My Man McCain (2)

I supported John McCain in 2000 and this year’s campaign is reminding me why. We would have been better off if John McCain had been elected back then. His positions on global warming and multilateral diplomacy are more reasonable than those of the Bush Administration and strategy he advocated in Iraq is proving much more effective than the Bush/Rumsfeld plan in operation until late 2006.

I have to admit that my faith in McCain faltered a bit. But I did I was always impressed with McCain’s character . He advocated what is proving to be a successful strategy in Iraq when it was extremely unpopular and even when most Republicans and the Bush Administration thought he should just shut up.

I looked hard at Mitt Romney, who I still believe is the politician with the most brainpower and experience relating to business and the economy. As the situation in Iraq improves and the Democratic strategy of defeat looks less attractive they are focusing more and more on the economy. Of course, their prescription is a more intrusive government. But it looks like they are doing something and that makes the less sophisticated voters happy. It would be useful to have somebody with Romney’s proven experience to explain things to them. I still hope that McCain will choose Romney as his VP, but I understand there is significant personal animosity between the two men. Maybe they can get beyond that for the good of the country.

The whole McCain presidential race is a case study in integrity. He held – and held – positions that made him very unpopular with core Republican constituencies. Nobody thought he could win the nomination w/o changing his mind. He didn’t and he still won.

John McCain advocated a course of action in Iraq which antagonized the Bush Administration and then when Bush came around to a McCain-like strategy in late 2006 he went against conventional wisdom to support it. Concerning the economy, he refuses to pander to the panic mongers. Indeed, he might let that Hilary/Obama 3 am phone keep on ringing. McCain knows that anybody calling about the economy at 3 am is just looking for some kind of sneaky late night special interest break – probably an earmark - and McCain doesn’t do those things.

The junior senators fighting it out for the Democratic nomination may be done with their mud fight in a couple of months and we will know which one of them will be sent over to challenge John McCain. I expect the super delegates will delegate Barack Obama. I am happy about that outcome. I think McCain will beat him, but I think that he has integrity similar to McCain’s and I hope the campaign will be a little less brutal and more about the issues.

On the issues, McCain will win.

Posted by Jack at April 7, 2008 1:34 AM
Comments
Comment #249955

So how you feelin’ about George these days? Proud papa? Prodigal son time? Just checkin’.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at April 7, 2008 2:35 AM
Comment #249957
I am impressed by the Bush team. All I can see is that step-by-step, Bush is achieving his agenda and making it the new status quo. Tax cuts, Afghanistan, midterm Republican gains in Congress, rapid victory in Iraq, reelection and more Republican gains in Congress, Iraq elections, tort reform - the list just keep on growing. Bush’s opponents keep on underestimating him.

Jack March 19, 2005

I supported John McCain in 2000 and this year’s campaign is reminding me why. We would have been better off if John McCain had been elected back then. His positions on global warming and multilateral diplomacy are more reasonable than those of the Bush Administration and strategy he advocated in Iraq is proving much more effective than the Bush/Rumsfeld plan in operation until late 2006.
Jack April 7, 2008

This is the biggest problem the Republicans will face in the upcoming election. The Republican candidates will have to extricate themselves from the stink otherwise known as George W. Bush and his 28% approval rating. I’m sure McCain and others will claim that they weren’t followers or supporters of our, not a moment too soon exiting president. But how many of McCain’s passages are out there, that show’s support for our president and close alignment with his policies?

Posted by: Cube at April 7, 2008 4:10 AM
Comment #249958

Cube

You are a prisioner of time.

In 2005 those things were true. Republicans were elected into Congress in great numbers and were in about the same postitions Dems are today. Things change.

I regret that we were not able to pass tort reform or finish up in Iraq faster.

Re Iraq - McCain was right back then. Perhaps we (me too) should have listened to him then instead of waiting until 2007. I am glad we did not listen to the Dem leadership who declared that the terrorists had defeated us already.

I generally supported the President and continue to support him. He is the President. Besides the alternatives, such as raising taxes, running away in Iraq & creating even more intrusive government bureaucracies is not a course I want to follow

McCain differed from Bush in the ways I mentioned. You can attack his positions, but he does not have to answer for policies that were not his own and that he sometimes opposed.

Posted by: Jack at April 7, 2008 4:54 AM
Comment #249960

Jack

From factcheck.org. In 2007, CQ found that McCain voted with his party 90 percent of the time. Also, McCain voted in support of President Bush’s position on legislation 95 percent of the time, the top presidential-support score in the Senate.

His chances of winning while supporting Bush or republican policy are minimal at best. Any sudden reversal of his positions will be seen as flip flopping and paint him as what he truly is. A person who will say and do whatever convenient to achieve his personal goals. It will not present a picture of a man of conviction.

Posted by: RickIL at April 7, 2008 9:20 AM
Comment #249964

RickIL

McCain has held his position on global warming since 2003. His advice on Iraq goes back to the initial invasion. His multilateral diplomacy is as old as his time in the Senate. Anybody who can count will see that he has been consistent AND acted with integrity to change his views (for example on global warming) when it made sense.

McCain is a conservative. Is it a surprise that he voted 90% with Republicans. Obama is the most liberal man in the Senate. What % of the time did he vote with Republicans? How about Hilary.

I think McCain’s position on the issues will make him the winner in November and a majority of Americans will come to support or accept his positions as better than those of the liberal opposition.

Posted by: Jack at April 7, 2008 10:50 AM
Comment #249967

My problem with McCain is his ‘experience’.
He continues to talk about how he has been involved in every decision made in the past 3 decades when it comes to foreign affairs.
If he is the right man for the job, why do we have problems?? He should have had them fixed by now if he is such an ‘expert’.
How many of the policies that have caused problems of today did he sign on to? or suggest?

Becoming President is not a gaurantee that he can get the rest of the politicians to make correct decisions. Not if they ALL continue to put their careers ahead of our country.

Obama is the only one who has a ‘following’ that he can use to his advantage. All he’ll have to do is go on TV, tell his followers what he is trying to do, and ask them to flood their representavies mailboxes with demands.

Posted by: Dawn at April 7, 2008 11:08 AM
Comment #249971
Jack wrote: On the issues, McCain will win.
Maybe, considering the choices.

But not likely.

Jack wrote: The whole McCain presidential race is a case study in integrity. He held – and held – positions that made him very unpopular with core Republican constituencies.
Really? Such as:
  • voting for the 1st Amnesty in 1986.
  • but says he “now gets it” (after 26 years in Congress), with regard to illegal immigration (www.ontheissues.org/John_McCain.htm#Immigration).
  • now says he knows plenty about economics (despite dodging questions about economic questions and previously admitting it was his weak suit).
  • now said (in Memphis last week) that he was wrong to vote against the MLK holiday.
UUUHHMMmmmmmm, he held and held ? Until it comes to getting elected?

Why all of these revelations now (above)?

Jack wrote: On the issues, McCain will win.

John McCain: on the issues.

The other “choices” for Presidente (Obama and Hillary).
Obama and Hillary may have some serious advantages, since:

  • Lots of people want health care (never mind how it will be afforded with massive debt).

  • Lots of people want to leave Iraq; our troops should not be used for nation-building.

  • Lots of people want jobs and unfair free-trade deals rescinded.

  • Lots of people want a lot of things.

  • Lots of people want an improved economy (and we’ve all heard McCain’s statements about the economy).
John McCain isn’t promising as much, and he has alienated a large part of his voter base (especially with respect to illegal immigration; McCain should read Jack’s article about “Misplaced Compassion”: www.watchblog.com/republicans/archives/005410.html).

Also, John McCain is still pushing the extremely weak argument that nation-building in Iraq is making the U.S. safter, while ignoring the fact that more people have been killed in only 3 years in the U.S. by illegal aliens, than U.S. troops killed in Iraq in over 5 years. But then, all of the presidential candidates have equally pathetic track-records on illegal immigration (grades.betterimmigration.com/view_all.php3?Flag=GRADE).

90% of elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money (opensecrets.org/pres08/index.asp).
So far, that ain’t John McCain (not even close):
Candidate ______ Rai$ed _______ $pent ________ Ca$h On Hand ___ Debt$
Barack Obama __ $193,600,733 _ $154,767,643 _ $38,833,089 ___ $625,058
Hillary Clinton ___ $169,003,120 _ $135,828,257 _ $33,174,862 _ $8,733,609
John McCain _____ $64,654,539 __ $56,657,944 __ $7,996,595 _ $4,340,981

At any rate, the voters will have the government that the voters elected.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 7, 2008 11:24 AM
Comment #249973

Jack, on Nov. 3, 2004, you wrote here at WatchBlog: “As a Bush supporter, I celebrate the results of this election.”

Its just my perspective, but, I don’t hold non-Texan folks responsible for taking a chance on Bush in 2000. But after 4 years in office, after lying to Americans to engage them in deadly war and rip off taxpayers by the billions to feed the corporate war machine, after campaigning in 2000 against preemptory and elective war, and then engaging our nation in both, after refusing to raise taxes for 2004 when it was clear the economy was rebounding while steeply increasing national debt, to support Bush as you did calls into question, in my opinion, the judgment criteria used to vote for Bush in 2004 and now to support McCain.

If judgment criteria was so off in 2004, why would it have been any better in supporting McCain in 2000 or 2008?

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 7, 2008 11:32 AM
Comment #249974

Jack said: “I think McCain’s position on the issues will make him the winner in November and a majority of Americans will come to support or accept his positions as better than those of the liberal opposition.”

This from a person who thought reelecting GW Bush in 2004 would be best for the nation, the GOP, and conservative principles. Thanks for the chuckle.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 7, 2008 11:38 AM
Comment #249976
Jack wrote: Comment #216279:
    d.a.n.

    I do not think McCain has much of a chance. I admire his integity.


So, what changed?

Obama and Hillary goin’ at each other?
That may not be enough.

At any rate, on the bright side, some people say things can not get better until they get worse.
Regardless of which of the three are elected to President, things are likely to get better (after they get much worse; especially the run-away debt).

David R. Remer wrote: But after 4 years in office, after lying to Americans to engage them in deadly war and rip off taxpayers by the billions to feed the corporate war machine, after campaigning in 2000 against preemptory and elective war, and then engaging our nation in both, after refusing to raise taxes for 2004 when it was clear the economy was rebounding while steeply increasing national debt, to support Bush as you did calls into question, in my opinion, the judgment criteria used to vote for Bush in 2004 and now to support McCain.
I agree. Again, it could be because all of the choices are so bad?

However, it is safe to say it is very unlikely John Kerry or Ralph Nader could have possibly done worse than George W. Bush (43) has done.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 7, 2008 11:44 AM
Comment #249982

d.a,n.

McCain is a little too candid sometimes. He obviously knows as much about economics, given his experience on commerce committees etc, as most Senators, and more than Obama or Clinton.

But few politicians know much about economics. The only two exceptions in this last race were Christopher Dodd and Mitt Romney. Neither is the nominee.

You are right that lots of people want lots of things and making empty promises is a Democratic core skill. I hope the intelligence can trump childish emotions.

Re money and politics – the Dems certainly have the big bucks and are using them. The candidate with the most money often does win – except when he doesn’t.

Re Kerry & Nader, I am pretty sure they would have done worse, as their attempts to impose more intrusive government would have tanked the economy sooner.

BTW - the biggest failure of the Bush Administration is not addressing entitlements. In that regard the Democrats bear most of the blame.


David

You can attack my judgment instead of McCain’s positions. It is easier. I have written lots of things over the past years. I supported George Bush in 2004, as did a majority of the American voters. Did you, by any chance, support Carter, Dukakis, Mondale, or how about that Ralph Nader thing? I also voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980 & 1984.

Re the liberal opposition – let the issues come out and see what people want. You fear talking about the issues and want to make this about me. That is your option, but I don’t think advocating voting against John McCain because “Jack” supports him will sway many voters.

Posted by: Jack at April 7, 2008 12:04 PM
Comment #249983

Democrats dodged a bullet in ‘04 with the results of the national election. At that point the republicans had not had sufficient time to ruin the nation and the election of Democrats would have throughly confused the public about who was responsible for what. Look at the efforts going on today by Republicans to put the blame on a “Democratic congress” ( a congress almost evenly divided).
Seven years of republican rule, of taking the obvious and turning into the improbable, of creating their own reality, obscuring the truth with fox-spin and promoting lies to cover a truly shocking incompetence.
If McCain has a chance it will all revolve around running away from his performance as a primary candidate. I guarantee to all that the last time we saw w and McCain standing together on a stage will be the last time you see them standing together ever.

Posted by: charles ross at April 7, 2008 12:05 PM
Comment #249988

“but I don’t think advocating voting against John McCain because “Jack” supports him will sway many voters.”

Maybe not, but advocating against voting for John McCain because he supported Bush might.

Face it Jack, it is easier to write your hit pieces, than to write your pro-fluff.


Posted by: Cube at April 7, 2008 1:04 PM
Comment #249993
Jack wrote: BTW - the biggest failure of the Bush Administration is not addressing entitlements. In that regard the Democrats bear most of the blame.
No, Social Security is not Bush’s biggest failure. Not even close.

Bush’s failures:

  • (01) His worst failure was invading Iraq (Bush said: “this crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take awhile.”) based on flawed intelligence,

  • (02) which was then followed by nation-building, policing Iraq’s civil war, trying to fight the war on-the-cheap, and hundreds of blunders.

  • (03) Bush’s 3rd major failure is losing focus on Afghanistan and the Taliban due to Iraq.

  • (04) Bush’s 4th major failure is the record level National Debt ($9.4 Trillion) and numerous worsening economic conditions.

  • (05) Bush’s 5th major failure is regressive taxation.

  • (06) Bush’s 6th major failure is foreign policy; alienating allies;

  • (07) Bush’s 7th major failure is expanding Medicare to include prescription drugs, and not leveling on the real cost.

  • (08) As for entitlements, Bush didn’t try very hard, since the very least Bush could have done was to push to stop plundering the Social Security surpluses, and not pandering to expand Medicare to get votes.

Jack wrote: Re: Kerry & Nader, I am pretty sure they would have done worse, as their attempts to impose more intrusive government would have tanked the economy sooner.
Not likely. How is starting wars based on flawed intelligence, nation-building in Iraq (despite previously deriding nation-building), growing the National Debt to record levels, regressive taxation, expanding Medicare, losing his veto pen, ignoring illegal immigration, pushing homeownership and helping to fuel the mortgage meltdown, debasing the U.S. dollar, and hundreds of other blunders helping the U.S. economy?
  • Posted by: d.a.n at April 7, 2008 2:30 PM
    Comment #249994
    The whole McCain presidential race is a case study in integrity. He held – and held – positions that made him very unpopular with core Republican constituencies. Nobody thought he could win the nomination w/o changing his mind. He didn’t and he still won.

    Oh really? He hasn’t changed his mind on abortion, on campaign finance, on religious bigots, ethanol, or torture.

    Or has he? DUN-DUN-DUUUUUNH!

    He has. He has, like the rest of the Republican candidates, gone back on and soft pedalled many of the views that sold him as a moderate or a maverick. Meanwhile, he’s essentially backing the least wise and and most vilified elements of Bush policy lockstep.

    Credibility for your candidate will depend on the endurance of this political fiction. People like me can demonstrate on the fact that the myth of St. McCain the Lobbyist Slayer is just a self-aggrandizing story.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 7, 2008 2:39 PM
    Comment #249999

    McCain is a conservative. Is it a surprise that he voted 90% with Republicans.

    No Jack it is no surprise. It is the truth. A truth that presents the real McCain. The problem is that he attempts to present himself as a maverick. A person who does not march in lockstep with the party. That is what supposedly distinguishes him from just another ordinary republican politician. It is what is supposed to make him attractive to voters of all political affiliation. In the end the people of this country certainly do not want in any shape or form a continuation of past practice. Everything about his past record indicates that is exactly what we would get. Of course the truth about his maverick image will be emphasized many times in the coming months. You can rest assured that anyone who is gullible enough to believe in his rebel ways will most likely not be so easily fooled when all is said and done.

    Posted by: RickIL at April 7, 2008 3:27 PM
    Comment #250000

    Charles

    Republicans controlled both houses of congress from 1995-2000. Dems controlled the Senate 2001-3. Republicans controlled both houses from 2003-6 Dems controlled both houses 2007-now.

    The Dems have done little in their time since 2007. They control the congress by about the same numbers as Republicans did 2003-6. You cannot let the Dems off the hook for the last years by calling it almost evenly divided. That is the way it has been on both sides.

    Re Bush and McCain, Bush is not much of an asset to McCain. They don’t like each other personally, so I don’t think you will be seeing much of Bush. Sorry that you won’t be able to run against him again.

    d.a.n.

    Listen to what you wrote re starting wars based on flawed intelligence. I agree that the intelligence was flawed but based on the information available at the time, the course of action made sense.

    I disagree re entitlements. The deficit is currently a relatively small % of GDP compared with the last 40 years averages. If we just had to deal with that, there would be a minor problem. We would be in the same sort of situation we were in during 1995. However the entitlement tidal wave is coming. That is the difference.

    The other problem is a definition. The tax system is progressive, not regressive. Tax rates go up with income. The richer half of the population pays almost ALL the Federal tax. You may believe that taxes should be MORE progressive, but they are not regressive.

    Stephen

    I wish he would change his mind on campaign finance. McCain-Feingold was a bad idea. Ethanol, he changed his opinion when the facts became clear AND he came around a lot faster than the Dems. As I recall Hilary and Obama were still supporting ethanol subsidies during their campaign in Iowa. I don’t believe he changed his mind on torture. He has always been against it. Having been the only candidate with first hand experience, I have to trust his opinion.

    Re religious bigots – You are thinking of Obama and Rev Wright. I think Obama has said that he doesn’t agree with the ideas but that he will not reject the man. I found that an acceptable position and I won’t trash Obama on that anymore.

    Which are the most vilified aspects of the Bush policy in your opinion? McCain differed with Bush on Iraq, until Bush came around to a McCain-like position in late 2006. McCain differs with Bush on Global warming, torture & multilateral diplomacy. The only really big thing were McCain is in “lockstep” is NOT raising taxes. Are lower taxes really the most vilified thing you think Bush has done?

    Posted by: Jack at April 7, 2008 3:33 PM
    Comment #250002

    RickIl

    McCain’s record is well known. You can find in it what you will.

    George Bush and Karl Rove threw all this same stuff at him back in 2000. The Dems can copy Rove if they want, but I am not sure it will have the same effect the second time around after eight years.

    Posted by: Jack at April 7, 2008 3:37 PM
    Comment #250015
    Jack wrote: d.a.n.

    Listen to what you wrote re starting wars based on flawed intelligence. I agree that the intelligence was flawed but based on the information available at the time, the course of action made sense.

    Jack wrote: I disagree re entitlements.
    Fine. But it doesn’t change the facts. Bush didn’t try very hard, since the very least Bush could have done was to push to stop the plundering of the Social Security surpluses, and not pandering to expand Medicare to get votes. How anyone can disagree with that is hard to understand. Besides, you wrote:
    Jack wrote: BTW - the biggest failure of the Bush Administration is not addressing entitlements.
    That’s right. He really did not address it. He simply threw his hands up in the air and said “Well, I tried. It’s all the Democrats’ fault”. That’s some great leadership, eh?
    Jack wrote: The deficit is currently a relatively small % of GDP compared with the last 40 years averages.
    Small? The $9.4 Trillion National Debt is 68% of the $13.86 Trillion GDP.

    However, as usual, you conveniently omitted the $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 million baby boomer bubble approaching, which when combined with the $9.4 Trillion National Debt is $22.2 Trillion of total federal debt.

    When you include that $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, the total $22.2 Trillion of federal debt has never been worse ever, both in size and as a percentage (160% !) of the $13.86 Trillion GDP. As long as government is going to mix everything into the general fund, it makes no sense to try and separate the accounting for different systems.

    Jack wrote: If we just had to deal with that, there would be a minor problem.
    Minor? $9.4 Trillion National Debt is minor? Especially when Congress it out-of-control, and unable to stop borrowing, spending, and creating money out of thin air? The $9.4 Trillion National Debt:
    • If pork-happy Congress had the discipline to stop borrowing and spending irresponsibly, and started paying down the $9.4 Trillion National debt by $1.161 Billion per day ($588 billion per year = 21% of the federal government’s total $2.7 Trillion tax revenues in year 2007), it could take more than 153 years (at only 4.5% interest; one-simple-idea.com/NationalDebtPayOff20060101.gif), and the total debt and interest would be $65 Trillion.
    • Even if there was only a 2.0% interest rate on the $9.4 Trillion National Debt, and if pork-happy Congress had the discipline to stop borrowing and spending irresponsibly, and started paying down the $9.4 Trillion National debt by $1.161 Billion per day ($588 billion per year = 21% of the federal government’s total $2.7 Trillion tax revenues in year 2007), it could take more than 30 years, and the total debt and interest would be $12.4 Trillion.
    Jack wrote: We would be in the same sort of situation we were in during 1995. However the entitlement tidal wave is coming. That is the difference.
    Not exactly. Several problems (other than Social Security and National Debt) are more serious now.
    Jack wrote: The other problem is a definition. The tax system is progressive, not regressive.
    False.

    The tax system is regressive.
    Had you merely said the tax tables on payroll income were progressive, you would have been correct.
    Again, you cleverly omitted that fact that some income is exempt (caps and tax loop-holes), or taxed at lower rates (e.g. capital gains), and when those factors are included, the tax system is regressive, and it is not hard to prove. After all, that is why Warren Buffet paid only 17.7% in federal taxes on $46 Million in year 2006, while his secretary paid 30% in federal taxes on $60K.

    Please explain how that is not regressive?

    Jack wrote: Tax rates go up with income.
    Yes, but you conveniently forgot to mention that not all income is taxable at those rates, and some of it is tax exempt. Capital gains are taxed at 15% and they are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes. Also, there’s a $92,400 cap (in year 2006) on Social Security and Medicare, and caps such as that are clearly regressive.
    Jack wrote: The richer half of the population pays almost ALL the Federal tax.
    So what?

    What is important is the percentage of total federal taxes to total income, which you conveniently omitted.
    Again, remember that Warren Buffet paid only 17.7% in federal taxes on $46 Million in year 2006, while his secretary paid 30% in federal taxes on $60K.
    Do you think that is fair?

    Jack wrote: You may believe that taxes should be MORE progressive, …
    False.

    I believe taxes should be NEUTRAL (i.e. flat 17%) on ALL income above the poverty level.

    Jack wrote: You may believe that taxes should be MORE progressive, but they are not regressive.
    False again.

    The tax system is regressive, due to caps, tax loop-holes, lower tax rates on capital gains, and some types of income are exempt (from certain types of federal taxes) or taxed at lower rates; as evidenced by Warren Buffet who paid only 17.7% in federal taxes on $46 Million in year 2006, while his secretary paid 30% in federal taxes on $60K ?

    Posted by: d.a.n at April 7, 2008 6:49 PM
    Comment #250016

    Jack said: “[McCain] obviously knows as much about economics, given his experience on commerce committees etc, as most Senators, and more than Obama or Clinton.”

    How is that obvious? Here are McCain’s own recent words on the topic. “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should,” “I’ve got Greenspan’s book.”

    Note that it was Greenspan who abrogated mortgage industry, hedge fund, and collateral bundling many layers deep without FED oversight, and who saw the Housing bubble ballooning and exacerbated it with 1% interest rates to blow the balloon up further.

    McCain’s judgment is also deeply in question when attempts to shore up his lack of education and knowledge with the likes of former Sen. Phil Gramm, one of the most hostile and vehement of the neo-con conservatives ever to come out of Texas. Even GW Bush had the good sense to not bring Gramm into his administration as Treasury Secretary.

    This is the same Phil Gramm involved in the Enron scandal. Gramm’s wife Wendy had a part writing an exemption for Enron from federal oversight while she was serving on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. She then accepted a directorship at Enron. Gramm was personally involved when it came to light that he had helped to turn the exemption into law as well as push through the deregulation of energy markets that led in part to the Enron scandal.

    Gramm is a vice president of UBS Investment Bank. UBS and other investment banks are at the heart of the current mortgage debacle and recession.

    McCain is no better at selecting his advisors than GW Bush. And America cannot afford 4 more years of McBush.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at April 7, 2008 6:59 PM
    Comment #250017

    Jack, and yes, there is McCain, one of the The Keating Five who were accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

    When it comes to finance and economics, there is no question McCain is McWrong for America.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at April 7, 2008 7:03 PM
    Comment #250018
    Jack wrote: d.a.n.

    Listen to what you wrote re starting wars based on flawed intelligence. I agree that the intelligence was flawed but based on the information available at the time, the course of action made sense.


    Incompetence of that magnitude is not acceptable.

    If you invade a country based on WMD, it should be true.
    It wasn’t.
    That’s incompetence at the very least.
    Hans Blix was right.
    Though hard to prove, it is now fairly clear that there was an agenda in the administration.
    There were many false statements; over and over.
    There were misleading statements (at the very least).
    It’s simply not that easy to rationalize away.
    That is, until partisan motivations enter the picture; turning people into pretzels as they try to rationalize and defend the indefensible.

    If McCain is so wonderful, how did he allow this to happen, being on the Security Counsel, and 26 years in Congress (since 1982)?

    OOOohhhhh … like illegal immimgration, MLK holiday, and economics, he “not gets is” ?

    Posted by: d.a.n at April 7, 2008 7:05 PM
    Comment #250019

    CORRECTION: he “not gets is” “now gets it”

    Posted by: d.a.n at April 7, 2008 7:07 PM
    Comment #250020

    Jack-
    He changed his mind to become pro-ethanol when the facts became clear? Then he’s worse than I thought. The ethanol policy’s been a disaster. Current distillation methods using corn sugars actually put more CO2 in the atmosphere, and it drives up food prices, to boot!

    And no, you don’t have to trust his opinion when he waffles on waterboarding and other things like that. I’m prepared to disagree publically and openly with my candidate when he’s wrong.

    As for Religious Bigotry? Barack Obama has nothing to be ashamed of on that count. Y’all wouldn’t have to attack him by proxy if he had actually said and done anything to merit that kind of lable. Instead you have to broad brush him as a carbon copy of his pastor who has said some inflammatory things a few times in his ministry.

    Let me clue you in on something. There’s a difference between saying a few bigotted things in the course of your career and making a career of saying those things. Wright is a respected pastor and theologian, beyond the scope of this overheated media assassin. But Hagee?

    Let me tell you a little story about Hagee. I was watching television up at Baylor, and I saw him doing this whole preaching thing about the end of the world. Armageddon is a big focus of their theology. He’s talking about one of the final events, where the world is covered in flames, and he then takes the opportunity to make a crack about how futile this makes what the environmentalists are doing.

    Politics makes for some strange bedfellows, but you have to be careful about why you’re in bed with a rival. There are people, like Hagee and Parsley, whose main goal in supporting the Likudniks and other hawks in Israel is to start the clock running on Armageddon, so that the Jews can be either converted or killed in the final days.

    As for taxes? Well, we are running record deficits, and I don’t think you can find a majority out there that looks at this and finds it sound policy. The pressure will be on the Democrats to resolve this. The question here is, why aren’t you willing to give up tax cuts to avoid running deficits? Why aren’t you willing to do what it takes to balance the budget? Why are you guys in the lead on busting every budget we have?

    And what then, at the end of the day, gives you the right to compare yourselves favorably to us? Our president, against what you would consider his natural inclinations, balanced the budget. Your president, against what you would consider HIS natural inclinations, threw it right out of whack. Over the last generation, the Democrats have been the only party that has lead this country back to fiscal sanity in the executive branch. How does that work?

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 7, 2008 9:02 PM
    Comment #250021

    Stephen:

    I really disagree with you on the Wright thing. You are stuck on the racist part of the comments.

    Here is the commercial you will see. “God d@mn America”, Obama listening to the national anthem without his hand over his heart, and Michelle saying only now is she proud of America.

    It’s patriotism that is going to be an issue.

    Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 7, 2008 11:39 PM
    Comment #250022

    Stephen:

    And what then, at the end of the day, gives you the right to compare yourselves favorably to us? Our president, against what you would consider his natural inclinations, balanced the budget. Your president, against what you would consider HIS natural inclinations, threw it right out of whack. Over the last generation, the Democrats have been the only party that has lead this country back to fiscal sanity in the executive branch. How does that work?

    And what was so great about your president’s great accomplishment is that he did it single handidly without even a democractic Congress!!!

    Our President is a hero, he did it alone!!

    Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 7, 2008 11:41 PM
    Comment #250024

    d.a.n.

    When I compare today with 1995, you say that other problems (besides entitlements) are worse. Like what?

    Re progressive

    The Buffet example is very interesting but not very common. Buffet gets most of his income from capital gains, which are taxed at a lower rate. Most people get their income from … income. Beyond that, if you look at what people actually pay, the poorer half of the income group pays almost nothing at all. The average effective taxrate for the “poor” is certainly below 17%. BTW if Buffet’s secretary is paying more than 17% as an effective total rate, she is making a fairly high salary. If she really paid 30% on a $60,000 salary, she must be pretty stupid and filling out those forms incorrectly.

    David

    I know you want to run against George Bush. Now you also want to run against Phil Gramm and maybe Alan Greenspan because they are McCain supporters.

    This is how the race is going to be. Everybody who actually did anything will be second guessed by the Obama campaign, which is innocent of actually taking action and can pretend it would do better.

    So somebody like Greenspan knows nothing about economics? And the Obama folks will do better BECAUSE they have never tried and so never failed at anything important?

    I became a conservative at the University of Wisconsin because I had to put up with the hare brained ideas of the little lefty rich kids who claimed to love their country but hated everything about it. They would always compare communism or socialism in theory to the U.S. system we had in fact. Of course, theory has the wonderful attribute of being changeable. It can adapt in seconds and proponents can make claims about things they need not prove. This is the Obama strategy.

    All I can say is that if I had to rely on Alan Greenspan or Obama for economic advice, I would probably go with the guy who did something besides make money as a lawyer. Of course Obama real estate investments made lots of money, but it is easy when the game is fixed by your friends.

    Re Keating 5

    Read a little more about that and try to be fair. Even the guys who investigated it claim the he was included just so that it would not be only Dems. McCain’s connection with Keating was a lot less intense than Obama’s relationship with Rezko. So if we want to go the sleaze route, Obama has managed more sleaze in a shorter time by doing less. He is an efficient guy when it comes to shady deals.

    Stephen

    McCain is AGAINST ethanol subsidies, so you are supporting the McCain position (and going against Clinton & Obama). Thanks

    Re attack by proxy, Obama’s relationship with the Wright is stronger, longer and more intense than anything McCain has with a similar crackpot. I do not want to attack Obama for being associated the a racist bigot, since he has repudiated some of his words, but if you insist on bringing up the same sort of thing for McCain, I will be forced to counter with Obama. It is sort of a deterrence policy. So every time I hear about bigoted preachers, I will be answering with Wright and I will always win, because Wright provides such a treasure trove of hate. I will not use Wright except in response, but if I will use it to counter unfair attacks against McCain.

    Let me tell you a little story about Obama’s pastor of 23 years. He said that our government created and spread AIDS. He visited Libya with Louis Farrakhan and he said God D*mn America right from the pulpit.

    Let me clue you in 23 years of Obama association with bigotry and hate - listening to it every week is a long time.

    BTW – last year Wright said that Obama would cut him loose when the Jews found out. Wright is a truly despicable racist and Obama is his friend.

    As I said, Stephen, I prefer not to go this path, but I will not sit back and let anybody get away with unrequited character assassination and guilt by association. Obama’s associations are really easy to attack. You know that saying about glass houses.

    I find such things very unpleasant, so why don’t we just call it off. Keep the hate down. We will all be better off.

    McCain will win on the issues, but I won’t allow the personal destruction machine to work against him unrestricted. I will not initiate the attack, but I will respond to attacks by others and I have plenty to work with.

    Posted by: Jack at April 8, 2008 12:55 AM
    Comment #250025

    Part of me gains more respect for McCain everyday for taking the high road and not getting involved in the smears. If he continues through November with no hicups he’s probably odds on favorite to win.
    But another part of me remembers the smear attack he played in Florida against Romney.

    So I guess count me as a McCain supporter vs. liberalism.

    Posted by: andy at April 8, 2008 2:00 AM
    Comment #250032

    Nonetheless, he’s supporting ethanol now, despite his past positions against it

    Of course you will say that this conveniently timed pre-Iowa decision was a product of his great and abiding wisdom. He gives gas costs as his reason, but gas hasn’t got cheaper since then, and ethanol has disrupted our food economy to the point that much if not all of any such savings are going out the window. Corn-based Ethanol is dependent on taxpayers subsidies, so support for it at least implicitly requires that he not oppose those too roughly.

    In short, he flip-flopped.

    As for Reverend Wright, feel free to bring him up because He went to Libya with Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson to negotiate this man’s release

    As for God damn America, he didn’t say in colloquial terms of hatred. The damnation he speaks of is the prophetic kind, God inflicting punishment on a nation for its actions. Hagee and Fallwell, two people whose support McCain sought out, inflicted the same damnation on America, and will likely continue in their churches to say that if what they dislike about America’s moral behavior continues, damnation will come. Martin Luther King Jr. himself talked about God breaking the back of American power if its sin continues. It will never be popular to say such things, but it’s not unpatriotic for those who believe that America can be redeemed.

    I think it’s easy for you to assume from the brief, selective exposure that you have had, that Obama’s pastor is a raving racist with steam coming out of his ears. But if you think I will buy that, or let any of our readers buy that, given what I know, you’re mistaken.

    If you think it carries over to Obama? He’s not standing in a glass house, but a concrete bunker on this. He hasn’t said crap to deserve being called a racist himself.

    You can respond tit for tat, but you have no real evidence that Obama bears the taint of racism, while I have real evidence that McCain is surrounded by lobbyists and has accepted five time more money from them and their employees than Obama has. I have real evidence that his campaign is literally being run by them, and that for this help, he has done favors for them, reversing position and strengthening their influence over legislation.

    Such facts are mutually exclusive of the kind of image of the maverick fighting the special interests that he’s sold himself on. That’s why I keep on bringing these up.

    Craig Holmes-
    Don’t feed me that “Obama’s not a patriot” crap. New pride in your country is not mutually exclusive of previous love for your country. A country his pastor served, if you were so inclined to find out about it. As for the hand over his heart? That’s not a requirement during the Star-Spangled banner. A respectful stance is suggested, and it’s not like he’s doing the electric boogaloo during that one episode. Otherwise there’s plenty of documentation of him pledging allegiance and singing the national anthem with his hand over his heart.

    Now you have a choice here: You can take those incidents at face value, and presume him patriotic, or you can approach him with a prejudicial notion that he’s not, and any sign he would give would be a false sign meant to deceive people. In that case, Obama could steal the microphone from the singer and belt a rendition that brings tears to the eyes of even the most skeptical resident of a red or blue state, and you guys would still disbelieve him.

    As for Clinton’s responsibility for the surpluses, logically speaking he seems to be the key ingredient. If the Republican Congress were, then Bush would have been restrained. Clinton controlled his own budgets and spending, maintained proper tax rates. He was willing to cut down where Bush seemed unable to contain his excess, or that of Congress.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 8, 2008 8:11 AM
    Comment #250033

    Stephen

    Ethanol subsidies are the problem. Ethanol will be a valuable part of the fuel mix if it is allowed to find its place in the marketplace. I have nothing against ethanol. I oppose the big government programs that subsidize it. I don’t have problem with his tepidly expressed support of ethanol. Your guys are for subsidies. I oppose them.

    Re the Obama-McCain deterrence policy. I am not going to argue the merits. I just promise to use Obama’s racist and crooked friends whenever somebody brings up similar unfair connections with John McCain. You know that I can write in an amusing way that will make it stick. I will use my rhetorical skill to smack Obama. I am good at this. I don’t need what you would accept as real evidence because I will be arguing simply by association. You know that I have the ability the bust that concrete bunker you say protects Obama because I will simply go around it.

    I do not think Obama is a racist and I know that John McCain is not. I will avoid the low road myself and I will use what power I have to prevent others from taking it. I will simply match innuendo. I will NOT bring it up independently. In other words, I promise no first use of this weapon but will deploy it massively in defense. In other words, the same sort of mud anybody throws at McCain will land twofold on Obama. Let’s not do that.

    Let’s just stipulate that neither McCain nor Obama … nor Clinton is a bigot or a racist. Lets just stipulate that they are not corrupt. Let’s stick to what THEY have said or done and not what people we can associate with them have said or done. There is plenty of fair game.

    Your move.

    Posted by: Jack at April 8, 2008 8:39 AM
    Comment #250043
    Jack wrote:
      d.a.n.

      When I compare today with 1995, you say that other problems (besides entitlements) are worse. Like what?


    Jack, are you serious?
    • (01) The total $22.2 Trillion federal government debt has never been larger, both in size and as a percentage (160%) of the $13.86 Trillion GDP, when including the $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 million baby boomer bubble approaching (that’s 13,175 new recipients per day!), the to-date, and future costs of 2 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, unfunded Medicare liabilities (expanded by Bush and Congress to provide prescription drug beneifts, mortgage melt-down, inflation, the falling U.S. Dollar, etc., etc., etc.)

    • (02) Total personal household debt nation-wide ($13.88 Trillion) has never been larger, both in size and as a percentage (over 100%) of the $13.86 Trillion GDP.

    • (03) Total nation-wide debt ($53 Trillion) has never been larger, both in size and as a percentage (381%) of the $13.86 Trillion GDP ($66.0 Trillion if the $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security is included).

    • (04) Real Median Incomes have now fallen since year 1999, and are also now below 1995 levels (especially considering more regressive taxation since year 2000, and inflation). Also, in 2004 Dollars (adjusted for inflation), real median household incomes have barely risen (from $40K to $43K) in 30 year). If more workers per household are factored in too, real median household incomes have never been lower.

    • (05) Illegal immigration has never been worse and more costly, costing American citizens an estimated $70 Billion to $338 Billion annually in net losses. The problem has quadrupled since the amnesty of year 1986 (which John McCain voted for).

    • (06) The wealth disparity gap has never been larger since year 1930. It changed direction and the gap has been growing larger since year 1976.

    • (07) Taxation has been regressive since year 2000 (or before). We have never had so many different kinds of taxes; many of which are regressive sales taxes.

    • (08) Home equities have never been lower (below 50%) since year 1945.

    • (09) Home ownership has fallen since year 2006 for low-income and middle-income groups. A study shows that only 59.6% (money.cnn.com/2006/03/22/real_estate/homeownership_study/index.htm) of working class families owned their homes in 2003, lower than the 62.5% in year 1978. That is, home ownership is rising among the wealthy, while falling for most Americans that are losing wealth, losing equity, losing income, and losing their homes at record levels. Currently, home ownership is in a record plunge, and the 4th quarter of 2007 had the biggest one-year drop (1.1%) since tracking began in year 1965.

    • (10) Foreclosures are at record levels (one-simple-idea.com/DisparityTrend.htm#Foreclosures).
      • JAN-2008: 250,000

      • JAN-2007: 145,000

      • JAN-2006: 105,000

      • JAN-2005: 70,000
    • (11) Average personal savings rates are negative (since year 2005), and have never been worse since 1933.

    • (12) Energy vulnerability: oil and energy prices have never been higher (both in nominal price and adjusted for inflation; worse than the spike in year 1981: one-simple-idea.com/USD_Falling.htm#Oil).

    • (13) Federal government bloat has never been worse, and continues to grow to nightmare proportions. There are now more jobs in government than all manufacturing nation-wide.

    • (14) Global competition has never been stronger. Trade deficits have never been larger (see China). Transnational corporations want cheap labor (WageStagnation + CheapLabor = BigProfits). Jobs are leaving the nation in droves; a trend that started in the early 1970s, and also helps to explain why real median household incomes have actually been falling since year 1978.

    • (15) Medicare has hundreds of billions of unfunded liabilities per year, which are being funded by more borrowing and more debt. It is not sustainable; especially with the approaching 77 million baby-boomer bubble. In year 2007, Medicare (16%) and Medicaid (7%) combined were 23% of the $2.7 Trillion federal budget. And Bush’s pandering and expanding Medicare to provide prescription drug benefits made the situation worse.

    • (16) Inflation was higher in the mid-to-late 1970s and early 1980s, but we have had positive inflation since year 1956. 3% to 5% inflation doesn’t sound bad, but when it is every year, it becomes exponential (i.e. 3% this year is really more than 3% of last year, which is more than 3% the year before, etc., etc., etc.). Thus, a 1950 U.S. Dollar is now worth less than 10 cents.

    • (17) 2 Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (cost as of Mar-2008 estimated between $517 Billion to $2+ Trillion)

    • (18) skyrocketing health care costs

    • (19) declining quality and rising costs of education

    • (20) election system problems (flawed voting machines); government is FOR-SALE; and George Bush (43)(43) says the U.S. Constitution: “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!” (source: Capitol Hill Blue)

    • (21) and violent crime rates are on the rise again, after falling for many years (In 2006, for example, an estimated 1,417,000 violent crimes were committed across the country. That was a sharp rise from the 1,360,000 crimes reported in 2004 and approaches the estimated 1,425,000-mark reached in 2002.)
    Jack wrote: Re progressive

    The Buffet example is very interesting but not very common.


    False.

    The wealthy earn a huge portion of their income from capital gains (and some dividends), which are taxed only at 5% to 15% and are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes.
    Individuals and corporations pay income tax on the net total of all their capital gains just as they do on other sorts of income, but the tax rate for individuals is lower on “long-term capital gains”, which are gains on assets that had been held for over one year before being sold. The tax rate on long-term gains was reduced in 2003 to 15%, or to 5% for individuals in the lowest two income tax brackets. Short-term capital gains are taxed at a higher rate of 15% tax rate on capital gains and some eligible dividends (scheduled to expire in 2011 as a result of the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act signed into law by President Bush on May 17, 2006 (P.L. 109-222)). In 2011, the capital gains tax rates will “sunset” (i.e revert back) to the rates in effect before 2003, which were generally 20%.

    Also, Social Security taxes are regressive, because they are capped (94,200 in year 2006).

    Jack wrote: Buffet gets most of his income from capital gains, which are taxed at a lower rate.
    That’s right. Do you think it is fair that Warren Buffet paid only 17.7% in federal taxes on $46 Million in year 2006, while his secretary paid 30% in federal taxes on $60K ?
    Jack wrote: Most people get their income from … income.
    Exactly. And income is not taxed the same. The wealthy who receive huge amounts of income from capital gains are taxed at a lower tax rate. That is regressive.
    Jack wrote: Beyond that, if you look at what people actually pay, the poorer half of the income group pays almost nothing at all.
    So what?

    The issue isn’t the mere amounts.
    The issue is percentages.
    Are you saying everyone should pay an equal amount of tax?
    What’s wrong with a NEUTRAL flat tax (e.g. 17%) on ALL income above the poverty level?

    Jack wrote: The average effective taxrate for the “poor” is certainly below 17%.
    So what? Do you think the poor should be taxed more?
    Jack wrote: BTW if Buffet’s secretary is paying more than 17% as an effective total rate, she is making a fairly high salary.
    False.

    The salary of Warren Buffet’s secretary in year 2006 was $60K, which you already acknowledge below.

    Jack wrote: If she really paid 30% on a $60,000 salary, she must be pretty stupid and filling out those forms incorrectly.
    False again, since the highest total federal taxes on $60K can be as high as 35.3% (federal income tax + Social Security taxes + Medicare taxes). But Warren Buffet’s secretary should find your comments interesting.

    For example:

    • the top income tax bracket for $60K is 20%

    • Social Security tax is: 2 * 6.2% = 12.4%

    • Medicare tax is: 2 * 1.45% = 2.9% (no cap on Medicare)

    • Total Social Security and total Medicare tax rate = 15.3% = 12.4% + 2.9%

    • The employer’s supposedly pays half of the Social Security and Medicare tax, but it really comes out of the employee’s salary; the self-employed pay the entire 15.3% ;
    Therefore, the maximum percentage of federal taxes on $60K of payroll could be as high as 35.3% (e.g. 20% + 15.3%).

    However, Warren Buffet’s secretary paid less than 35.3% (e.g. 30%) in total federal taxes in year 2006 on $60K income, which is probably because of the personal deduction, and/or a home mortgage interest deduction, and/or a dependent, and/or some other deduction.

    Still, 30% on $60K income is far more than Warren Buffet’s 17.7% on $46 Million.
    Do you think that is fair?

    Posted by: d.a.n at April 8, 2008 12:03 PM
    Comment #250044

    CORRECTION: Still, 30% on $60K income is far more a far larger percentage than Warren Buffet’s 17.7% on $46 Million.

    Posted by: d.a.n at April 8, 2008 12:24 PM
    Comment #250047

    d.a.n.

    I think they are mixing up different things. Buffet’s tax is problably his effective total rate. I am sure he paid many millions of dollars in taxes, but since he gives a lot of his money away, he doesn’t pay as much in taxes.

    His secretary (who he should pay more than $60k, BTW) cannot be paying almost $20k in Federal taxes. My wife and I make significantly more than that and we do not pay that much.

    She doesn’t pay the top rate on all her income. Part is exempt and part is subject to lower rates. She evidently doesn’t own a home, have any dependents, pay state taxes or give any money to charity.

    Your figures on SS are mendacious. His secretary is not self employed. She is not paying the full amount of SS. Presumably Warren Buffet is paying the other half. It is not part of her salary. If you want to assume it is, then you problaby support privatizing SS. I would not got that far.

    I presume you pay taxes. It is tax season. I suggest you DO NOT take your own advice re taxes. If you think like this, you are paying much more than the Federal government requires.

    Re being fair - yes it is fair. They are different sorts of income. Capital gains are often reinvested and we want to encourage that.

    You also much understand that it is possible to loose money and still owe capital gains taxes. If you have a mutual fund that went down last year that you did not sell, but had capital gains sales, you will pay taxes on that money you did not make.

    Posted by: Jack at April 8, 2008 12:58 PM
    Comment #250048

    Re the poor tax RATES

    The poorest 20% of the population pays no net taxes at all. They actully get more in credits than they pay in taxes. Their effective rate is making money. The next 20% pays almost no taxes. It really doesn’t matter what rate you want to call it. Zero actual payment is still small.

    I am not trying to defend the tax structure, but merely explain the tax myths about the poor paying the big bucks.

    Posted by: Jack at April 8, 2008 1:03 PM
    Comment #250053

    Yes, the rich pay most of the taxes in this country. Why?
    BECAUSE THEY HAVE MOST OF THE MONEY!!!!

    Posted by: charles ross at April 8, 2008 3:58 PM
    Comment #250055

    Yes Charles

    That’s good. You hit the definition. The guy who runs the fastest wins the race and the person at the end of the line never gets to the front.

    In addition to all that, half of all Americans earn less than the median income.

    Here’s a real good one - the average American has fewer than two legs.

    All these things are true. The rich pay most of the taxes. ALmost all the taxes are paid by the wealthiest half of the population.

    You know that income is not a random event.

    Posted by: Jack at April 8, 2008 4:45 PM
    Comment #250062

    Jack-
    I think subsidies are good for getting things off the ground, not for keeping them off it once they’re going. Which means good judgment needs to be exercised on such things. No victory is around the corner mentality when confronted by a subsidy that isn’t working

    I also would include tax breaks under this “policy” of mine, because they’re little more than supply side friendly subsidies. If you support those, you don’t really oppose subsidies, you just oppose a certain ideology about their employment.

    Regarding that other “policy”? My policy is, facts talk, bulls*** walks. The facts paint a much more moderate picture of Wright. For example, that Khaddafi deal. He was bargaining for the release of a serviceman, but that part gets conveniently left out by conservative attack dogs and those who buy that crap too quickly to do the proper research. He said that he was afraid that the fact he went would be distorted by Obama’s enemies, and you’re pretty much proving the point he was really making.

    Meanwhile, like I’ve said time and again, McCain’s surrounding himself with the enemy he’s supposed to fight, accepting more of their money than his opponent, and failing to refuse money from PACs, who unlike individual employees, are by necessity unable to vote against their funders interests.

    However much rhetorical skill you employ, you cannot change the past, or wish away current realities. That’s why I talk about his ties to lobbyists rather than gossiping about possible extra-marital affairs, or this.

    I am not taking the low road by insisting on challenging a false record on party independence and independence from the Washington Lobbyist machine. Given the evidence, I believe McCain has no more call to campaign on his political spotlessness than Eliot Spitzer or Bill Clinton have to campaign on their sexual purity.

    There is prima facie evidence of his departure from these standards, and I will bring it up as long as you continue to paint your candidate, however nicely and mild mannerly, as some sort of saint on the matter. This is a debate you will not win by threatening to dig up the dirt. So far, you have not convinced me that you can throw anything at me that hasn’t been thrown at us from the other side of the primary and debunked already.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 8, 2008 5:21 PM
    Comment #250065

    I reject the idea that possessing money automatically represents some higher level of ethic or virtue, which is what you are implying in your “income is not a random event” comment.
    We have a caste system in this country, a version of a good old boy network. It is an open system by law and a closed one in fact. What does that mean? if you are a child of poor, uneducated parents in America, the odds are overwhelming that you will be poor and under-educated as a adult.
    Do people who are rich earn their money? I’ve heard that Romney is worth a half-billion dollars. Do you really think that he “earned” that, or was he simply benefiting from a system that guaranteed that level of reward?
    When I hear of a person who has a lot of money, whether it be Bill or Mitt my first thought is that they must have done something immoral to get it.
    I’ll say it again, the rich pay most of the taxes because
    THEY HAVE MOST OF THE MONEY!!!
    It’s rare that the very poor become rich and rare that the very rich ever become poor.

    Posted by: charles ross at April 8, 2008 5:33 PM
    Comment #250070
    Jack wrote: d.a.n.

    I think they are mixing up different things.


    False. The numbers are easily verifiable. See example below.
    Jack wrote: Buffet’s tax is problably his effective total rate.
    Exactly. No one said otherwise.
    Jack wrote: His secretary (who he should pay more than $60k, BTW) cannot be paying almost $20k in Federal taxes.
    False. See example below.
    Jack wrote: My wife and I make significantly more than that and we do not pay that much.
    You may have tax advantages some are unable to take advantage of.

    Using the entire 15.3% of taxes for Social Security and Medicare, and a standard deduction of $5150, and $3,300 for standard exemptions:
    Tax = [ ($60K - $5150 Personal Standard Deduction - $3,300 for standard exemptions) * 18.33% tax rate ] + ($60K * 15.3%) Social Security and Medicare taxes)
    Tax = [ ($51,550) * 18.33% ] + ($9,180 Social Security and Medicare taxes)
    Tax = [ $9,451 ] + ($9,180 Social Security and Medicare taxes)
    Tax = $18,631 = 31% of $60K (which is more than Warren Buffet’s 17.7% of federal taxes on $46 Million)

    If only half (i.e. 7.65%) of the total of 15.3% of Social Security and Medicare taxes are included:
    Tax = [ ($51,550) * 18.33% ] + ($9,180 / 2 Social Security and Medicare taxes)
    Tax = [ $9,451 ] + ($4,590 Social Security and Medicare taxes)
    Tax = $14,941 = 23.4% of $60K (which is still more than Warren Buffet’s 17.7% of federal taxes on $46 Million)

    Jack wrote: She doesn’t pay the top rate on all her income. Part is exempt and part is subject to lower rates.
    True, but the percentage of total federal taxes is 31% (or 23.4% if only half of the Social Security and Medicare taxes are included).

    In the previous example (in the previous comment: www.watchblog.com/republicans/archives/005920.html#250043), a 20% tax rate was used.
    In the more accurate example above, with the standard deduction of $5150 and the standard exemptions of $3300 are included, the income tax is 9451 / 51,550 = 18.33%.
    The total federal taxes, including Social Security (whether using the total 15.3% or only half of that) are more than Warren Buffet’s total fedaral tax percentage of 17.7% on $46 Million.

    Jack wrote: She evidently doesn’t own a home, have any dependents, pay state taxes or give any money to charity.
    Probably. If so, it may almost be completely paid off, in which case the mortgage interest is small.
    Jack wrote: Your figures on SS are mendacious.
    Nonsense. As fully disclosed above, the 15.3% includes the half paid by the employer, and the half paid by the employee, because it really comes out of the employee’s wages.
    Jack wrote: His secretary is not self employed.
    No one alleged that his secretary was self-employed.
    Jack wrote: She is not paying the full amount of SS. Presumably Warren Buffet is paying the other half. It is not part of her salary.
    Yes, the employee is actually paying most (if not all) of the the full 15.3% for Social Security and Medicare.

    What is mendacious is believing the entire 15.3% of Social Security and Medicare taxes are not effectively coming out of an employees wages?
    The money has to come from some where.
    It’s not like the Federal Reserve, which creates money out of thin air.

    Jack wrote: If you want to assume it is, then you problaby support privatizing SS. I would not got that far.
    “support privatizing SS” ?

    Corporate income taxes are passed on to employees and serve to effectively reduce employee’s wages.
    Likewise with Social Security and Medicare taxes, which essentially come out of the employee’s wages, or get passed on to consumers too.
    Again, it is very plausiblel to argue that some (if not all) of the 15.3% may effectively come from the employee’s wages.
    Perhaps, some of the cost is passed on to the consumers too as hihger prices?
    However, the self-employed have to pay the entire 15.3% themselves.

    Jack wrote: I presume you pay taxes. It is tax season.
    Yes. I do personal (1040), corporate (type “C”) taxes (1120), and Texas Franchise taxes every year.
    Jack wrote: I suggest you DO NOT take your own advice re taxes. If you think like this, you are paying much more than the Federal government requires.
    Nonsense.

    Twisting the facts won’t change their validity.

    Jack wrote: Re being fair - yes it is fair. They are different sorts of income. Capital gains are often reinvested and we want to encourage that.
    Finally. Fine.

    Now we know that you support higher tax rates for hard earned income, than on income derived by playing with money to make money.

    Jack wrote: Capital gains are often reinvested and we want to encourage that.
    So? That’s a lame rationalization.

    The question is not about re-investment.
    The question is why should hard earned income be taxed at a higher tax rate than capital gains?
    And you think that is fair?

    Jack wrote: You also much understand that it is possible to loose money and still owe capital gains taxes. If you have a mutual fund that went down last year that you did not sell, but had capital gains sales, you will pay taxes on that money you did not make.
    Well, that’s the down-side of creating such a stupid tax system and trying to tax capital gains before they are actually realized.

    The alternative is to sell the mutual fund.
    Also, the mutual fund could recover later.

    Jack wrote: Re the poor tax RATES

    The poorest 20% of the population pays no net taxes at all.


    So? You can’t get blood out of a turnip.

    The poorest 20% of the U.S. population have negative (i.e. debt) net worth.
    The poorest 40% of the U.S. population has (on average) ZERO net worth.
    And 80% of the U.S. population owns only 17% of all wealth in the U.S.

    Jack wrote: They actully get more in credits than they pay in taxes. Their effective rate is making money.
    It amounts to welfare, and it ain’t much.
    Jack wrote: The next 20% pays almost no taxes.
    That’s because they have very little income. Is that a crime?
    Jack wrote: It really doesn’t matter what rate you want to call it. Zero actual payment is still small.
    Again, you can’t get blood out of a turnip?
    Jack wrote: I am not trying to defend the tax structure, but merely explain the tax myths about the poor paying the big bucks.
    No one ever said the poor were “paying big bucks”.

    It is a mystery how you ever came up with the notion.
    No one wrote that the poor were being over taxed, or “paying the big bucks to the federal government.

    The larger middle class is being unfairly taxed, because the tax system is regressive, because:

    • (01) capital gains rates are from 5% to 15% (lower than payroll income tax rates for most Americans)

    • (02) capital gains are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes.

    • (03) Social Security taxes are regressive due to the cap (e.g. $97,500 for year 2007, $94,200 for year 2006)

    • (04) a myriad of tax loop-holes and severe complexity help reduce taxes for the wealthy in ways most Americans can not utilize.
    Therefore, the current tax system is regressive …

    _________Current REGRESSIVE TAX System:________________
    35% |- - - - - - - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    33% |- - - - - - - -o- - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    30% |- - - - - - o - - - - - - - - -o- - - - - - - - - - - - - - = (30% total
    27% |- - - - - -o- - - - - - - - - - - - -o- - - - - - - - - - - - federal tax for
    24% |- - - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -o- - - - - - - - - secretay making $60K)
    21% |- - - - -o- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -o- - - - -
    18% |- - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - o = (17.7% Warren
    15% |- - - -o- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Buffet’s total
    12% |- - - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - federal taxes on
    09% |- - -o- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - $46 Million)
    06% |- - o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    03% |- -o- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    00% |o o - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ___$0__30__60__90_120_150_180_210_240_270_300_330_360_380_400_$thousands … $

    ___________FLAT (NEUTRAL) 17% INCOME TAX:_____________
    17% _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _o_ _ o
    16% _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ o _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    14% _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _o_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    12% _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ o _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    10% _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ o _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    08% _ _ _ _ _ _ _ o _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    06% _ _ _ _ _o_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    04% _ _ _o_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    02% _ o _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    00% o _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    ___$0__30__60__90_120_150_180_210_240_270_300_330_360_380_400_$thousands … $

    Do you not believe a flat (NEUTRAL) 17% income tax on all income above the poverty level would be more fair?

    BTW, you asked above …

    Jack wrote:
      d.a.n.

    When I compare today with 1995, you say that other problems (besides entitlements) are worse. Like what?
    … and I provided a number of examples.

    John McCain has been in Congress for 26 years (since 1982).
    Where was he when all of that was happening?
    In 1986, he was voting for the first amnesty that quadrupled the problem, but he says “he now gets it”.
    He said economics was not his strong suit, and says security is his primary focus, but ignores near-wide-open borders and the fact that more Americans have been killed in 3 years by illegal aliens than all U.S. troops killed (4023 as of 7-APR-2008) in Iraq in over 5 years.
    John McCain should read your article: “Misplaced Compassion”
    We also have John McCain and Feingold (in part) to thank for the miserable campaign finance situation.
    John McCain voted NO on banning more types of Congressional gifts (Jul 1995).
    John McCain said the CIA assessments on Iraqi WMDs were all wrong (Mar 2005).
    If security is is specialty, what the hell happened?
    John McCain said it is important to win (in Iraq), important for U.S. to be superpower.
    Win what? Redemption, or peace?
    John McCain said the Social Security trust fund is a ticking time bomb, set to go off in 2014 (Jan 2000).
    Yet, John McCain voted YES on using the Social Security Surplus to fund tax reductions (Jul 1999).
    John McCain said he supported term limits on Congress. (Jul 1998).
    However, two years later, he flip-flopped and said No to term limits; that they throw away the good with the bad (Jan 2000).
    Hmmmm … throws away the good with the bad?
    With so much bad, that may be a good idea?
    … more: one-simple-idea.com/VotingRecords1.htm#JohnMcCain

    Posted by: d.a.n at April 8, 2008 5:54 PM
    Comment #250074
    charles ross wrote: Yes, the rich pay most of the taxes in this country. Why? BECAUSE THEY HAVE MOST OF THE MONEY!!!!
    True.

    And there is nothing wrong with being wealthy.
    The issue is not wealth itself, despite the “mendacious” attempts to twist it into a class warfare issue.
    The issue is merely one of fairness.
    The issue is not the amount of tax paid.
    The issue is the percentage of tax paid (relative to entire income).
    The larger middle class is being unfairly taxed, because the tax system is regressive, because:

    • (01) capital gains rates are from 5% to 15% (lower than payroll income tax rates for most Americans)

    • (02) capital gains are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes.

    • (03) Social Security taxes are regressive due to the cap (e.g. $97,500 for year 2007, $94,200 for year 2006)

    • (04) a myriad of tax loop-holes and severe complexity help reduce taxes for the wealthy in ways most Americans can not utilize.
    Also, one of the issues is the abuse of wealth to exploit others, and control and influence government (e.g. government is FOR-SALE, as evidenced by 99.85% of all 200 million eligible voters that are vastly out-spent by a tiny 0.15% of all 200 million voters who make 83% of all federal campaign donations (of $200 or more).

    Jack wrote: Yes Charles

    That’s good. You hit the definition. The guy who runs the fastest wins the race and the person at the end of the line never gets to the front.


    Lame. Jack believes that some income should be taxed less than other types.

    Jack above admits that he thinks it is fair that capital gains are taxed a lower rate than income earned by working …

    Jack wrote:
    Re: being fair - yes it is fair. They are different sorts of income. Capital gains are often reinvested and we want to encourage that.

    See, there you have it.

    It exists. Therefore it must be so.
    We want to encourage the rich to invest.
    Perhaps we should not make the rich pay any taxes?
    That would really be good for investments, eh?
    According to Jack, making money by playing with money (i.e. capital gains) should be taxed less than income earned from from working.
    Why is a mystery?
    For example, take interest income.
    Making money by usury (i.e. interest income) is far, far more respectable than earning an hourly wage by hard labor.

    Jack wrote: Here’s a real good one - the average American has fewer than two legs.
    But, with logic that, anything can be rationalized.
    Jack wrote: All these things are true. The rich pay most of the taxes.
    The tax system is still regressive, as evidenced by Warren Buffet who paid only 17.7% in federal taxes on $46 Million in year 2006, while his secretary paid 30% in federal taxes on $60K ?

    We get it.
    The rich pay most of the taxes.
    That proves everything.
    There’s no need for further debate.
    Pay no mind to the fact that the wealthy pay a smaller percentage of total income to taxes (i.e. the tax system is regressive).
    Pay no mind to the

    But that’s fair ?

    Jack wrote:
    Re: being fair - yes it is fair. They are different sorts of income. Capital gains are often reinvested and we want to encourage that.

    That still does not explain why hard earned income should be taxed at a greater percentage than capital gains.

    Jack wrote: ALmost all the taxes are paid by the wealthiest half of the population.
    The tax system is still regressive.

    Besides, 2% of the U.S. Population owns 50% of all wealth in the U.S.
    ___40% of WEALTH OWNED by 1% of U.S. Population____
    045% + -o- - - - - - - - -
    040% +o- o - - - - - -o-o-
    035% + - -o- -o- - -o- - -
    030% + - - -o- -o- o - - -
    025% + - - - - - - - - - -
    020% + - - - - - -o- - - -
    000% +_____________________YEAR
    ______ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2
    ______ 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 0 0
    ______ 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
    ______ 0 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 0 0
    1% of U.S. population owned 35% to 45% of all wealth in the Great Depression (1920s to 1940s).
    1% of U.S. population owned 20% of all wealth in year 1976.
    1% of U.S. population now owns 40% of all wealth in year 2008 (never worse since the Great Depression, among these other things).

    Jack wrote: You know that income is not a random event.
    ? ? ? What ever that means.

    If some types of income are to be taxed at different rates, why are capital gains (which the wealthy have much more of than most Americans) be taxed at a lower percentage than the person working hard for an hourly rate?

    At any rate, the voters will have the government that the voters elect.

    Posted by: d.a.n at April 8, 2008 6:36 PM
    Comment #250093

    d.a.n.

    The probably flawed example of Buffet’s secretary notwithstanding, the tax rate IS progressive. The poorer half of the population pay almost no taxes. The poorest 20% actually gets more in credits than it pays in taxes. You cannot get below zero.

    It is possible that some rich people pay a smaller % than some poor people – of course it is. That does not mean control the whole situation.

    The reasons I mentioned that the average man has less than two legs is to show the problem with your kind of analysis. You can find anomalies. They are interesting and raise questions, but they do not prove a case.

    Your chart, BTW, is … what is the term? … BS. I am a taxpayer. I have been in all those brackets. I paid more and a greater % of my income when I made more than when I made less.

    Loop holes, BTW, are often necessary. If I invest 100 and make 110 the next year, you cannot tax me on 110 w/o taking into account the cost of making that money.

    The bottom line fact is that the richest half of the population pays almost ALL the Federal taxes. I do not beleive it is a good idea to reduce the taxes paid by the lower half to zero.

    Posted by: Jack at April 9, 2008 3:49 AM
    Comment #250105
    Jack wrote: d.a.n. The probably flawed example of Buffet’s secretary notwithstanding, the tax rate IS progressive.
    “probably flawed” ?

    There is no flaw in the example.
    Warren Buffet’s example is not uncommon, nor an isolated example for most wealthy people, since capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than most Americans making much less, and most wealthy people have more capital gains than most Americans.

    The proof is there for all to see, in addition to the break down, which you still have not successfully refuted. But feel free to try.

    Jack wrote: … the tax rate IS progressive.
    Of course the income “tax rate” table is progressive, but the tax system is regressive, which is easy to prove, and the Warren Buffet example is not an uncommon or isolated example, since most wealthy people have a large portion of income from capital gains, dividends, and interest (i.e. money from money).
    Jack wrote: The poorer half of the population pay almost no taxes.
    So what? What do you think that proves?

    The poor still pay Social Security (6.2% x 2) and Medicare taxes (1.45% x 2); a total of 15.3% (the employer pays half of that, but part (or all) of it arguably comes out of the employee’s income.
    40% of the U.S. population has essentially (on average) ZERO net-worth.
    20% of the U.S. population has a negative net-worth.
    What do you want?
    Again, you can’t get blood out of a turnip.

    Jack wrote: The poorest 20% actually gets more in credits than it pays in taxes. You cannot get below zero.
    So what? The poor are poor.

    The poor still pay Social Security (6.2% x 2) and Medicare taxes (1.45% x 2); a total of 15.3% .
    What does that have to do with the regressive tax system?

    Jack wrote: It is possible that some rich people pay a smaller % than some poor people – of course it is.
    And you think that is fair, since you wrote …
    Jack wrote: Re being fair - yes it is fair. They are different sorts of income. Capital gains are often reinvested and we want to encourage that.
    Jack wrote: That does not mean control the whole situation.
    ? ? ? Not sure what you mean by that?
    Jack wrote: The reasons I mentioned that the average man has less than two legs is to show the problem with your kind of analysis.
    Nonsense.
    Jack wrote: You can find anomalies. They are interesting and raise questions, but they do not prove a case.
    Nonsense.

    The proof is there, and simply saying it isn’t true is what in fact does “prove a case”.

    Jack wrote: Your chart, BTW, is … what is the term? … BS.
    You wish it was BS.

    The chart explains perfectly how the tax system (not income tax table; there’s a difference) is regressive, and how Warren Buffet paid 17.7% in federal taxes on $46 Million, while his secretary paid 30% in federal taxes on $60K.

    Feel free to try and disprove the facts? (and those other things you asked about above).
    And don’t bother to provide income tax tables as proof, since those only show rates on adjusted income (after a myriad of tax loop-holes and deductions), and do not apply to capital gains and some dividends anyway, and which are also exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes.

    Jack wrote: I am a taxpayer.
    Really? Well then, why debate this any further. That proves everything, eh?
    Jack wrote: I have been in all those brackets. I paid more and a greater % of my income when I made more than when I made less.
    So? That does not refute or disprove the regressiveness of the tax system (NOTE: the word system; not income tax table).
    Jack wrote: Loop holes, BTW, are often necessary. If I invest 100 and make 110 the next year, you cannot tax me on 110 w/o taking into account the cost of making that money.
    Only if they are real expenses, such as (for example) deducting the cost of raw wood and materials to build furniture for resale.

    The real income is the sale price minus the cost of labor and materials.
    however, that does not apply to most Americans who receive wages.
    Aside from the standard deductions, the only major deduction most Americans have is the mortgage interest and home property tax deductions (if large enough).

    However, a vast number of deductions have nothing to do with deducted expenses, which are tax loop-holes.

    But also, one of the major problems that makes the tax system regressive is that payroll income (i.e. wages) are subject to:

    • (1) Social Security taxes (6.2% x 2 = 15.3% on first $97,500 (for year 2007))

    • (2) Medicare taxes (1.45% x 2 = 2.9%)

    • (3) Federal Income taxes (0% to 35%)

    • (4) State Income taxes (varies by state)

    • (5) Capital gains and some dividends are taxed at a lesser 5% to 15% (which is a lower rate than the average percentage of income paid to federal taxes for most Americans)

    • (6) Capital gains are also exempt from Medicare and Social Security taxes
    That is a regressive tax system.

    Feel free to try and prove otherwise.
    And don’t bother saying the poor pay no income taxes.
    Besides, the poor still pay Social Security and Medicare taxes.

    Jack wrote: The bottom line fact is that the richest half of the population pays almost ALL the Federal taxes.
    That is not the bottom line.

    The percentage is the bottom line.
    However, you believe

    Jack wrote:
    Re being fair - yes it is fair. They are different sorts of income. Capital gains are often reinvested and we want to encourage that.

    Do you also believe a flat 17% on all types of income (above the poverty level) would be an unfair tax?

    Jack wrote: I do not beleive it is a good idea to reduce the taxes paid by the lower half to zero.
    Who said half of Americans should pay ZERO taxes?

    Besides, remember, they are still paying Social Security (6.2% x 2) and Medicare taxes (1.45% x 2); a total of 15.3% .
    And that is on their gross income.
    And since there is a cap on Social Security (e.g. $97,500 in year 2007), the wealthy don’t pay tax on income above the cap.
    Why do some wealthy complain about Social Security and Medicare taxes when there is a cap, and capital gains are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes?
    That is, the lower and middle income groups are paying the largest percentage of their gross incomes to Social Security and Medicare than the weatlhy.
    AHHhhhhhh … but equal percentages aren’t fair

    Jack wrote:
    Re being fair - yes it is fair. They are different sorts of income. Capital gains are often reinvested and we want to encourage that.

    Capital gains should be taxed less than income earned via an hourly wage for labor?

    Why not tax all income the same percentage?
    Also, the government has borrowed and spent $12.8 Trillion from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching.
    Therefore, sometime in the not too distant future, those tax payers are going to get screwed, because the surplus is gone.

    Posted by: d.a.n at April 9, 2008 8:56 AM
    Comment #250120

    d.a.n

    Your crediblity would grow if you woudl stop trying to attribute all the SS taxes to the worker. In the Buffet case, HE paid half; his employee paid the other half.

    We can stop talking about this progressive stuff anyway. I don’t really care. I know the poor (I used to be one) don’t pay much in taxes. I know that now that I have a higher income, I pay a lot more AND a greater %. I know that the only way to get the poor to pay less is to lower their taxes, which we have done on the Federal level.

    IF you want to address SS taxes, you have to give up the idea that it is an insurance program or a contributory pension. If you want to just call SS a tax and treat it as such, breaking the mythical link between contibution and pension, I am with you. Most of our Democratic friends will object, however.

    Posted by: Jack at April 9, 2008 12:08 PM
    Comment #250133
    Jack wrote: d.a.n Your crediblity would grow if you woudl stop trying to attribute all the SS taxes to the worker.
    The credibility of your comments would grow if you would:
    • (1) stop ignoring the fact that it was already disclosed that half of the Social Security and Medicare are paid by the employer.
    • (2) stop trying to allege dishonesty where none exists.
    • (3) stop ignoring the fact that both percentages were provided using the entire 15.3% and half of the 15.3% (yielding 31% and 23.4% respectively). For example:
      • Using the entire 15.3% of taxes for Social Security and Medicare, and a standard deduction of $5150, and $3,300 for standard exemptions:
      • Tax = [ ($60K - $5150 Personal Standard Deduction - $3,300 for standard exemptions) * 18.33% tax rate ] + ($60K * 15.3%) Social Security and Medicare taxes)
      • Tax = [ ($51,550) * 18.33% ] + ($9,180 Social Security and Medicare taxes)
      • Tax = [ $9,451 ] + ($9,180 Social Security and Medicare taxes)
      • Tax = $18,631 = 31% of $60K (which is more than Warren Buffet’s 17.7% of federal taxes on $46 Million)
      • If only half (i.e. 7.65%) of the total of 15.3% of Social Security and Medicare taxes are included:
      • Tax = [ ($51,550) * 18.33% ] + ($9,180 / 2 Social Security and Medicare taxes)
      • Tax = [ $9,451 ] + ($4,590 Social Security and Medicare taxes)
      • Tax = $14,941 = 23.4% of $60K (which is still more than Warren Buffet’s 17.7% of federal taxes on $46 Million)
    • (4) stop ignoring the fact that the tax system is a mixture of a progressive and regressive curves which hammers the middle-income group the most. The system is progressive at the lower-to-middle income levels, but regressive thereafter (i.e. which is why Warren Buffet’s federal taxes were only 17.7% on $46 Million, but his secretary’s federal taxes were 30% on $60K).
    • (5) stop trying to dispute the fact that the tax system is regressive, because:
      • (a) capital gains rates are from 5% to 15% (lower than payroll income tax rates for most Americans)
      • (b) capital gains are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes.
      • (c) Social Security taxes are regressive due to the cap (e.g. $97,500 for year 2007, $94,200 for year 2006)
      • (d) a myriad of tax loop-holes and severe complexity help reduce taxes for the wealthy in ways most Americans can not utilize.
    • (6) stop ignoring the fact that some (or all) of the employer’s half of the Social Security and Medicare taxes actually come out of the employee’s wages; that is, the employee’s wages could obviously be more if it were not for the employer’s requirement to match the Social Security and Medicare taxes (15.3% / 2 = 7.65%).
    Jack wrote: In the Buffet case, HE paid half; his employee paid the other half.
    Again, I already disclosed that several times, and provided both percentages (31% and 24.3%), which were both STILL greater than Warren Buffet’s 17.7% in total federal taxes on $46 Million. That is a regressive tax system (excluding the lowest income level).
    Jack wrote: We can stop talking about this progressive stuff anyway. I don’t really care. I know the poor (I used to be one) don’t pay much in taxes. I know that now that I have a higher income, I pay a lot more AND a greater %. I know that the only way to get the poor to pay less is to lower their taxes, which we have done on the Federal level.
    Of course you are paying more.

    Yes, a portion of the tax curve is progressive (for the lower-to-middle income groups), but the tax curve is regressive for the wealthy (toward the right side of the tax curve).
    The tax system is a mixture of a progressive and regressive tax curves, and it hammers the middle-income group the most (which is probably the group you are in, which is why Warren Buffet’s federal taxes were only 17.7% on $46 Million, but his secretary’s federal taxes were 30% on $60K). You are also probably paying a larger percentage of total federal taxes than Warren Buffet’s 17.7%.

    Jack wrote: IF you want to address SS taxes, you have to give up the idea that it is an insurance program or a contributory pension. If you want to just call SS a tax and treat it as such, breaking the mythical link between contibution and pension, I am with you. Most of our Democratic friends will object, however.
    I think Social Security and Medicare should both be phased out before it gets worse, because politicians are not capable of managing those systems responsibly, as evidenced by the looming shortfalls, and the $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 million baby-boomer bubble approaching, a massive national debt of $9.4 Trillion, the plummeting U.S. Dollar, massive annual deficits, and no discipline in Congress to stop the excessive spending, borrowing, and creating money out of thin air.

    There’s no good solution, but doing nothing will guarantee more pain and misery later.
    And there is no way that ALL of the taxes collected over the decades can be repaid.
    People can choose to forfeit their benefits, or accept much reduced benefits, or continue to be taxed for many years to come, and then end up later with NOTHING anyway.
    However, no one will make that tough decision.
    Therefore, the problem will solve itself the hard and painful way (via a fiscal and economic meltdown).
    But that could take decades to unfold.
    And politicians are about to severely compound the problem with an new and vast health care system.
    That’s fiscal suicide, when the total federal debt is already huge, nation-wide debt is over $53 Trillion, and Social Security is pay-as-you-go, and these other numerous worsening economic factors.

    Politicians will continue to raise taxes to fund Social Security, Medicare, and Universal Health Care.
    We will not be able to …

    • carry more debt,

    • borrow and spend,

    • create new money and inflation,

    • immigrate,

    • procreate,

    • increase productivity,

    • or tax
    … our way out of the problem.

    More likely, as you wrote previously …

    Jack wrote (www.watchblog.com/republicans/archives/004720.html#205538):
    The demographics are just going to smash us unless we do something.

    John McCain said the Social Security trust fund is a ticking time bomb, set to go off in 2014 (Jan 2000).
    Yet, John McCain voted YES on using the Social Security Surplus to fund tax reductions (Jul 1999).
    John McCain wanted matching funds for seniors citizens’ prescription drugs (Dec 1999).
    John McCain also voted YES on allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security (May 2006).
    And John McCain has been in Congress for 26 years (since 1982).

    Posted by: d.a.n at April 9, 2008 2:27 PM
    Comment #250150

    Re: who pays social security taxes/Medicare taxes: the employee pays the entire amount. Employees earn a compensation package as they work. This includes, as examples, a salary/wages, retirement (401-k or defined), health benefits, vacation benefits, sick leave, and %50 payment toward their SS/Med benefits. The fact that this is a mandated payment makes absolutely no difference. employees pay it all through the time and effort they have dedicated to their employer.
    Re: Class warfare occurring between the rich and the poor. This warfare has been occurring since this nations inception, favortism toward the wealthy is proscribed in our Constitution. War was initiated by the rich against the poor and it all continues today. As stated above, we live in a good old boy system that proscribes who gets medical care, education, who gets chosen for employment and how much they get paid. The wealthy establish the rules and set the agenda. look at how big corporations function in matters regarding corporate governance: notice is provided to shareholders of the annual meeting, proxy materials are provided, proposals are placed and recommedations are made by the board of directors either “for” or “against” these proposals. If the BOD is against a proposal it doesn’t have a snow ball’s chance in hell of passing. Why? Because in the process, shares are actively voted “for”, shares are voted “against” and, in a third catagory, shares not voted, are taken by the BOD and voted as they wish. It is an excellent example of a rigged system in favor of those who “got”, and those who take what they get.

    There is a class war occurring and in case anyone out there hasn’t noticed, the poor are losing badly.

    It has been implict in the argument posed by “conservatives” over the last many years that the poor need the rich. (and by that I mean that the bottom 80 percent need the top 20 percent) I think that it goes both ways and that the Bear Stern’s example offers ample evidence of this. There are a lot of top-tier wage earners at Bear that probably didn’t give a second thought to the growing inability of the middle class to pay their bills. They saw no connection between middle class plight and their own prospects. In truth the rich NEED a prosperous, thriving, growing middle class in order for them to retain their wealth. I have 26 stocks in my portfolio. I can’t see a single company among them that doesn’t REQUIRE the above described middle class in order to survive. Insurance, retail, manufacturing, banking, service, you name it.
    Redistribution of wealth through taxation and regulation does not even begin to properly compensate the poor in this country for the injustice of our system.

    Posted by: charles ross at April 9, 2008 5:32 PM
    Comment #250171
    charles ross wrote: There is a class war occurring and in case anyone out there hasn’t noticed, the poor are losing badly.
    True. But not only the poor, but the middle-income group too … being made poorer and poorer (as evidenced by falling incomes, regressive taxation, negative savings rates, massive debt, illegal immigration, millions of foreclosures per year, election problems, inflation, wars, unaffordable and dangerous health care, declining quality and rising cost of education, etc.).

    Being wealthy is not a crime, and not all wealthy people abuse their wealth.

    However, many do, as evidenced by 99.85% of all 200 million eligible voters who are vastly out-spent by a very tiny 0.15% of the wealthiet of all 200 million eligible voters who make 83% of all federal campaign donations (of $200 or more).

    Thus, our government is FOR-SALE.

    And these 10 abuses did not all come about by mere coincidence, which are hammering most middle-income Americans:

    • Lawlessness

    • Wars

    • Plutocracy / Kleptocracy

    • Illegal Immigration

    • Election Problems

    • Debt and

    • Inflation / Usury / the Monetary-System is a Pyramid-Scheme

    • Regressive Taxation

    • Insufficient / Inadequate Education

    • HealthCare or DangerousCare? 195,000 killed annually by preventable medical mistakes;
    Unfortunately, there are two groups in America:
    • (1) one group that derives concentrated power and wealth from its concentrated wealth. Some rich people (not all), who are cheaters and extremists, abuse their wealth to control and influence government. Those certain rich persons don’t want to work in Congress, but chooose to control and influence incumbent politicians with money, power, etc. Too many Congress persons (in BOTH parties) are FOR-SALE.

    • (2) The other group is the majority of Americans, that could have power by their numbers, but their power is largely ineffective due to their inability to mobilize through education and education (such as merely not repeatedly rewading irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians with 93%-to-99% re-election rates). Thus, voters are culpable too.
    At any rate, the voters will have the government that the voters elect, and deserve.

    Posted by: d.a.n at April 9, 2008 9:48 PM
    Comment #250402

    Back to McCain -

    He’s a hero for what he did in ‘Nam and always will be…but that by NO means ensures he’ll be a good president.

    Remember “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran”? McCain was just kidding, right?

    “Senator John McCain hailed as a spiritual adviser an Ohio megachurch pastor who has called upon Christians to wage a “war” against the “false religion” of Islam with the aim of destroying it.”

    McCain’s ‘spiritual adviser’ is Reverend Rod Parsley, whose endorsement McCain actively sought and received.

    So…was McCain kidding? And WHY is this not front-page news? WHY is the press not pillorying McCain for it? Such would certainly be the case if any Democrat were in the same position….

    Posted by: Glenn Cessor at April 12, 2008 6:43 AM
    Comment #250500

    Glenn Gessor, That’s a good question.

    Posted by: d.a.n at April 13, 2008 9:27 PM
    Comment #252882

    Today (15-May-2008), John McCain stated that illegal immigration will be under control 4 years from now. What a farce? How about doing something about it NOW? Why do we have to wait 4 years to finally see illegal employers prosecuted and the borders secured? ! ?
    With all of McCain’s waffling and flip-flopping, those accomplishments in 4 years is not even believable.
    Who really believes McCain is serious about illegal immigration when his pathetic 26-year voting record says otherwise?

    Despicable. Americans are sick of do-nothing, crooked, pandering, and corrupt politicians pitting American citizens and illegal aliens against each other for profit and votes.

    John McCain voted for the first amnesty of 1986 which quadrupled the problem.

    After 26 years in Congress, John McCain now says he “gets it” ?
    John McCain is not very believable.
    John McCain’s voting record on illegal immigration is truly pathetic: grades.betterimmigration.com/compare.php3?District=AZ&Category=0&Status=Career&VIPID=33

    Got tell it to these victims.

    And most politicians in the BOTH parties in do-nothing Congress are just as bad (if not worse).

    Funny what politicians will do and say when campaigning for office.
    The flip-flops abound.

    • McCain criticized TV preacher Jerry Falwell as “an agent of intolerance” in 2002, but has since decided to cozy up to the man who said Americans “deserved” the 9/11 attacks. (Indeed, McCain has now hired Falwell’s debate coach.)
    • McCain used to oppose Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy, but he reversed course in February.
    • In 2000, McCain accused Texas businessmen Sam and Charles Wyly of being corrupt, spending “dirty money” to help finance Bush’s presidential campaign. McCain not only filed a complaint against the Wylys for allegedly violating campaign finance law, he also lashed out at them publicly. In April, McCain reached out to the Wylys for support.
    • McCain supported a major campaign-finance reform measure that bore his name. In June, he abandoned his own legislation.
    • McCain used to think that Grover Norquist was a crook and a corrupt shill for dictators. Then McCain got serious about running for president and began to reconcile with Norquist.
    • McCain took a firm line in opposition to torture, and then caved to White House demands.
    • McCain gave up on his signature policy issue, campaign-finance reform, and won’t back the same provision he sponsored just a couple of years ago.
    • McCain was against presidential candidates campaigning at Bob Jones University before he was for it.
    • McCain was anti-ethanol. Now he’s pro-ethanol.
    • McCain was both for and against state promotion of the Confederate flag.
    • McCain voted against the MLK holiday, but now he’s for it.
    • McCain was for the regressive and un FairTax.org’s 30% National Sales Tax (23% inclusive), but now he isn’t.
    • McCain voted for the first illegal alien amnesty of 1986 and the failed amnesty of 2007, but McCain now (after 26 years in office) says he “gets it”. Yeah right. That’s real believable, eh?
    • And he’s both for and against overturning Roe v. Wade.
    Waffle after waffle.

    Voting Records…

    Posted by: d.a.n at May 15, 2008 10:53 AM
    Post a comment