintons campaign spending promises. Of course, after his complete moral collapse…Clinton and his followers were left clinging to Newts balanced budget giving Clintion credit for it. Not likely, that the balanced budget that helped the Republicans defeat the democrats…that was Newts Contract with America that democrats spit on and declared was a “contract on America”. Now they want to take credit for part of it that went into effect and worked!

To Clintons credit…after 6 months of fighting Newt on this he agreed to sign off on it. But it’s the Republican party that was out of power for decades that won back the congress by promising (and delivering) a balanced budget. And it’s the Republican party that wandered away from those balanced budgets and has been punished by the voters.

So now we are back to the Democrats who haven’t balanced a budget in the life time now of only the elderly. Generations have come on and NEVER seen a Democratic Controled congress balance the budget.

I’m hoping that for the good of the nation, this democratic congress is different than all the democratic controlled congresses that came before it.

But to be honest….they aren’t talking about balanced budgets anymore and I suspect they not only will not balance any budgets….they never intended to.

Posted by: Stephen at December 4, 2006 6:36 PM
Comment #197690


$4,500,000,000,000 dollar of public debt accumulated by a Republican controlled government in just 6 years suggest we give Pelosi a chance…No?

BTY: (much of that debt didn’t even go for the needs of the country or its people…much went to pork, robber barons and war profiteers).

Anyone who voted for more of the same in the last election is completly ridiculous.

Posted by: muirgeo at December 4, 2006 7:36 PM
Comment #197691

Stephen, if the Democrats don’t at least make strides toward a balanced budget then I will seriously consider voting independent. The best thing the Democrats can do for this country right now is to restore some fiscal sanity.

If you look at the deficits under Clinton before the Republican congress, you can see them steadily decreasing. He inherited huge deficit spending, of course.

I’m trying to write this without spin. What I really think is that is was a combination of Clinton and the Republican Congress that enabled us to finally hit a surplus in the last years of the 20th Century. Republicans forced a downward pressure on spending, and Clinton held the line on big tax cuts. If Clinton had continued to have a Democratic congress, then who knows? That combination did lead to decreased deficits and apparently started the downward trend.

I think when one party controls both branches, there’s no one to say no. That combined with the fact that Bush Jr. isn’t really a fiscal conservative led to the massive increases in government spending we’ve seen during his administration.

What I fervently hope is that the Democrats realize that controlling the budget now is a historic chance for them to not only do good for the country but also to change the public’s perception of them as big spenders. We will see.

At any rate, I am serious — if the Dems screw up now, then I will be looking for a third party to call home.

Posted by: Trent at December 4, 2006 7:40 PM
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