The Tax Monster

In a week when two high profile Obama appointees have gone down in flames, one of them, Tom Daschle, as high profile as they come, most conservatives have played this as an opportunity to undermine the Obama administration. They are wrong. It’s the perfect opportunity to strike a blow for a rational tax policy.

Tom Daschle is a liberal who once represented a very conservative state. I don't think any honest person really thinks he is either a crook or a tax cheat, though. He and "Performance Czar" nominee Nancy Killefer tripped the Obama administration into the appearance of maintaining ethical double-standards not out of evil intent, but out of the difficulty of dealing with a maze of tax laws that is too hard for even its architects to negotiate.

The temptation to keep, for political purposes, a kind of fuzzy, not so edgy Gestapo for the micromanagement of social and economic policy has been far too great since the inception of the income tax. We were once promised it would never exceed one percent. It would never tax anyone but the wealthy. Political temptation, however, breaks all promises by all conceivable parties.

Now it has begun even to break the people who made the promises. The tax monster has a mind of its own. Will America's politicians become fodder for the monster they created?

As one of the newly disempowered I will be watching with great interest to find out. The week IS still young.

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at February 3, 2009 9:16 PM
Comments
Comment #274923

Lee,
Why the Monsters created by the Youth of the 60’s and Silver Spoons of the 70’s have captured alot of our elected officials and those who seek those positions of power, I was happy to wake up to the news that former Senator Daschle had withdrew his name. For why I do not doubt his ability and willingness to serve as Sec. of HHS, the idea that the Good Old Boy System to get him confirmed would of been a blow to President Obamas’ Adminstration.

So looking now for Sec. of HHS that has the Foresight and Knowledge to take on the Special Interest Groups of the Health and Human Services. Can you name me 3 candidates who has a plan to develop a health insurance plan that is accessable to every America?

For why I realize that many Republicans hate the idea of lowering the Pay Role Tax for those Citizens who do not pay Federal Income Tax; however, if Congress would of listened in 2001 and took the Bush Tax Cuts to that level than it can be said that America would not be in this current problem.

And why that is water under the bridge, as a Point of Ideology, wouldn’t using a part of that type of a tax cut so that the 49 million plus Americans could afford to purchase a Health Insurance Policy managed by the Private Sector and invested in Community, State, and Federal Bonds and Securities be a benefit for all of Society?

For why abuse and other matters can be addressed individually, as an American that trys to be Self-Sufficient in my personal health care I am offended by the idea that I have to pay over $1,000.00 a year just to talk to someone who can give me an “Educated Guess at Best” on what is wrong with me. So in the Spirit of America, I do believe that any candidate for the office of the Sec. of HHS needs to look expanding the Health Care Services in America for citizens who over the last 30 years and their Children who through Prevention and Self-Health Knowledge and Wisdom.

For why the Democratic and Republican Elders of the 70’s make a good point about sovling the Common Knowledge and Common Sense about the Health Care of Our Parents. Certainingly with Internet and Communication System of the 21st Century. Having Educated Patients will not only limit abuse, but slow down the demand on the Citizens of Society willing to have the pride to call themselve Docs.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 4, 2009 1:19 AM
Comment #274932

Henry,
An educated public will not necessarily make wise choices. A feature of the Internet age is intelligent and educated people who, having found on Internet medical pages symptoms similar to those they think they have attached to terrible diseases, flood doctors with requests for exotic and expensive tests. These test they then expect insurance to pay for. That is silly and frivolous.

Medical care has to cost something at the point of service for everyone or it will be overburdened with such frivolous demand as this. That relief of cost for most actually drives up the cost of medicine for everyone. People like myself who can’t afford medical insurance for everyone in the family wind up having to do without what may be important services, examinations, or drugs.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at February 4, 2009 9:17 AM
Comment #274942

Lee,

Great post. I totally agree. This was an honest mistake. I hope letting go of Daschle doesn’t endanger universal healthcare. I am all for reforming taxes to make them simpler.

Posted by: Max at February 4, 2009 11:45 AM
Comment #274945

Would Republicans know a rational tax policy if they saw it? Tax cuts can’t always be a good idea, but it seems like Republicans are practically required to say so, or they get replaced with people who insist on that.

I agree we need to make the tax code more elegant in structure, but it seems like when they had the opportunity, Republicans chose to use it as a substitute for subsidies, the idea being that tax cuts were acceptably free market enough to satisfy the pundits.

It’s like my dad always says, though. Sometimes you got to spend money to make money. If a lack of taxpayer dollars means a bus line has to cut stops, jobs could go with it. If you don’t pay the money for enforcement, if you fail to sacrifice the false profits, you might just lose more money, more painfully down the line.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 4, 2009 12:05 PM
Comment #274947

Yes the tax system is overly complex by a long shot. The bigger point in my opinion that comes out is that full compliance with the tax laws is largely voluntary.

Is this what we want, the honest people bearing the tax burden.

Posted by: Schwamp at February 4, 2009 12:17 PM
Comment #274951

Max, it is an immense mistake in a democracy to believe or fear that any person in government is indispensable or irreplacable.

Of course, Daschle is replacable. And whomever Obama selects is likely to bring talent, experience, or education which Daschle couldn’t bring to offset limitations compared to Daschle.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 4, 2009 12:54 PM
Comment #274953

My biggest problem with taxes is not paying them, it is with how they are spent upon receipt by the POTUS and Congress.

Congressional pay raises at this time? I object!

State and local tourist attractions funded by federal dollars? I object.

Permanent tax cuts for the wealthiest while my daughter’s work future is being buried under national debt and very high taxation? I object!

And I have let my representatives know, I object. My only problem is, you all haven’t objected to your representatives. When enough of us object, out of fear of not being reelected, politicians will represent the objecters.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 4, 2009 1:00 PM
Comment #274954

Max,

I agree with DRR. Daschle would have been a better pick than most, if we were going to be able to tackle health care right off the bat. But, in this current situation, health care will be postponed, except for some input for stimulus sake. True health care reform can be done at a more leisurely pace, and there are several qualified to help with that.

Posted by: Marysdude at February 4, 2009 1:03 PM
Comment #274955

DRR,

The problem is which objections we can agree on..

>Congressional pay raises at this time? I object! Me too!

State and local tourist attractions funded by federal dollars? I object. Oops! I think this might qualify as a job producer.

Permanent tax cuts for the wealthiest while my daughter’s work future is being buried under national debt and very high taxation? I object! Me Too!

And I have let my representatives know, I object. My only problem is, you all haven’t objected to your representatives. When enough of us object, out of fear of not being reelected, politicians will represent the objecters. I’ve let mine know too, but as you can see we are not in lockstep.
Posted by: David R. Remer at February 4, 2009 01:00 PM

Posted by: Marysdude at February 4, 2009 1:10 PM
Comment #274962

Marysdude said: “The problem is which objections we can agree on..”

Nah! That’s not the problem. Polling data demonstrate a wide range of objections most Americans agree upon. The problem is with politicians believing that voters will withhold their vote if the politicians don’t cave to the voters. History tells them voters will NOT withhold their vote, therefore, politicians are free to disappoint.

As for local tourist atrractions, it is a job producer and the responsibility of the local government to insure they are produced. NOT the federal government. The federal government, and most Americans would agree, should be focusing on jobs which the states can’t coordinate individually, like the interstate highway system, the internet infrastructure and broadband access, and energy infrastructure. Voters need to inform their representatives they get this. Most in Wa. D.C. don’t think voters are that saavy to tell the difference between a local infrastructure project and a national infrastructure project. When the voters demonstrate they can tell the difference, politicians will respond accordingly.

Democracy was never intended to be a one direction communication system, top down. It was always intended to be primarily a two way communication system with the emphasis on bottom up communication.

The notion that voting is all the communication citizens are permitted is one politicians would prefer citizens adhere to, but, it is simply a false and irrational notion, and always has been. And one that the citizenry can dispel anytime it chooses.

Good for you and America that you have spoken up. What one man can do, another can do. But, your “Me Too”s” contradict your statement that we are not in lockstep. Most Americans want exactly the same things from government and politicians.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 4, 2009 2:23 PM
Comment #274965

David,

Most Americans want exactly the same things from government and politicians.
BINGO! Yes, absolutely, most Americans do, at the heart of things, want the same basic things from government!

The least WE can do is give them a fairly disciplined discussion of what the issues are so we don’t continue to follow the same rabbit trails at the rest of self-serving political America’s discussion.

What should we want taxes to do?, for example. Shouldn’t we want them primarily to raise the revenues the government needs without becoming a stumbling block for the economy and the incoming administration? Am I crazy to want that?

Why should one in twenty people (at least) in America be tied up in either collecting or defending us from the process of raising those revenues? Do they put food on our tables? No. Do they put roofs over our heads? No. Do they export anything other than jobs to the rest of the world? No. Do they eat food, require roofs, import goods, and otherwise cost the useful remnant of us money?

Yep.

Simplicity in taxation will be a boon to everyone.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at February 4, 2009 2:40 PM
Comment #274968

Lee,
Why you are certainly entitled to your opinion, using that same Logic and Reason we need to take away the right for people to learn about money, food, etc. and allow the Government and Society to tell us what to do.

No, I do believe that by having a person educate themselve so that they may have an informed discussion with their doctor is far better than leaving them in the hands of Medical Advisors. For if the MA is anything like the Financial Advisors of the last 8 years than I think that the Individual and the Nation would be better served by Self-Education programs.

Yes, the modern medical profession may have grown out of the idea that Cod Liver Oil will cure everything; however, having grown to be obsolite I challenge you to go tell your doctor that you have a headache. For without more information and tests a quick look on the internet will show you just how much work you created for the Doctor. Yet, with a little bit of work on your behalf at least the Doctor and you have a starting point. For why it may not be what you believe it is, the Doctor having a little bit more knowledge can easily eliminate what it is not.

And yes, not every Layperson may know how to read an x-ray, I can assure you that it does not take a degree to look at on and see you have a broken bone. However, like All Advice it is in your Inherent Best Interest to get a second opinion from someone who does it for a Living.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 4, 2009 2:55 PM
Comment #274970

Daugherty writes; “If a lack of taxpayer dollars means a bus line has to cut stops, jobs could go with it.”

Ooops…I missed the billions for bus line operations in the so-called stimulus bill. Is that really a federal government obligation or local? I have noticed that my community has cut back on the annual 4th of July fireworks display…should that be addressed by congress? After all, all those folks driving to the park spend money for gas and snacks and really contribute to the economy.

At one time there was an attitude in this country that hard times called for sacrifice and even harder work to end them. What sacrifice is being called for by congress and PO with their lavish spending plans?

Someone above wrote that they don’t have any objection to paying higher taxes if the wealthy are required to pay proportionally more. It may surprise that person to know that, as a conservative, I would agree if I was certain that my taxes weren’t going to be spent on selected groups to pander for their continued votes and rather, actually used to rescue our economy.

I will sign on to a tax increase for myself when congress shows some fiscal restraint and cuts all the wasteful government spending now being done before it gets any new money. Such a rare action by congress would set an example of responsibility for our corporate leaders and instill a great measure of confidence in both private Americans and business.

Before I became self-employed and wanted a raise, I would demonstrate to my employer that I was worth the increase in pay by more productivity and thus prove that I deserved more pay.

What has congress done to demonstrate that they deserve more of our taxpayer money? We have the same old tired faces with the same old tired solutions…spend, spend, spend.

Posted by: Jim M at February 4, 2009 3:35 PM
Comment #274973

Jim M.,
Why you may not care about buses I wonder what you are going to do when you no longer have police coverage, fire protection, and trash removal because of the lack of funds?

Yes, Congress could do nothing with H.R. 1 and allow your home to drop another 25% why your Local and State Leaders increase your taxes by another 25% to provide bare bone services. Or really get to the problem and start eliminating such entitled programs as writing off business expenses, roads, and clean water.

So why you cry about spend, spend, spend and the Left cry about tax cut, tax cut, tax cut. I am still waiting for the Democratic and Republican Pundits to come up with an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that will help Their Children make America Energy Independent. For other than Mr. Pickens and the Pickens Army working the System I see no plan from the Left or Right that even comes close to proving to the Elders and Powers-that-Be that “We the People” can build a Sustainable Green Civilized Society.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 4, 2009 3:59 PM
Comment #274979

Henry asks me: “Why you may not care about buses I wonder what you are going to do when you no longer have police coverage, fire protection, and trash removal because of the lack of funds?”

Fair question Henry. I will do what I have been doing to ensure I have those services since becoming an adult (age 21) in 1961 and finished my education and began working at a steady job. I will pay taxes in my local community to support those services and where I can easily visit the decision makers at city hall or county courthouse to demand my money’s worth and exercise my personal oversight of their actions along with my neighbors.

I will continue to donate to my local Volunteer Fire Department and the local police fund. I pay $54 every three months for garbage pickup weekly from my own pocket…not thru taxes.

Why is it that liberals at the state and federal level don’t believe it is possible to exist with fewer employees and fewer tax dollars when a fiscal crisis occurs? Liberals never seem to believe there is any waste that can be eliminated and instead always ask for more money.

Responsible individuals and business owners are doing what is sensible and necessary to survive; cutting back expenses, laying off, and conserving their resources until better times return. Not government, OH NO…just the opposite. They want to spend more, regulate more, and hire more.

Folks, some of you need to grow up and start taking responsibility for your own lives and well being. Those that can’t will be taken care of for the basic necessities. Those that won’t should not be helped. A little dose of “tough love” may be in order for the nation.

Posted by: Jim M at February 4, 2009 4:37 PM
Comment #274980

Henry also wrote; “Or really get to the problem and start eliminating such entitled programs as writing off business expenses, roads, and clean water.”

I simply can not fathom Henry’s belief that “writing off business expenses” is an entitlement. I own a small business and have many expenses involved in the production of income on which I pay income and payroll taxes. Perhaps someone on this blog could help Henry understand what a government entitlement is. Your help will be appreciated.

That Henry mixed in roads and clean water with business expenses, as an example of entitlements, is a real mystery to me.

Posted by: Jim M at February 4, 2009 4:45 PM
Comment #274985

Lee said: “Simplicity in taxation will be a boon to everyone.”

Only if it 1) provides fully for government spending, 2) adequately provides for not only the nation’s current, but also future national needs, and 3) it is capable of flexibility to meet changing circumstances, and capable of transparency in insuring a perception by the majority that it is an essentially fair and practical system.

In other words, there is NOTHING simple about any taxing system approach. You can make taxation a more efficient system costing less for collection, but, you cannot make taxation a simple system. Taxation is one of the most complex systems civilization ever invented. So complex in fact, that it has brought down many a civilization like the Roman Empire and Mao Tse Tung’s Revolutionary Communist Government, and the British Empire via a group of upstart colonialists who objected to its taxation without representation in revolutionary terms.

Taxing systems impinge upon every value held by those within the society. No, there is no such thing as a simple taxation system. Your assumption that there is, is false, and proven so by the history of taxing systems which failed to sustain not only nations, but, entire epochs like the Medeival Period in Europe.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 4, 2009 5:13 PM
Comment #274987

Henry, Jim M is right. Business tax deductions is a product of economic policy and fiscal management policy, not an entitlement. An entitlement has a degree of permanance to it, business tax deductions can change from year to year, and too often, do.

An entitlement is a contract between government and its citizens in which the citizens agree to give up something of value in exchange for a guaranteed benefit at a later time, backed by the full faith and credit of the government. The citizens literally become entitled to the benefit by having foregone valuable concessions to the government in exchange. Hence the name, entitlement.

Businesses are NOT entitled to tax deductions for expenses, and those can be revoked in any given tax year without breach of contract. Tax policy is a tool not only for managing govenment’s expenses, but, also the needs of the economy in terms of inflation and unemployment, as well as a host of other perceived government and political needs.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 4, 2009 5:23 PM
Comment #274988

Jim M, clean water to drink and wash in, and air to breathe, are entitlements in a very real sense. The government, regardless of majority political party, promote this concept in every election campaign, promising to uphold the obligation of government to insure clean drinking water and clean healthy air to breathe. Of course, political talk is cheap, and providing clean air and water in today’s America is very expensive for some very wealthy lobbying interests, hence government continues to fail to live up to that entitlement of its citizens.

Hopefully this will change in the future.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 4, 2009 5:26 PM
Comment #274991

Remer writes; “Jim M, clean water to drink and wash in, and air to breathe, are entitlements in a very real sense.”

I agree although we may disagree on the definition of “clean”.

Posted by: Jim M at February 4, 2009 5:37 PM
Comment #274993

My definition is having no deleterious effects on infants, children, adults, or the elderly when consumed in the course of living activities.

What’s yours?

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 4, 2009 7:08 PM
Comment #274997

David,
Why you may be legally right about business expenses not entitlements; however, remembering how much trouble Congress had the last time they attempted to take away meal expenses and other business expenses in the 90’s I would make the argument that they are Political Entitlements in the same manner being married gives people certain tax deductions that the rest of us do not get.

In fact, I do believe that if any “Business Expense” was said to be a waste of taxpayer dollars that the Republicans and some Democrats would yell. Yet, they have no problem in wanting to take away other social programs that make it harder on the middle class and poor to make ends meet.

Jim M.,
Clean water may be open for debate; however, considering that some Citizens believe that it is ok to put untreated water and waste in our rivers and underground water supplies like their parents did 40 years ago. Do you think we should do away with the entitlements and laws that protect your Grandchildren so that you can have an extra dollar in your pocket today?

Posted by: Henry Schlat,am at February 4, 2009 7:36 PM
Comment #275001

Jim M-
Some people, some cities and states, even don’t have the luxury of fat to trim on their budgets.

The Republicans are expecting the folks below to squeeze blood from stones in order to avoid offending your principles.

I have no objections to trimming the fat. I have an objection to a party that falls back on tax cuts to the rich like a methadone user falls back on heroin. (and no, don’t try to turn that around, we’ve shown a willingness to cut spending and taxes. Remember Clinton? Name the last Republican you heard who was able to suggest raising taxes, if even just to cover their new spending?

Even Saint Reagan raised taxes three times. Before the Right defined that as anathema, it was considered an occasional unpleasant necessity, a responsible thing to do to cover spending increases. Now it’s practically impossible, even with record deficits, to convince a Republican to raise taxes.

Maybe Bush 41’s fate stung the Republicans into this kind of attitude, but their solution has been to allow tax cuts to contribute to unheard of levels of new endebtedness. They could have written provisions into the tax cut that would have cancelled them in case revenues dropped too much to avoid a deficit, but unfortunately that would be considered raising taxes.

Unfortunately, failing to do that put America in deeper debt precisely at the time that war and new entitlements demanded new revenues. The irony of this is, it would have been far easier to moderate those proposals if you told people money would come out of their pocket for it.

Wouldn’t that be refreshing? Republicans giving America the choice: pay for it or forget about it. Of course, that’s not the choice Republicans give America nowadays. It was “Spending is bad, so just don’t do it on principle.”

I think Republicans could moderate far more spending by requiring people to pay for new spending than they could by opposing taxes on principle, even while the nation drowns in debt.

But you know what? The GOP decided to be a party of easy to spin for, foolishly consistent bumpersticker slogans. The complexities of asking people to pay for what they spend, of cutting taxes only out of excess, takes just too much creativity in political thinking and too much free debate and consideration of things in nonpartisan terms to please the people on the top in your party who are content to just govern their constituents by talking points and party-line votes.

I mean, really, if all this was about bipartisanship, why the hell did everybody vote the same way, and without any kind of obvious deal breaker in the bill that people could understand. I mean, your people are claiming that it’s necessary to hold up an 800-900 billion dollar bill for items that wouldn’t even constitute pennies on the dollar. That’s an unprinicipled way to stand on a principle. It seems like just an excuse to vote along party lines. You folks aren’t planning on saving people much money. All it seems you’re planning on doing is reducing interests rates on home loans that are in no danger of going under, and giving more money back to the people who already have prospered obscenely beyond the level of the average American, as the typical person’s wages and compensation have stagnated, as they have taken more of the burden for the risks the wealthy take, and have suffered more of the pitfalls of the collosal failures those people brought down on us.

The Republican policies seem to reflect a persistent bias against using the government for the benefit of people who aren’t already wealthy and doing well. Either you folks either think the money is wasted on average people like us, or you think that somehow, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that serving their interests serves ours invariably.

It’s time to write policies that doesn’t go around the mulberry bush three times before anybody at a normal level of income sees one bit of improvement in their lives. The Rich have had their stimulus, for eight years have seen their part of the economy stimulated like a monkey with an electrode in its brain pushing on a lever.

And the result? Well it’s an economy where consumers no longer have the money to spend, much less the confidence. Even the credit card companies have cut back, and many people are without jobs. What’s been circulating in our economy has been passed along debts, from credit cards, mortgages, car loans, and business loans. Because some idiots didn’t have the brains to regulate these systems well enough, we’re stuck with banks who have so little idea of what their assets and debts truly are that they can’t chance lending much money to anybody else.

But worse yet, these companies are being run by people so moronic, so out of touch, that they’re seeking to be rewarded after almost having destroyed their companies, and taking the American economy with them.

We got bigger fish to fry than your party’s agenda and ambitions. That is why, despite my long calls for bipartisan outreach, I’m fully willing to tell President Obama and the Democrats in Congress to cram legislation down your throat. I would rather endure the political damage from stifled outreach than the real world damage to our economy, and our way of life that not getting this economy on its feet will inflict on us. It’s time to put the country first, and repair the political damage later. If you won’t do it, we will.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 4, 2009 8:21 PM
Comment #275002

Lee
Thanks for the thoughtful post. It makes me happy tp hear some logical,maybe even helpful concerns expressed from the right. All too rare, sorry to say. SD put it well as usual. We have some some BIG problems to fix and we could use all hands to fix them. I am apalled at blather from the like of Limbaugh that he wants BHO to fail. That means he wants the US to sink to prove a point. Thats about as un-American as I can grasp. Riegn in your propagandist please.
The tax code is clearly too complicated. Simplistic solutions like a flat tax etc. are not workable either. I would not expect much reform at this point. There is just too many other priorities and it will no doubt be a long and complicated process. Bring it up again in BHO’s second term or perhaps in HRC first term.

Posted by: bills at February 4, 2009 9:50 PM
Comment #275028

bills-
There’s nothing unamerican about expressing an opinion, even an ugly one like that. I’m sure he believes that he’s doing what’s best for us all.

The trouble is, the Republicans think that they are the only ones who can run this country well, and that it can only be done their way. The truth is they are right about neither point.

We fought and won the cold war with a largely Democratic Congress, with New Deal regulations and policies mainly in place. For about three quarters of a century, the Democrats policies governed the country successfully.

In all that time, we never did half as bad as the Republicans did, except for the Vietnam War, from which we learned lessons, rather than convincing ourselves that it was the liberal media and a weak-stomached public that lost us that war. PR cannot win in the air what generals and Presidents do not win on the ground.

The Republicans see a failure to govern properly not in terms of outright results, but in terms of their orthodoxy. Even if Obama’s plan works, they reason, it will addict people to big government that they feel is a mistake, even when it does its job. They feel it necessary to hover over us like a nanny determined to have us avoid that moral error at all costs.

But they have failed to govern well, regardless of what theory they believe they’ve applied correctly. Their failures are what has sunk their party’s fortunes, and people like Rush Limbaugh don’t want to think of things in those terms. They want to think of things in terms of their orthodoxies, and measure success in terms of that; practical success, they believe, will come later, when everybody’s stopped arguing with them and done things their way.

Well, they got as close to that as they’re ever going to get in a country where you can’t push people into re-education camps, and still they managed to both alienate people from that philosophy, and govern in a manner so lousy it lost them a generation of voters.

The challenge for Republicans is to recognize that they are in deep s*** to begin with. They have built for themselves a self-reinforcing media apparatus (of which Limbaugh is a part), and a party philosophy that takes a hostile, uncompromising view to those who do not follow the current orthodoxy. There’s little provision right now for them to admit error, because that means giving ground to us in their minds.

However, that ground has already been taken from them by the voters, and the voters showed full willingness to take even more from them when they doubled down on their political orthodoxy. They have to learn to relax, to see Democrats and independents who don’t agree with them as their neighbors again, as fellow Americans who cannot simply be browbeaten into submssion or pushed around. They have to learn to live with the rest of America again, if they want the rest of America to feel like living with them.

If they want to rise from the dust, they must acknowledge that they must do what they have to make friends of the people they once rejected, and moderate their own orthodoxy to suit a country that decided to take their own path. Otherwise, they can be proudly purist as a party in decline.

Waiting for or plotting to create the circumstances under which they get power back from the Democrats is not going to be a helpful approach for them. If they keep trying to recapture past glory, the next generation or two is not going to be pleasant. It might even be fatal for the party.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 5, 2009 8:36 AM
Comment #275035

> If they keep trying to recapture past glory, the next generation or two is not going to be pleasant. It might even be fatal for the party.
Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 5, 2009 08:36 AM

Stephen,

The problem, as I see it, is they may take the rest of us down with them…look at how they have influenced the media and their party on stimulus. It seems to make no difference if we rise or fall, as long as we rise or fall riding their boat. In their eyes, if we sink and drown, as long as we sink and drown with them, it becomes their victory. Cheney/Bush and Lamebrain have convinced them they are at war…with America…victory at all costs.

Posted by: Marysdude at February 5, 2009 11:34 AM
Comment #275037

Mr. Remer writes; “My definition is having no deleterious effects on infants, children, adults, or the elderly when consumed in the course of living activities.”

That’s a reasonable definition. However, one should keep in mind that sometimes unreasonable demands can be made in pursuing your definition. For example: let’s assume that the presence of a certain element in our water is proved to be harmful to lab rats at very high concentrations, and that knowledge is extrapolated to humans as being potentially dangerous under certain rare circumstances, and as a result government is called upon to expend huge sums of money to entirely remove that element. What then?

On a similar note, we have all watched the pharmaceutical ads that proliferate our televisions these days. The first half of the ad always presents the possible adverse side effects and in some rare cases…death. Obviously, for some rare individuals, there is a deleterious effect. Should these medications be banned for that reason, and if not, why not?

Posted by: Jim M at February 5, 2009 12:00 PM
Comment #275038

Stephen,

PS:

In an interview with National Journal’s Hotline, Republican Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas suggested his party could follow the model of the Taliban in its legislative battles.

The above is a great example of what I’m trying to say.

Posted by: Marysdude at February 5, 2009 12:01 PM
Comment #275042

marysdude, bills and stephen all wrote long screeds decrying the Republican Party and hold them responsible for anything and everything bad that has happened for the past 3 or 4 decades. I find it unreasonable to think that all this harm was done while the humble Dems watched in some kind of perpetual paralysis.

Conservatives, such as me, want government to function with the least amount of interference in our individual lives, and with the lowest possible cost to society. Where we see waste, liberals see necessity. Where we see high taxes as taking resources from the private sector, liberals see “fairness” in the redistribution of income. Where we see people being responsible as individuals, liberals see groups to be manipulated with taxpayer money for political gain. Where we see immorality promoted by government, liberals see an opportunity to bash religious beliefs.

And finally…where we see a nation brought to its knees by profligate spending and corruption in government, liberals see opportunity to change our nation from individual liberty to socialism by encouraging more spending and reelecting these same corrupt politicians.

Let me repeat that I am a conservative, not a Republican. And I don’t buy into this nonsense of giving up my ideals to satisfy anyone at any time for any reason.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill in his speech after the fall of France, “we shall not flag or fail, we shall go on to the end. We shall defend our island (country) whatever the cost may be.”

Posted by: Jim M at February 5, 2009 12:44 PM
Comment #275052

Jim M asked: “and that knowledge is extrapolated to humans as being potentially dangerous under certain rare circumstances, and as a result government is called upon to expend huge sums of money to entirely remove that element. What then?”

Simple. Spend the money. If you don’t, you open the door to other polluters to pollute just a little so that the incidence rate of negative effect is too small to warrant the government mandating an end to the polluting. It is what’s called, a moral hazard.

But, I reject your premise that government should foot all the bill to remove the element. If you are starting with clean water and air, you have the polluter pay for the cessation and any clean up that may be required, if necessary through a long term government loan backed by shares in the company, if the company chooses to go that route to prevent bankruptcy as a result of paying it all in one lump sum on demand.

Where America left the reservation was in not keeping our air and water clean in the first place, which would have been VASTLY cheaper than trying to halt pollution and clean up the air and water after the fact. Therein lies the lesson and rationale in my response to your inquiry.

America needs to get back on the reservation. A 21st century non-fossil fuel based future is absolutely the best first step in that direction.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 5, 2009 1:54 PM
Comment #275054

Jim M, the pharmaceutical choice is an entirely different issue and not analogous. Provided consumers are made aware of the pharma risk, the choice of assuming that risk belongs to the consumer.

Not so with air and water which ALL persons and other living things must consume in order sustain life another few minutes, or decades, without choice in the matter. America inherited and unpolluted nation. Americans owe it to themselves to return our nation to that state where the necessities of life are free of man made pollutants which harm life.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 5, 2009 1:59 PM
Comment #275061

Jim M,

The Republican Party IS the conservative party. The only way you can separate yourself from the Republicans is to turn to third party or become a Democrat. The Republicans made their bed, but you don’t want to sleep in it??? Which party are you registered to vote with?

Posted by: Marysdude at February 5, 2009 2:54 PM
Comment #275078

marysdude, what party would you place me in when I vote for the candidate, whether R, D, or I and have done so in recent elections? Perhaps you are not aware that in Texas at least, we don’t have to vote a straight party ticket. Is it not the same where you live?

Posted by: Jim M at February 5, 2009 5:50 PM
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