Old Envy Dog Bites The Hands That Feed It

The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is an old dog from the War on Poverty. Congress sicced the beast on a few rich guys in 1969. The motive was envy, but nimble fat cats dodge envy dogs. Kennedy, Kohl, Kerry & Rockefeller and their country club buddies rarely pay ATM, but next year millions of middle class Americans will - more each year.

Who gets stuck? Many small businesses and two income households with kids have been pushed into AMT territory. The ATM will likely snag two teachers with three kids and a big mortgage if they live in a high income area of the country, which tend to be bluer. This explains why this is one tax cut some Democrats like. Only a Democrat could think of not rasing taxes as a tax cut, but that is another story.

AMT was supposed to be a soak the rich man tax, but inflation pushed it well into the middle class. (Soon we will all be millionaires.) In a few years it will reach even the poor. Oh, the perils of the politics of envy. Politicians target the rich, but end up biting everybody else. Maybe that is why a lot of prominent rich people do not object to high taxes. This year will be a tipping point. The number of people affected by AMT will rise from 3.5 million to 23.5 million if nothing is done.

It is ironic justice that one of the most neddlesome tasks facing the new Democratic Congress is the AMT. The fact that it is well off Dems in blue states who are leading victims of this stealth tax increase enhances the irony.

A fix is getting harder every year. Budget projection already figured in the tax increases from the new AMT payers. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, holding the number of AMT payers constant (i.e. not raising taxes) would "cost" around $50 billion. Even a complete repeal of the Bush tax cut on the rich (top two brackets) would raise only $40 billion. So much for Paygo. The 27-year-old dog is about to chew on Dems and their new Ways & Means Chairman Charlie Rangel.

Sorry Charlie.

Dems have had an easy time over the last 12 years. They will soon find be reminded that doing is harder than criticizing. Rangel should know. He was elected in 1970, only one year after the AMT was enacted. Some problems are tougher to solve than talk about.

Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of envy but remember that the beast is always hungry and has a will of its own.

Posted by Jack at December 9, 2006 1:54 PM
Comments
Comment #198479

All these tax problems could be resolved with some simple, common-sense simplifications to the existing system (which has been perverted over the years for numerous nefarious reasons).

That should provide plenty of federal revenues with only about 6% cut in federal spending (e.g. cut some pork-barrel, waste, and corporate welfare).

But, that, and many other issues hashed and rehashed, over and over, will never occur as long as voters keep rewarding and empowering irresponsible incumbent politicians by repeatedly re-electing them.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 9, 2006 2:49 PM
Comment #198482
Kennedy, Kohl, Kerry & Rockefeller and their country club buddies rarely pay ATM…

Don’t you Republicans have anything else to offer besides envy, resentment, and class warfare? ;)

Posted by: Woody Mena at December 9, 2006 4:00 PM
Comment #198483

Woody

I just like to point out that the attempts to get the fat cats ends up getting the ordinary cats and it is just coincidental that some of the cats licking up the most creme are Dems. I think lots of Dems like to think of themselves are representing the little guy.

Posted by: Jack at December 9, 2006 4:08 PM
Comment #198484

I’ve paid $6,000 in AMT the last 2 years.

So tell me which party does the President of the last 6 years belonged to? Tell me which party was basically in control of the House and Senate the last 6 years. Now tell me why NOTHING was done by are Republican controlled Government to help the middle class out with this issue?

Posted by: muirgeo at December 9, 2006 4:17 PM
Comment #198485

Here are all the bills introduced to this REPUBLICAN lead committees to repeal the AMT that have been sent down a black hole never to see the light of day for a vote on the floor of the senate.

Watch what these guys do not what they say.

I have far more faith the new congress will address this issue unlike the filthy Republicans who have met less days then any other congress since even the “Do nothing Congress” of 1948. And now they are leaving tons of bills and work undone just to try and make things hard for the incoming Democratic lead congress.

Seriously these guys are despicable!!

Posted by: muirgeo at December 9, 2006 4:28 PM
Comment #198489

Boy, is this article way off the mark.

Money is power. And in a democracy, no one should have so much power that the laws and principles no longer apply to them. Taxes are a method in which everyone reaping the rewards of the good life from this society are required to pay for the costs of protecting and defending that good life.

The AMT was the method to insure that the wealthiest did pay their share, instead of nothing at all, which was the case at the time. The principle is still very sound. The AMT floor and ceilings and contextual applications need tweaking to bring into alignment with modern conditions, is all.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 9, 2006 5:25 PM
Comment #198490

muirgeo

It is more a Dem problem and maybe it is despicable, but it is darn good strategy. Usually Dems oppose tax cuts. You can imagine if Republicans had pushed this, the Dems would have demanded some other tax hikes. Republicans would get the blame for a tax rise and no credit for a tax cut (since many of those about to be hit by the tax are blissfully unaware).

This particular tax bites harder in Democratic precincts, where cost of living, incomes & local taxes tend to be higher. Many of those claiming they want to raise taxes will get their way. The Dems are under more pressure to address the problem. When they do, they will get the same as they would have given the Republicans.

So now the Dems have a chance to do something. I am amused by their predicament. An earlier attempt to soak the rich comes back. The term hoisted on their own petards comes to mind.

Posted by: Jack at December 9, 2006 5:28 PM
Comment #198491

David

This tax is as close as you can come to a bill of attainder as you can come within Constitutional bounds. If someone is using the usual laws to lower his tax burden, maybe you need to change the usual laws. To aim at one group is a problem, no matter who.

Posted by: Jack at December 9, 2006 5:32 PM
Comment #198492


Cry havoc is what we will all be doing soon. George Bush isn’t done with us yet. Wait till his recession hits us. We will be out of Iraq before we are out of the recession.

Jack: I am glad you pointed out that not only will we have to repeal the Bush tax cuts on the top two brackets, we will have to raise their rate and cut out their loop holes to help get this country back on stable economic ground.

Your president and your worthless Congress have left us in one hell of a fix.

Posted by: jlw at December 9, 2006 5:55 PM
Comment #198493

This is the third red column article in a row that mentions dogs in the title. You guys just having fun?

Posted by: Wulf at December 9, 2006 6:00 PM
Comment #198495

The AMT is class discrimination. I pay it, so why doesn’t the man in the trailer home on the other side of town pay it? The upper and middle classes are holding America together. Success shouldn’t be penaltized. Stop the Communism!

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 9, 2006 6:05 PM
Comment #198496

jlw

We tax about right now. Revenues are at record levels. We need to cut spending. I agree that the Republicans spent too much and did not address entitlements. Let’s see if Dems do better.

Wulf

I wrote two of the three dog articles. I did it on purpose because I thought it was fun. No other reason. I made the metaphors stick

My initial metaphor for this article was an unexploded bomb.

Posted by: Jack at December 9, 2006 6:09 PM
Comment #198497

Stubborn Conservative now thinks we live under communism despite 12 years of progressively more and more Republican rule. That’s a laugh!

I assume his position is to stop taxes and let the country go undefended, unregulated, the laws unenforced, you know, general Libertarian anarchy. Sounds good on paper until the papers run red with blood.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 9, 2006 6:11 PM
Comment #198500


Jack: I liked the dog and fleas title. When I first saw it, I thought you were writing about Bush and the neocons. Cheney, Pearl, Bolton, etc. hopping around with ther heads on flea bodies.

Posted by: jlw at December 9, 2006 6:51 PM
Comment #198503

I assume his position is to stop taxes and let the country go undefended, unregulated, the laws unenforced, you know, general Libertarian anarchy. Sounds good on paper until the papers run red with blood.

Posted by: David R. Remer


Exactly right David,

These guys hate all the Mexicans and Hispanics coming to our country illegally but what they don’t seem to understand is that they are coming from governments run the way they want our own country to be run.

Let’s look at how Mexico is a conservatives dream come true.

Single party rule……….check
Laissez Faire economy….check
Wealthy elite ruling class…..check
Minimal taxation….check
No social safety net…..check
Minimal regulation….check
Rampant political corruption….check
Concentrated wealth…..check
Large gap between rich and poor……..check
Abortion illegal……check
Underfunded education system…..check
Underfunded infrastructure….check
Small middle class…….check
High per cent living below the poverty level…..check


Yep! Left to their own the Republicans will solve the illegal immigration problem by making our country look just as bad as theirs.

Posted by: muirgeo at December 9, 2006 8:06 PM
Comment #198506

muirego

If you think the government of mexico does not regulate and interfere with business, you have never been there and if you have been there, you saw nothing.

It had single party rule - by the left wing group - until election before last.

The problem with Latin America generally has been much too little economic freedom. That is why they remained poor for so long and why they have some of those other problems you mention.

So Mexico is what you get when liberal government control is the norm and it has made the most progress when it has pulled away. NAFTA has helped. The government still gets about 30% of its revenue from state owned companies (thing energy firms etc). By contrast, the U.S. gets about 3% (think Post Office etc).

Posted by: Jack at December 9, 2006 8:29 PM
Comment #198515

Pretty funny, Jack, ascribing envy to the Democrats while tossing around words like “fat cats” yourself. Funny. Even, dare I say, ironic?

Posted by: Trent at December 9, 2006 9:38 PM
Comment #198518
I just like to point out that the attempts to get the fat cats ends up getting the ordinary cats and it is just coincidental that some of the cats licking up the most creme are Dems. I think lots of Dems like to think of themselves are representing the little guy.

Licking up the creme = keeping their own money?

For pete’s sake, Jack, I thought you were a conservative. You sound like Ralph Nader.

If these wealthy guys don’t pay the AMT, it’s probably because the pay more than the AMT. It’s supposed to be a minimum, right?

Posted by: Woody Mena at December 9, 2006 10:27 PM
Comment #198519

Let see so Kerry, Kennedy, and other Dem’s didn’t pay. Mmmmh I didn’t see regan, bush, cheney, rumsfield in that list. So Jack you are say that those republicans paid everything they were suppose to. Just like Haliburton got the no bid contract in Iraq because they were the best and only one that could do it. How much have they overcharged US, and how much of that went to cheney and bush.

Posted by: kt at December 9, 2006 10:31 PM
Comment #198522

Jack

“Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of envy but remember that the beast is always hungry and has a will of its own.”

Great quote Jack. Is it yours or borrowed?

Personally as far as I am concerned the time is long ovredue for a complete overhaul of the tax system. It is just too complex and tends to favor those with money to waste. Michael Smith had a post a while back about the Fair tax act. It looked to me like it has a lot of promise and would eliminate all the complex tax code.

Of course the dems will have a tough time trying to raise money for their programs. It will take decades to straighten out the financial mess this do nothing Congress has created. Plus the republicans in their last efforts did everything they could to make life as difficult as possible when the new session starts. Just more of the same old republican crap. Putting the needs of the party before the needs of the people. A bit vindictive if you ask me. Sore losers maybe?

Looks like it is time for the dems to break out the choke chains and tame those hungry beasts.

Posted by: ILdem at December 9, 2006 11:04 PM
Comment #198524

By the way, the AMT was introduced in 1969. So we can apparently thank Richard Nixon.

Truthfully, envy really was his bag…

Posted by: Woody Mena at December 9, 2006 11:28 PM
Comment #198525

“Yep! Left to their own the Republicans will solve the illegal immigration problem by making our country look just as bad as theirs.”

hear, hear!

“NAFTA has helped.”

ha! what a joke.

“You can imagine if Republicans had pushed this, the Dems would have demanded some other tax hikes. Republicans would get the blame for a tax rise and no credit for a tax cut…”

the dems could have issued all the demands they wished… but they were utterly ineffectual, and the reps would have dismissed them (as they did every other time).

but seriously; i think you chose the wrong profession. you should have been a comedian.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 9, 2006 11:40 PM
Comment #198526


I guess we really can’t call them the do nothing Congress. They did plenty for the wealthy and those right below them. Perhaps we should call them the screw 90% of the People Congress. They screwed our economy, they screwed us in Iraq and now they have skipped town leaving a great big mess behind.

I have heard Jack call many countries evil. As far as I am concerned, there is an evil cloud hanging over this country and it is constantly getting bigger. The greedier those at the Top get, the more disgruntled those below them get.

Posted by: jlw at December 9, 2006 11:50 PM
Comment #198527

This should be a clue to people that that tax-code is a mess.

The thing is, why tax at all?

OK, before you say it is crazy, think about this.
The Fed and government already print hundreds of billions of new (M1) money every year. The Fed and government use that to toy with inflation rates (mostly to create inflation), interest rates, and keep us all running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to find someplace to avoid the erosion of their hard earned money.

So, if the Fed and government can print all the money they want, then why tax at all ?

Why not avoid all of that paperwork and problems of tax law enforcement ?

Why print money, try to loan it to everyone possible, and then take back part of it in taxes ?

It all appears very inefficient. Especially since the tax code has become so ridiculously perverted and costly. Entire multibillion dollar industries exist merely to calculate and evade taxes. Wouldn’t it be better if those millions of people had more useful things to do ?

Wouldn’t every dollar printed (instead of collected in taxation) cost everyone more evenly ?

And it would minimize the current shifted-tax burdens created by illegal aliens.

The Fed and government simply print all the money they want (which they pretty much do anyway) and everyone suffers roughly the same inflation of all the money-printing.

Sound ridiculous?
Is it any more ridiculous than what we have now?

Posted by: d.a.n at December 10, 2006 12:03 AM
Comment #198528

ILdem

The first part you recognize from Julius Caesar. I think I made up the twist, but who knows?

Don’t be so depressed about finances. We are taking in more money than ever before. The deficit as % gdp is like it was in the mid 1990s. If the Dems can cut spending as well as Newt Gingrich, we could have surplus in a couple years.

Woody

I doubt Nixon introduced it. We had Dem Congress, like today. I was really hoping Rangel had been in that Congress (what irony) but it was a year too soon.

Posted by: Jack at December 10, 2006 12:09 AM
Comment #198532


Jack: we may be taking in more revenues than ever before but, our debt is greater, our obligations are greater, everything is greater than before. We know a recession is coming and that will impact the revenue. Newt and Clinton didn’t have Iraq to contend with. Tomorrow, war will cost more than it did today.

Diogenes: When I was stationed in North Dakota way back when, we had a saying, the wind doesn’t blow in N.D. it sucks. Nafta is like North Dakota except that it both sucks and blows. It is blowing skilled jobs out of the country and sucking unskilled labor in.

Posted by: jlw at December 10, 2006 12:40 AM
Comment #198533

Total federal debt ($22 trillion) is 164% of $13.4 trillion GDP.
The $8.6 trillion National Debt (only a portion of total federal debt; UNLIKE the DEBT-to-GDP ratios reported after WWII) is about %64 of GDP.
The total debt situation (due to entitlements and the PGBC $450 billion in the hole) has really never been worse (in magnitude and percentage of GDP).
What can we expect for the next few years?
The ever-present 3% to 4% inflation (maybe even higher).
Who really thinks Congress will ever balance the budget (that is, before it is too late)?

Posted by: d.a.n at December 10, 2006 12:51 AM
Comment #198535

jlw,
A recession could be just around the corner.
What worries me is how difficult it may be to recover without a lot of inflation (especially with the Fed and government so fond of inflationist practices), and the nation swimming in so much federal debt ($22 trillion) and personal debt ($20 trillion nation-wide).

But, that’s what happens when you play Monopoly with one group that can print all the money they want. Before long, that one group owns everything, and everyone else is broke or deep in debt. How long can all that debt, borrowing, rampant spending, excessive money-printing, and inflation go on?

Posted by: d.a.n at December 10, 2006 1:07 AM
Comment #198540


Dan: More than likely, it will continue to go on until the people walk out of their jobs, stand in the streets and shout we are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore or until we are bankrupt.

Posted by: jlw at December 10, 2006 1:56 AM
Comment #198541

Just raise the threshold for the AMT to one appropriate to today’s time.

All this talk of envy and class warfare is a smokescreen. What we have is a generation of folks who have not been taught the fine distinctions between selfish interest and self-interest. The distinction is important because you can look out for your own survival and self-interest by doing things that are in other’s interests. For example, by taking on a little bit more taxation and by being more generous with wages, the rich, working together with the middle class, can pump more money into the economy and send more profits their way. Self-Interest does not have to be at somebody else’s expense, a zero sum game of winners an losers.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 10, 2006 2:04 AM
Comment #198542

“If you think the government of mexico does not regulate and interfere with business, you have never been there and if you have been there, you saw nothing. by: Jack”


Jack, by no means do they have the regulation we do. I was down in Cabo and my friend a contractor couldn’t believe the dangers workers were facing in the construction of the next big hotel owned by the wealthy elite.

Yes and what regulation they do have is designed as the AMT is here. To help the wealthy elite at the expense of the middle class/ working class


“It had single party rule - by the left wing group - until election before last. by: Jack”

Just simply factually wrong here. The PRI was a neo-liberalistic party that pushed an economy with minimal regulation resulting in the 1994 economic crash and huge rise in poverty.


“The problem with Latin America generally has been much too little economic freedom. That is why they remained poor for so long and why they have some of those other problems you mention. by: Jack”


Sure too little economic freedom is the results when all the wealth is consolidated by the ruling elite.

Posted by: muirgeo at December 10, 2006 2:45 AM
Comment #198546

Here is a free online book called The Conservative Nanny State. Great reading for those who don’t understand how poor oversight leads to Corporations undermining both “free markets” and Democracy in our country. Understanding these issues has nothing to do with socialism or communism as Jack tells us. In fact I’d argue that proper corporate oversight is the necessary duty of a government OF, BY and FOR the people if they want to preserve the middle class and thus their democracy. The modern conservative advocates policies that undermine government By the People and they undermine policies that keep our middle class and our democracy strong. Ultimately, as we are seeing LIVE ACTION..RIIGHT NOW…the results of these policies in a concentration of wealth that makes those very few on top happy but results in an economy on the brink of disaster as we have now. The end results which weakens our nation as a whole…..as we see we have been weakened in so many ways since Reagan started this whole process of Trickle Down destruction of our country.
True Patriots need to understand these things. Limbaugh and others have done such a good job a framing the issues and brainwashing so many people into voting against theirs and their countries long term interest. Hopefully people will start waking up if it’s not already too late. We should have learned from history and the last Republican led Great Depression.

http://www.conservativenannystate.org/

Posted by: muirgeo at December 10, 2006 9:34 AM
Comment #198547

The big thing about taxes is that the Republicans have done a great job of convincing people that the taxes should be in their pockets, but refuse to equal that with the cuts in spending. They do that because they know that people are not as opposed to government as they would like to pretend they are, and they know that if they make any real, substantial cuts in programs, it might come back to haunt them.

Instead of being honest with voters, and telling them that they can’t do any more tax cuts without inflicting more fiscal damage, they continue with the tax cuts, and resort to deficit spending.

But that isn’t the same as “giving people back their money”, because in this case, you have to get the money to pay for that from somewhere. We get it from the overseas investors and money printing. As our debt builds up, those practices increase inflation and push up interest rates, which takes money out of people’s pockets and reduces the buying power of what’s left.

And then? The bonds come due, and our overseas investors want their money. Who do they get it from? Taxpayers. So essentially what the Republicans have been encouraging during the Bush administration is America pickpocketing itself.

We cannot have a clear fiscal picture if we do not acknowledge that we have a certain amount of government at hand, and that it costs us something to run it, whether we like it or not. The Republicans have preached the gospel of “its your money”, but since they’ve been deficit spending, that’s either the statement of a liar or a fool, since the money “given back” is subsidized by borrowed money. It’s no more our money than the funds that a credit card user uses over what they pay down monthly on the card.

Because of that deficit spending, our government is handing billions of dollars a year to our main industrial competitors in East Asia, the Japanese and the Chinese, money they use to capitilize themselves. That is the prices of getting “our” money back.

So what should we do to get out of this situation? Start realizing that everything that we allow the government to spend is a financial obligation on our part that precludes things like tax cuts, if we don’t want to increase our public debt.

Start dealing with such obligations with maturity. If we want tax cuts, then we must agree to spending cuts. We pay as we go, and we don’t accept irresponsible bribes like those the Bush administration have given us over the past few years.

America literally does not profit from these tax cuts. They are a net loss across the board. It’s pretend money that is backed by taking real money from our pockets later. Fiscal responsiblity is not supposed to be a political plaything. Let’s stop treating it as one.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 10, 2006 10:48 AM
Comment #198553

Stephen Daugherty

I do not profess to being a financial wizard or having a good understanding of world finances. But I am slowly learning.

The financial principles you speak of make perfectly good sense and should work in a perfect world. This all makes me wonder why we as a nation do not handle our finances better. It seems to me if everyone paid their fare share in taxes and spending was limited as you say to no more than what we have in reserve then everyone should benefit.

Is it greed, class warfare, globalization, irresponsible spending, corporate influence, or financial corruption that drives our government to such mismanagement of our money?

When I look at the big picture whithout a distinct unerstanding of all the intricate details what I see is globalization as an attempt to standardize or leveling of wages around the world in order to suppress the laborers of the world. The reason for this being to more clearly define and maintain a distinction between the wealthy and the poor. And to restrain the poor in decision making processes.

You seem to have a good grasp on world financial matters. I am curious if you see any validity in my thoughts on the matter.

My apologies if this post seems a bit sophomoric. But without questions there can be no anserws.

Posted by: ILdem at December 10, 2006 12:03 PM
Comment #198554

The AMT may be wack, but this piece has gone completely to the dogs. As muirgeo pointed out, it was the Republican-” do nothing but pocket our benefits of office”- Congress that failed to deal with this problem. Why? Because they aren’tconcerned with middle America, only their fat cat lobbyists.

I’ve begun to recognize that the problem isn’t really campaign reform that is needed. It is a new independant branch of government. An independant watchdog on Congress and the Excutive branches. Perhaps it needs to be administered by the Supreme Court. Since the Justice Department often acts as a lapdog to the Exectuive Party affiliation, we need a new investigative and prosecutorial branch. One that codifies (by recommendations and exposure to Congress) and aggressively prosectutes corruption. Neither Congress nor the Executive Branch could use Privilege or National Security to hide their criminal conduct.The GAO and Justice departments would keep an eye on this Branch.

This would be the best reform to the Constitution since the Bill of Rights. Instead of filling our prisons with kids smoking weed, and the mentally ill. We could finance the prison industry based on prosecution of corrupt politicians who would then also have their assets conviscated, much like dope dealers. The CEA. Corruption Enforcement Agency.

Save your Country. Put a Corrupt Politician in the Pokey.

Congratulations to Louisiana for having such a corrupt political system that they reelected a congressman with payoffs stuffed in the freezer.

Posted by: gergle at December 10, 2006 12:16 PM
Comment #198555

You conservatives have convinced me! I am now going to support the repeal of ALL TAXES!!! Not just selectively picking and choosing which taxes to support and which not to support. The federal government can run on voluntary donations.

Police force: Private security forces can handle the protection of the homes of the middle and upper classes. The poor rarely feel safe anyway so they won’t notice too much change.

National defense: Again, the wealthy can donate to protect their investments at home and abroad. Why on earth should the poor, who do not have financial investments, be asked to support military involvements to protect American investments in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and South America? As far as defending against an attack on our soil. Those who wish to preserve our nation can get out and fight it out on the street. If I’m poor enough, what do I care who runs the country. Afterall, if private businesses go unregulated, the workers will fight if they are being treated as if they are a part of the economy… if they feel that they are excluded and we return to a Dickensian Industrial Age economy… well, they may fight with us, or they may not.

Federal and state courts and justice systems: Again, why should the ‘lazy, non-contributing’ poor be asked to support jails which hold their cousins, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and children? If those who own property want the dangerous elements off the streets, let them pay to solve it. Kill, jail, or do whatever you wish to do or have to do to keep the wolves from your door. If you are smart enough and work hard enough to accumulate wealth then you’ll just have to find ways to keep the ignorant, no-good leeches out of your house and out of your lives.

Roads and other transportation: Again, why not have private roads and tolls to pay for it. Why am I, a resident of Tennessee, paying for interstate highways in Montana and Wyoming? Let the citizens who desire to drive work this out for themselves. Same with air travel. Let the private airlines work out a system of safe air traffic. Why should the poor and nontravelers pay for helping to keep the middle class and wealthy travelers safe in the air?

There are numerous more examples of expenditures that benefit one group more than another and it is not equitable to expect one group to pay an unfair share. As a freemarket supporter, I think the private donations concept is the answer. Let the market decide who wishes to contribute. Those who benefit will likely donate. Those who don’t probably won’t. As a newly converted conservative, I am calling for a consistant stance on these issues. Picking and choosing the things which YOU think are worthwhile and/or vital to YOUR business and way of life is no more valid than another groups picking and choosing what THEY feel is important to life in the US.

Every man accountable. Every man for themselves!

Posted by: LibRick at December 10, 2006 12:21 PM
Comment #198557

Right. A mere 2% of the world population owns half of ALL wealth.
In the U.S., a mere 1% of the 300 million people in the U.S. owns 40% of all wealth (up by 20% from the 20% level in 1980).

How dare those rich people be so rich.

: )

Seriously though, our government is growing increasingly elitist. There is a definite trend occuring in the U.S.

Why?

Because our government is FOR-SALE.
It’s much like the era that gave rise to all of the anti-trust laws; corpocrisy and corporatism (world-wide) run-amuck, and in-league with FOR-SALE governments.

Puppet politicians carry the water for their big money-donor puppeteers.

But, voters are FOR-SALE too.
They have actually sold themselves out.

There is no longer much (if any) loyalty between corporations of the middle income and lower income groups. Auto workers coming out of GM and Ford are wearing UAQ T-shirts (not GM or Ford T-shirts). It’s class warfare, and we are all to blame for it, in this era of selfishness, sense of entitlement, and fiscal and moral bankruptcy.

So, it is increasingly just like LibRick says.
Dog-eat-dog.
Everyone for themselves.
The squeeze of the lower and middle income groups will continue as long as they keep re-electing irresponsible politicians that pit them agasinst each other and illegal aliens (or cheaper imported labor; a great example of selling out one’s fellow Americans).

And, government and employers pit Americans and illegal aliens against each other.
But, voters let this happen.
They have themselves (mostly) to thank for it.
They vote stupidly for the politicians that do the best job of bribing them with their own tax dollars.

And demanding more from government (to take care of us from cradle-to-grave) is not the solution. Ironically, that gives government more power and causes it to grow ever more bloated, incompetent, and corrupt, and less likely to ever seriously address the nation’s problems that grow in number and severity.

But, voters keep rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians by repeatedly re-electing them, and their problems are actually of their own making.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 10, 2006 12:59 PM
Comment #198560

Don’t you guys know that the sole motivation behind concern for the massive disparity in wealth is envy?

Posted by: Trent at December 10, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #198562

We don’t live under communism yet. Liberals are trying. They despise corporations, which provide jobs, and they want to tax the rich more than the poor. They think that if there is a rich man, then there is a poor man.

It is possible for everyone to be wealthy with out distribution. Work hard. Being wealthy is a privilege, not a right. You earn what you work for!

You earn

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 10, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #198565
It is possible for everyone to be wealthy with out distribution. Work hard.

So everyone who is not wealthy is lazy? What an atrocious oversimplification.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 10, 2006 2:03 PM
Comment #198567

Stubborn conservative…umm how’d you ever get that name….please re-read the many excellent posts prior to yours.

No one here is rooting for communism but your unabashed support of corporations sounds like a call for the return of the king. You’re really just being stubborn.

Posted by: muirgeo at December 10, 2006 2:28 PM
Comment #198575


We don’t live under corporatism yet. We still have a chance to stop it before it rules the planet.

Posted by: jlw at December 10, 2006 3:53 PM
Comment #198579

Ildem-
Too many have built up their picture of what’s good for the economy around the sense of what makes it easier for them to profit in the short term, or what rigs the game in their favor.

From what I observe, there are far too many who simply try and trick and deceive and subsidize their way into profit, focusing on financial performance, rather than improvements in real performance.

Some say “the Business of Business is business.” Bull, the business of business is fulfilling one’s own self interest by working in another’s. That is the difference between a merchant and a con-man, a highway robber and a service provider, a corporation and an organized crime outfit. The former does something for us which we reward them for. The latter strives to gain the reward, but at a net cost to other’s interests if they aren’t in on it, too.

The point of a capitalist society is that the competing and cooperative interests between all the different organizations adds up to the greatest general good. The point of the market is to let more than one set of thinking caps digest the problem of promoting the community and the individual’s self interests, and to reward the smart SOBs who finally get it right.

The complexity of achieving this, though, is what makes unregulated capitalism impractical. People find ways in the eddies and backwaters of such complex economies as ours to exploit certain aspects of how the money flows and how the society governs itself in order to further their own interests.

If enough people engage in frauds and schemes, emboldened by the loopholes and dark corners of the market system, they can create the kind of critical problem we see with Enron or the Great Depression, where all the convenient fictions and lies can coalesce into a catastrophic failure of the market.

Soooo… we regulate, aiming laws at areas where the temptations to cheat, lie, participate in conflict of interest are just too great to ignore.

What gets the government around to mismanaging money is the same thing that happens with folks in business, the same sort of sense of unaccountability and expectation that they can act in their own interests, rather than furthering their interests by furthering ours.

In any enterprise where the common and/or mutual good are the priority, accountability and the right sort of attitude towards service are crucial.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 10, 2006 5:03 PM
Comment #198581

Democrats have promised to spend more. National Health Care, Education funding, Etc. But they have also promised to Balance the Budget.

Didn’t they promise to balance the budget, to be the responsible ones?

Hey, does anyone have it in writing where dems promised to balance the budget. I sort of feel that fiscal responsibility is already slipping away and they haven’t even had day one in office yet.

Now I do know that Pelosi promised that in the first 100 hours she would deal with no increased deficit spending.

Does anyone know what that promise means? Does it mean she will keep spending and increasing the deficits but at a rate no higher than the republicans? Or does it mean she will do away with all deficit spending? Or does it mean she will only be responsible for the first 100 hours and after that they are going to spend like crazy.

Call me paranoid, I think that the goal of a balanced Budget has no prayer….but lets keep talking about it, lets keep hammering in home, lets give the dems a chance to come out swinging and balance the budget.

I understand there are a lot of spending bills that need to be passed, will they be passes with thousands of add on spending bills attached or will Pelosi fund this government with no add on pork spending bills?

My guess, they are going to pass tons and tons of pork and blame it on the Republicans! Meaning fiscal responsibility does not reside in the democratic party. But that’s just my thoughts on the subject, lets give them a chance to shoot down all that democratic party and republican party pork and see if they do.

Posted by: Stephen at December 10, 2006 5:13 PM
Comment #198584

ahh jack,

This was my one post I had planned to praise Democrats, Wrangel in particular for announcing that they would tackle the problem.

Posted by: esimonson at December 10, 2006 5:17 PM
Comment #198585

Stephen-
The Republicans pledged to spend less. What did they do?

We have pledge to work by the principles of pay as you go. We did it once before. Hell, your people did it once before, before you decided to take this country on a free ride.

Democrats would be shooting themselves in the foot to introduce more spending, and they know it. If the leaders of my party start down that road, they’ll hear from democrats like me before your people even have their talking points up.

You, as a Republican, did not stop years of pork and other excessive spending. We Democrats don’t plan on repeating your mistake.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 10, 2006 5:27 PM
Comment #198586
Stephen Daughery wrote: You, as a Republican, did not stop years of pork and other excessive spending. We Democrats don’t plan on repeating your mistake.
Stephen, You should do some research. Democrats are by FAR the BIGGEST pork-barrel spenders.
Trent wrote: Don’t you guys know that the sole motivation behind concern for the massive disparity in wealth is envy?

Trent,
That is true for some.
Not for all.
Not me.
I don’t begrudge anyone with more wealth.
However, I do have a problem with some that abuse vast weatlh to influence and control government.
Such as a mere 0.15% (300,000) of all 200 million eligible voters that gave 83% of all federal donations (of $200 or more in 2002).
That isn’t fair to the 99.85% of remaining 199,700,000 million eligible voters.
And look at the corporate welfare.
That hurts tax payers.
And look at corporations, in pursuit of cheap labor, that pit American workers and illegal aliens against each other.
And, just yesterday, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) were tryin to get H1B visa caps increased so they could import some more cheap labor (for nursing and programmers).
That’s the sort of thing that some want to mischaracterize as envy.

No, here’s a good example, in my opinion, of someone that has a envy problem.
They don’t believe in a flat income tax rate percentage.
NNNOOOoooo … they believe what is fair is that the more income you have, the HIGHER the percentage you should pay in income tax.
That is unfair.
That is a clear example (IMO) of one who is disguising their envy and jealousy as demands for equality.

So, there is a VAST difference.
We must be clear.
There are things that Congress and corporations (in-league with each other) are doing, for nefarious reasons, to increase THEIR profits by squeezing it out of everywhere possible, regardless of the moral and negative implications.

For example, take the Federal Reserve and the government.
One of the ways they cheat the tax payers is by maintaining inflation at 3% to 4%.
Why?
Becaue the banks and government get the money FIRST (early in the cycle).
They fully understand that by the time you get that dollar, it has decreased in value.
They don’t care.

This is one of the reasons the nation is swimming in massive debt.
Why isn’t government worried about it?
Because they have a plan.
They don’t talk about it, but they have a plan.
It’s the same one they’ve been using for the past 60 years.
They will simply print more money.
That shrinks the National Debt.
Unfortunately, it also shrinks your savings, retirement, and fixed incomes.
A mere 4.5% inflation turns $100 into on $81.75 in only 5 years.

So, what do we have in the U.S.
We have a new situation unlike anything in the past.

The Federal Reserve and government print excessive amounts of money, and then try to loan it to everyone possible.

Well, before long, some are deep in debt, and default on their loans. The banks confiscate property, converting money printed from thin air into real assets.

It is like playing Monopoly with one person who can print all the money they want.
Before long, everyone else is broke or deep in debt.

If you don’t like that, then is it merely envy?
True, people should be more educated about debt.
But, does that justify predatory loaning practices?
No, it doesn’t.
This is just one of many ways the masses are used and abused.
This is part of the reason why the lower and middle income groups are losing ground (i.e. 99% of the U.S. population used to have 80% of all wealth; now it is down to 60%, and 1% of the U.S. population has 40% of all wealth in the U.S.). World-wide, half of all wealth is owned by a mere 2% of the world population.

While there is nothing wrong with becoming wealthy, there is something wrong with doing it by using and abusing others, such as:

  • (1) inflationist practices

  • (2)predatory loaning practices

  • (3)government FOR-SALE, inflence peddling

  • (4)pitting Americans and illegal aliens against each other

  • (5)corporate welfare (e.g. U.S> troops go without medical care and promised beneifts, but Halliburton’s checks are always on time)

  • (6)pork-barrel, graft, bribes, all while our troops go without body armor; not to mention Congress giving itself 8 raises since 1997

  • (7)starting unnecessary wars (possibly for nefarious reasons?)

  • (8)undermining public education

  • (9)abusing the environment

  • (10)eminent domain abuse

Those abuses are NOT mere jeaslousy and envy.
Those are justifiable reasons for being angry.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 10, 2006 5:46 PM
Comment #198596

muirgeo:

I do have some things against corporations. I disapprove of them going to other countries and then sending the products here. It is getting hard for Americans to get jobs that take physical labor instead of mental. Almost everything here was made somewhere else. I strongly protest the hiring of illegals instead of Americans.

The key to success is hiring your fellow country men and women. Employers become afraid to do that because of Labor Unions and the sue-craziness going on in this country. Japan has no unions, neither does China (China practically has slave labor). If corporations thought of country instead of world and the labor unions were gone, then no country would ever come close to US economy.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 10, 2006 7:13 PM
Comment #198616

Stubborn Conservative,
You think it might have anything to do with profit margins? Do you think greed is always good in corporations? After all isn’t that what Wall Street is all about? Return on dollar? Maybe some people should read Adam Smith again.

Posted by: gergle at December 10, 2006 9:45 PM
Comment #198619
Japan has no unions…Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 10, 2006 07:13 PM
Are you serious? When you learn a little more about the rest of the world, then you can speak with some degree of credibility. Until then, feed on something besides freepah diahreah. Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at December 10, 2006 10:02 PM
Comment #198820

Muirgeo

The state controls more of the economy in Mexico and Latin American in general and it is more capricious. The fact that people ignore safety regulation does not change that. Property rights have been weak for most people in Latin America. Tariffs have been high. It is very hard to do business w/o the state.


Yes, too little economic freedom leads to concentrations of wealth and poverty that we see in Latin America.

I think you exhibit one of the reasons people do not understand the nature of the free market if you see a place like Mexico, rated 60 on the index of economic freedom, as having too much economic freedom.

Mexico has improved a lot since it moved to the right, but still has a long way to go.

For course, left-right might be a bit dated. I am more interested in economic freedom. We have pretty much here in the U.S., but could benefit from a little more.

BTW - N. Korea is dead last on the economic freedom list. The distribution of wealth there is horrible skewed, with Kim and his buds living like kings while others literally starve to death.

Posted by: Jack at December 11, 2006 10:37 PM
Comment #198827

Jack,

Life ain’t so great in the rightwing dictatorships of the type we like to support.

Posted by: Trent at December 11, 2006 11:02 PM
Comment #198856

That site is kinda dumb. It included Hitler, Franco etc. They are definitely dictators, but they rose w/o American help (there was not even a CIA in those days.)

I dislike most dictators. I do not see them as right and left however. They are for and against economic freedom. Most dictators are against. Hitler, Mussolini etc are very similar in this respect to Stalin or Castro.

Posted by: Jack at December 12, 2006 11:52 AM
Comment #198860

The site is over the top. In the spirit of your article, Jack, I chose it as an example of rhetoric against the right.

That said, we too often forget what lies behind our patriotic words.

Posted by: Trent at December 12, 2006 12:26 PM
Post a comment