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Sunday: Lying in the gutter, looking at the stars

Oh man, the American public falls for it every single time.  At some point in the election season we start turning on each other.  Suddenly, it becomes a matter of “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” and taxation becomes the equivalent of communism.  Talented singer songwriters go off on tangents about how unemployed people are going to piss away his hardearned money.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Americans *should* want to spread the wealth.  The problem is that the wealth has already been redistributed- upwards.

Yep, everyday, the wage slaves get into their gas powered vehicles and head off to some big business, employing thousands of workers and they put in the most productive hours of their lives.  The owners of those big businesses take the fruit of that production and mostly share it among themselves or fritter it away in hedge funds that most of us are too poor to gain admittance to, or they give it to some political think tank that figures out even more ingenious ways of making sure the sides of the money pyramid are as steep as possible.  Trade agreements are made, without labor standards.  Labor unions are locked out of production sites.  Pensions are swapped for cash balance plans.  Corporations whine about not making money for stockholders so workers must make the ultimate sacrifice of losing their jobs.  Alan Greenspan like to keep wages low to keep inflation low, which leads to people eventually not being able to afford their houses, which leads to bubbles bursting, chaos on Wall Street and horror as 401K wealth disappears.

We see this happen every day and we know that the reason why our health insurance sucks and our lousy 3% raises don’t cut it and our property taxes are skyrocketing is because the wealthy don’t want to spread the wealth.  But what do we do?  We take it out on each other.  It’s the unemployed’s fault for taking our tax money.  It’s the parents of the sick kid’s fault for not being smart enough to afford health insurance.  Our attention is always focussed downwards in the pecking order.  While the rich set us squabbling amongst ourselves, they sit back in their comfy chairs and play a global game of Monopoly, pretending that it’s not real money.

Both Obama and McCain have the whole tax issue wrong.  The rich have taken more of the wealth, leaving the rest of us to fight over the shrinking bit that is left for the wretched refuse.  Joe the Plumber and other small business owners shouldn’t be “sharing their wealth” with anyone but new employees.  But the investors and big money tycoons who are shipping our jobs overseas, so they can expand their own piece of the pie, need to be stopped and forced to fork over some of their ill gotten booty.  It is beyond absurd that we are sniping over helping out the unemployed while bankers are rewarding themselves with the money they got from taxpayers.  It’s time we gave the superrich a choice: increase wages or we tax the bonuses back to Eisenhower days levels.

And it’s time we stopped focusing our righteous indignation on our fellow worms in the gutter and started looking at the “stars”.

91 Responses

  1. If I thought Obama was really a socialist I would be tempted to vote for him.

    He’s allied with the filthy rich, that’s why G-Dub’s boys are jumping on Obama’s bandwagon.

    He’s not even a moderate.

  2. Right on, RD! This blog has simply the best political analyses anywhere. The press got the whole Joe the Plumber thing wrong. My guess is, if you asked him that Joe the Plumber wanted to share the wealth around. He probably wants to better his life, run a business, and employ people who will themselves be better off. He’s thinking about a better life for everyone. But, Obama acts like he knows better than Joe and wants to take Joe’s $$ and give them to someone else. The press immediately labels this as unbridled socialism. BO is, of course, a complete jerk. If he were not he would have asked Joe, something like: “As a potentially successful business person, what do you think is your responsibility to the less fortunate in society?” The hard core Republicans, a la Maggy Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, deny there is any such thing as “society” Funny how the roads and bridges get built, and airplanes fly without a ‘”society” to pull everything together?

    Thanks again, RD. Very beautifully expressed.

  3. I agree, both are wrong. We never really strike a balance in this country, do we?? As myq2xu says, Obama is just one big contradiction and flim-flam artist…who knows WHAT he is????

    You might be interested in what HIllary Clinton said yesteray here in NM at her rally to counteract McCain…


    Clinton in Sunland Park on Saturday nonetheless cautioned the faithful to avoid complacency, fearing that leads Obama and the congressional hopefuls have built could slip away in the final days of the campaign.

    “Ten days is a long time in a presidential election. All sorts of things can happen,” she said.

    “Clinton described herself as optimistic about Democratic wins on Nov. 4, but not yet confident that all will go as planned.”

    More info at IA in the The Past Week roundup…

  4. Thank you RD. I was trying to make this argument in the comments last night. This whole effort to say that Obama is a socialist or a Marxist is a red herring. If I believed he were a socialist, I might have supported him. I read his book, I’ve listened to his speeches. He is a follower of Reagan and favors privatization and tax incentives rather than the “we’re all in it together” point of view of FDR and LBJ.

    Look at what he actually did in Chicago. He fought for privatization of public housing. And when his buddies like Rezko took the government money and put it in offshore banks and let the people in their tenements freeze, Obama did nothing to help the people and continued to take the dirty money from Rezko et al.

    Obama’s only ideology is Obama.

  5. Anyone watching FOX news this morning? The breaking story on Biden and the Obama campaign is not good for Ozero.

    Biden and Obama campaign canceled the planned interview with Biden’s wife after the campaign got upset about Joe Biden being asked questions. Imagine that!

    Kudos to the Florida TV newswoman that was not afraid to ask those questions to Joe Biden. It was great! And Biden showed a lack of respect and an unwillingness to answer the questions.

    Joe Biden and the Obama campaign are in hiding now. When is the last time Obama and Biden held a press interview? September I believe.


  6. IronMan,

    What is your response to riverdaughter’s post? Did you read it? We discussed the Biden interview and the Obama campaign’s reaction pretty extensively yesterday and into the late night.

  7. Obama Campaign Cuts Off Interviews With Florida TV Station

    Biden gets asked tough questions by Orlando reporter

    Barack Obama’s campaign killed all interviews with a Florida TV station after Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, faced tough and critical questions from a reporter at the Orlando station, the Orlando Sentinel reported .

    During a satellite video Thursday, WFTV’s Barbara West quoted Karl Marx and asked Biden how Obama’s comment to “Joe the Plumber,” about spreading the wealth wasn’t being Marxist.

    “Are you joking?,” Biden asked.

    West replied, “No.”


    The Orlando Sentinel has the story as well:


  8. Yes, BB, I read it. There was a similar post about this a few days ago, and I replied with a long detailed analysis and opinion of it.

    Reason I posted the new update on the story on the new thread this morning about Biden and Obama is because FOX news is reporting it as their breakling story this morning. It’s not just in the blogs anymore.

  9. Amen, RD.

  10. Good morning Karolina! How are you doing? It’s good to see you.

  11. It woudl take time to go back and find the other post, so I’ll just add a few comments here.

    I appreciate RD’s overall opinion on the topic of taxation and socialism, but I have to disagree with some of it, specifically, the contention that Obama is not a socialist or does not have socialist leanings and that America should want a spreading of the wealth agenda for the government and for each other.

    That kind of thinking is the antithesis of what America stands for. America is not a socialist country and we don’t need a socialist in the White House.

    Obama certainly does have a socialist agenda, and so does his wife, Michelle.

    Right now, the economy is hurting.

    What’s Obama’s solution?
    Let’s tax our way out of the hole!
    Let’s increase taxes on investment! Yah, that will surely help the stock market and all those 401ks grow!
    Oh, and on small businesses that create jobs in America, let’s make those suckers pay more in taxes so that they can lay off workers, shut down growth, and pass those higher taxes on to the consumer!

    That will surely help our economy grow and create jobs!

    Is that really what some people thnik will get us out of tough economic times? To increase taxes on small business and investments?

    I say, No, No, No.

    Increasing taxes on small businesses and investments during an economic downturn is the worst thing a governement can do if the goal is to grow the economy. This is Economics 101.

  12. Thanks, RD – you’ve given us some definitive talking points in this piece.

    I was sorry to see a huge O endorsement in the Star Ledger – a widespread regional newspaper here in NJ – I know, I know, NJ is a Dem State but we are seeing some infiltrations and I hope we make more.
    The Sunday NYT magazine section is supposed to have a piece that is not too flattering on McCain – I no longer subscribe so I haven’t read it.

  13. RD – Exactly! The focus must be shifted. It seems to me like Obama and McCain are trying to out-Reagan each other on taxes. It’s idiotic.

    Reagan has been proven wrong on taxes and deregulation. His “trickle-down” theory, so tightly embraced by Greenspan and many on both sides of the aisle, has been proven to be a thinly-disguised exercise in impoverishing the middle and poorer classes.

    It’s time to stop believing in Randian fairy tales. It’s time to do what works, no matter what party it comes from. Economics should be a science, based on results, not a squabble over who can defraud the American people the most while couching it their thievery in the prettiest words.

  14. Excellent post RD and a great illustration. That’s something I have always thought-redistribution upwards.

    It really does get on my nerves to hear BO being called a socialist.
    It would be so wonderful if it were true. The first AA and first socialist POTUS.

    At times I wonder if my head’s popping off, if I’m getting everything wrong. But I know I’m not. All I have to do is look at the NYT, and CNN to see that.

    When the media is in the bag so hard for a candidate that means he/she is corporate approved.

    Or as Malone suggests that candidate has a hidden agenda which the media approves of:

    And then the opportunity presents itself: an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career. With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived Fairness Doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe, be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.

    And besides, you tell yourself, it’s all for the good of the country . . .

    And what does he mean by the ‘alternative media’-that includes the Internet.

  15. RD, this is the bigger truth that I shudder to face. I can almost accept the fact that we’re faced with a lose/lose presidential outcome. To face that the whole system is so imbalanced against the majority of people, while true, is a bigger shudder. I do accept that this is part of the resistance. I choose to be part of the resistance. And I am grateful to you for pointing it out with appropriate music!!

  16. IronMan –

    Increasing taxes on small businesses and investments during an economic downturn is the worst thing a governement can do if the goal is to grow the economy. This is Economics 101.

    No, that’s your partisan idea of Economics 101.

    The fact is, Obama and McCain are wrong on taxes because a strong economy is based on strong manufacturing and a robust jobs sector. Cutting or increasing taxes, willy-nilly, will make neither of those things happen. Like it or not, it is up to the government to spend money wisely on programs that will make this happen, and for the government to spend the money, it must get it from somewhere.

    If taxes are carefully and properly increased, the government will be able to afford the spending necessary to re-industrialize and create jobs and opportunity for social mobility, without borrowing it from China or Saudi Arabia. That approach has worked in the past, and it will work again.

  17. madamab, well said.

    “Reagan has been proven wrong on taxes and deregulation. His “trickle-down” theory, so tightly embraced by Greenspan and many on both sides of the aisle, has been proven to be a thinly-disguised exercise in impoverishing the middle and poorer classes.”


    I’ve always wondered who wanted “a trickle” anyway.

  18. RD,

    I brillant post as usual, that I do not totally agree with though. Because even though liberal to the core, one thing this election taught me about myself is that I am also fundamentaly a capitalist. So when you start a sentence by “the Rich” I gringe.

    Spreading the wealth I strongly oppose. Spreading the opportunities I will always fight for.

    With of course the exception of the disadvantaged who should be helped or taught to take advantage of the opportunities.

    Few years back, while cosy in my house overlooking the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, I checked the labor laws on the book in Florida for a friend who had just got fired in a matter of minutes. The only thing existing was a mere law on overtime fo croppers passed in the 60″s. That is shameful! But that Florida has no estate tax is not.

    My point is that I do not believe in taxing because it implies gouvernement intervention in redistribution. I am for cutting the middle man everytime possible. Regulation and laws to protect ethics and labor are my favorite tool for liberal capitalism.

    Have a good day all. I am up to a day of racking leaves….

    My point

  19. IronMan,

    You’re just wrong about Obama being a socialist. Socialists do not argue for wealthy individuals and corporations taking over government programs. Obama is an opportunist who is willing to use anyone to gain power.

  20. from the front page of Reuters this morning
    Obama lead drops to 5 points

    By Andrew Quinn

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrat Barack Obama’s lead over Republican rival John McCain has dropped to 5 points, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Sunday.

    Obama leads McCain by 49 percent to 44 percent among likely U.S. voters in the daily tracking poll, which has a margin of error of 2.9 points. Obama’s lead has dropped over the last three days after hitting a high of 12 points on Thursday.

    “Things are trending back for McCain. His numbers are rising and Obama’s are dropping on a daily basis. There seems to be a direct correlation between this and McCain talking about the economy,” pollster John Zogby said.

    Reading the rest here
    this particular excerpt stood out

    Obama’s lead among voters making less than $35,000 per year remains substantial at a little over 70 percent. But McCain, who had previously scored well only with the highest income brackets, now holds slight leads among voters in all income groups starting at $35,000 and above.

    “You’ve got to think that it is tax-and-spend that concerns them. Is McCain starting to connect with the middle class?” Zogby said.

    Perhaps some people actually can do the math and realise that what bo is proposing does not add up ..!!

  21. purplefinn –

    Yeah, and who thought “drowning the government in the bathtub” (said by Grover Norquist, the Movement Conservative guru) sounded good? Don’t people realize that that means fewer public services and more money in the pockets of our triple-chinned captains of industry? We end up with lower real wages, fewer jobs and less social mobility.

    Time to let it go. If we don’t, the United States is over.

  22. It’s time to do what works, no matter what party it comes from. Economics should be a science, based on results, not a squabble over who can defraud the American people the most while couching it their thievery in the prettiest words.

    If I thought that “Redistribution of Wealth” would actually trickle down to the people it promises to help, I might agree with it.

    I certainly do not agree that a CEO who has all but bankrupted a company should receive the huge bonuses they’ve received over the last few decades, but I will say if someone owns a business, has worked hard, has paid his employees fairly, he should be the one who reaps the highest reward.

    I simply don’t believe that the money they will supposedly receive in tax dollars will go toward anything useful. I do believe it will all go to a select few and will benefit only those who are on the top.

  23. RD: I see it differently although the end is the same. I think our government should use tax policy not to take from the rich and give to the poor but to empower and support those who have little to make more, to be economically comfortable and successful. We should be building the infrastructure for economic access. I think our tax policy for that upper 5% should only be about two things: comparable to the tax rates on that group in western democracies and making sure that wealth is something you have to earn, not inherit. Otherwise I want to see tax policy that really supports the growth of the middle class, decent jobs for middle class workers.

  24. swanspirit – Zogby thinks McCain is “starting to connect” with the middle class?

    Where does he think most PUMAs come from? He’s been connecting for quite some time with us.

    Oh, I forgot, we don’t exist. Or…DO WE?


  25. Obama is not a socialist nor a Democrat. To me, Obama has the heart of a Neo-Con Fascist Republican in a Liberal Democrat’s clothing.

    – Obama steals votes just like Bush
    – Obama supports FISA just like Bush
    – Obama is a demagogue that rallies his units with pseudo-religious cult fervor just like Bush

    No socialist would write pages of complimentary prose dedicated to Reagan the way Obama did in his books. The only thing is that the way he got through the door of political opportunity was through extreme left supporters – so he had to keep the schtick going of hnim being a “Liberal” when he never was and never will be.

    The Clinton tax code WORKED because they stimulated the economy and since many of the working class was making much better wages under Clinton, the tax rate wasn’t so hard felt.

    Liberals want everybody to have a good paying job where, good healthcare, good schools to send their kids, protection of the Constitution, environment protection, diplomatic peace (no wars!), economic growth that is beneficial to both corporations AND the working class, equality across the board, etc. I don’t see any of this happening in neither an Obama nor a McCain presidency – so my hopes are going to be set on 2012.

  26. Jangles: I don’t think we see it differently.

  27. madamab,

    That’s not my partisan view, that’s the views of most economic experts and history confirms it.

    Remember what happened in the late 1920’s and 1930s? Stock market tanked, jobs lost, economic downturn, and what did the President Hoover do? He increased taxes durint the tough economic times and the result was a severe economic depression that lasted for years.

    Obama wants to increase taxes AND spending during a recession. That is unconscionable.

    McCain wants to keep the tax levels the same on income, and reduce capital gains tax by one half, and do what is necessary to reign in spending to get the budget under control.

    I don’t trust Obama to control spending, but I do trust McCain.

    The choice is quite clear.

    Obama- increase taxes on small businesses and investment, and increase spending.

    McCain- keep income tax levels the same, cut the capital gians tax in half, double the child tax credit, reign in spending.

    Those are the basics. Obama wants to put the breaks on the train that produces millions of jobs in America: small business. Obama’s planned tax increase on small business = jobs killer.

    Of all the times NOT to increase taxes, it is now, during an economic recession.

    Do you really think increasing taxes right now on small business during the tough economic times will create more jobs? Do you think increasing taxes on investment will spur more investmentin the stock market and grow all those 401Ks? I hope not.

  28. That’s good news swanspirit. It is nice to see what most of us know being confirmed in some of the polls. Americans are thinking twice about Obama’s radical tax and spend plan during tough economic times.

    Obama’s got the millions, but he can’t close the deal. People do not trust him.

  29. I think that bo is wiling to let people beleive he will cut taxes on the lower incomes and raise the ones on higher incomes, to get their votes , but that what he actually will do will have no resemblance to what he says now .He has lied about almost everything else , changed position on almost issue , and Mccain is corrrect, he will say anything to get elected .
    What I would love to see is growth in the alternative energy sector that creates jobs, and plans to return profits to the residents of the states where the energy source is accessed .
    I like the PALIN PLAN …
    I currently belong to an electric co-operative that is locally owned and is responsible to the residents by which it is owned .
    We even get small dividends and credits .There are solutions. if the local co-op implemented any number of alternative energy plans as a resource, we would all benefit from it .
    I don’t think bo will look for or implement them unless some of his cronies are getting rich from their profits.

  30. Don’t forget. Obama schooled us in history—the only really new and good ideas in America in the last 20 years have come from the Republicans.

  31. Iron Man – Reaganomics has, once again, bankrupted the federal government. It needs an influx of cash. Printing more will simply deepen the recession. Borrowing it is even worse. The cash will have to come from Americans, in the form of taxes.

    For example, Bill Clinton raised taxes immediately upon gaining office in 1992, after the LAST Reaganomics recession. It was a careful, focused tax hike on the people who could afford it. It worked, There is no way to historically rewrite that fact.

    Given the history of what has and hasn’t worked in America, not a partisan devotion to failed Reaganomics, I absolutely do think that taxes will, and should, be raised by anyone who gains the Oval Office in 2009. If it is done properly, it will work to begin turning the ship of state around.

  32. BB,

    Obama pushed the bailout plan for political expediency.

    Bill Ayers is on tape as saying he himself was and still is a socialist and a Marxist and that he told everyoine he was. Ayers was/is Obama’s mentor there in Chicago.

    Has the bailout plan worked? Nope. It was a huge government giveaway at taxpayer money expense. It went to Wall Street.

    At least McCain wants to take some of those billions and put it to better use: reducing the home foreclosure crisis in America.

    That is change I can believe in. Helpng Americans stay in their homes is the way to go. Wall Street greed and hunger for power should not have been bailed out, IMO.

    Back on Biden and the Obama campaign refusing to answer tough questions…
    FOX news is still hammering Biden and Obama for refusing to answer questions and boycotting the TV station in Florida. That’s going to have some fallout in Florida. The papers in Florida are running with the story, as are the local news in Florida. Excellent!

  33. Another element of Palin’s policy in Alaska. She sees the natural resources of the territory—the gas, oil, wind, solar, tides—as being the common wealth of the people and if someone wants to use those resources to make money, they should pay the people for the privilege of doing so. If we looked at the natural resources of the US in general in that way, none of us would be paying any taxes and we would probably have all kinds of energy resources available for our use. Look at how such raw resources in the past have been exploited by developers who pay nothing to the common good for access to the use.

  34. swanspirit – The one area in which McCain and I actually agree is the environment. I think he has historically shown a real interest in addressing climate change and alternate energy, while so many Congresscritters were happily ignoring the problem. Again, he worked across the aisle with Joe Lieberman to try and get something done, and unlike Obama, he voted AGAINST the Bush-Cheney energy bill. And McCain seems to place the environment at a very high priority level in his platform.

  35. Rd, I liked this one. It paints a picture of the great dwindling middle and how it feels. I think Dems were always the good guys trying to help others — until this year.

    One thing Mcc talks about is the balance of Dems to Repubs — you need both? Right now, overloaded with Dems — bad dems! Pelosidems! Rotten dems who could care less.

    This is no longer the country of our adolescence. And the dwindling middle has been broken apart by the corporate greed, anyway.
    Out here the balance or imbalance is very obvious — the poor are homeless in broken down vans that park next to glittering hotels along the beach.

    The whole social fabric is torn. What it will lead to is crime, maybe, like in the 30’s. That is what I forsee. A gen of modern day Bonnie and Clydes maybe. Dems have done nothing for anyone — not these California dems — nothing.

    Hard as it is to accept Palin, I have to go that way — just to see oif it can be reformed—- and all those industries created. O=Hugo Chavez who I used to sort of like a few years ago because he was helping our poor…

    But if you look now? What has he become?
    McC is only way. And, yeah that piece above — the incredible nerve of what happened to the Clintons and then the expectations?

    Sorry but…….they don’t realize how all of it looks to the Party members.


    I never remember a worse political year.

    hugs to all…

  36. madamab,

    If you were POTUS, would you increase taxes on capital gains right now. If so, how much and why? If not, why not?

    If you were POTUS, what would your corporate tax rate be and for people (small businesses) earning 250K or more, what do you think their reaction would be to a forced tax increase?

    Would they go out and hire more workers with less revenue? Woudl they cut back worker hours or benefits? Woudl they increase the cost of their goods and services and pass those increases on to the American people?

    if you or anyoen believes that increasing taxes right now in THIS economy is the right thing to do, then by all means, you are entitled to that opinion, but I respectfully disagree with it.

    The economy today is MUCh different thatn what is twas in 1992 when Bill Clinton, God Bless him, led our country back to prosperous times.

  37. Good morning BB, and thanks, I’m well.
    I hope that you are too.

  38. Jangles – Another reason why I like Palin is her use of the term “common good.” I believe in that so deeply. That is what America is all about – we are supposed to be a society of people responsible to each other.

    When was the last time you heard a Republican talk about the common good?

  39. !rant warning!

    The “government” as we know it cannot be trusted. See prior posts re: “bailout”
    Until some reform takes place how can any of us feel good about handing over more of our hard-earned money to be spent as these elected assholes see fit?

    And Iron Man is right on this point-you can’t decrease taxes and spend like Obama says he will! Someone is going to have to pay for this at some point!

    And do people get it that if the Bush tax cuts are rolled back that this will hurt both middle class taxpayers AND the economy?

    Obama is talking about spending money we just don’t have!
    (B/c we just gave it to Wall St?)
    McCain is talking about halting spending.
    That just makes more sense to me right now.

    There is no accountability or responsibilty. I don’t want to pay more f-ing taxes! I want to bury what I have left in a box in the back yard…

  40. Raising taxes work in a strong economy, not when the majority of Americans are living hand to mouth at this point.

  41. I found it very heartenting when my cousin’s cleaning lady -who is from Brazil and has little education said in her broken English “Obama is crazy, how does he expect to pay for all the things he is saying he wants to do? He will have to tax us all ’til we have no money left.”
    So even the uneducated understand that O is way off the mark. That’s what’s driving his numbers down.

  42. Here is what wish McCaIn or Palin would say ( short list) in simple terms to the American Voter

    YOU DO KNOW BO , he says how he has handled his campaign can be used as ‘experience”
    Well we have experienced him!!
    1. You can see how bo handles money from how he has spent it in his campaign .
    2. He wasted over six million dollars on fake greek columns , while the media worries about how much Sarah Palin spends on lipstick!
    3.He has changed his position on almost every issue that is of importance to the American people , sometimes more than once..
    4. When asked tough questions , he shuts down access .
    5 He has avoided every form of debate unless it is absolutely required, even tho he said he would debate anytime anywhere !
    6. He has taken money from , supported the CEOS ; and failed to stop the organisations that were fundamentally responsible for the current economic crisis; attemped to deflect the blame anywhere and everywhere else , and not taken any personal responsibility for his actions.
    7. More people have been killed in his own home city of Chicago than over the same time frame in Iraq ,so his history and the effect of his accomplishments or lack therof ; was of no assistance in alleviating their problems , and may have even made things worse.

    feel free to add to this list 😉

  43. Speaking of raising taxes on businesses making over 250K…

    Is this that after expenses, including bonuses paid out to make profits appear lower? If so, no small business with a decent tax advisor will be subject to the increase..

  44. IronMan – Bill Clinton’s tax plan and Obama’s are entirely different.

    I do not think Obama’s plan is good even as proposed (he will actually increase taxes on anyone making $125,000 or more – the $250,000 figure is for COUPLES!), and in any case, I do not think he will implement anything close to it should he squeak into office somehow.

    In a broad sense, I favor the Clintonian approach. However, I agree that tax increases should be carefully calibrated in order to minimize impact on the people who cannot afford them. Clinton did that, but Obama clearly has not.

    In any case, my point is that taxes should, and will, be raised strategically once the President takes office. Another tax cut would do more harm than good. Thus, I do not agree with McCain’s approach either. I hope that he will allow himself to be advised to do what’s best for the country, rather than what the ghost of Reagan is whispering in his ear.

  45. Swanspirit, I like the Palin plan as well. NV has been toying with solar power, we also have geothermal power available. Our governor was not warm and fuzzy (he wants clean coal) and in his debate said the sun only shines half a day – obviously not understanding the concept at all. Fortunately, he got some good people on his energy committee and they convinced him there was more than just coal.

    Factories that were shut down over the last few decades could easily create the solar panels, could create the hydrogen fuel cells needed to store the energy (or whatever other device to store it). Jobs would be created by building the infrastructure of solar plants and geothermal sites, jobs would be here to run the infrastructure, and we could create jobs in other states by building the materials needed to implement. Other states have different resources.

    I have a very rudimentary understanding of economics, and I’ve heard something like this from both candidates (only saw BO on the news though), It just seems to make sense.

  46. Obama will not raise taxes on the top 1%. The top 1% are his biggest campaign donors. His top economic advisors are opposed to universal health care and favor turning social security over to the Wall Street investment banks. If you want to know what a candidate supports, look at the people he surrounds himself with.

  47. Right, Swan.. and I’m supposed to hand over some more of my hard-earned money? F*** no! (the greek columns put me over the edge, sorry)
    How in the hell do people actually believe Obama will do ANYTHING he says he’s going to do-he’s full of shit.

    I’ve already started my tax planning and will make sure I don’t pay any more taxes than absolutely necessary. Wall street doesn’t need my help. Neither does AIG.

  48. Swanspirit – adding to your list:
    1. He stole the nomination
    2. He appears not to really know how the middle class really lives their lives and what thier needs are.
    3. He has not assumed responsibility for actions of his campaign
    Good grief there are so many one could go on and on

  49. I want SARAH PALIN to scream to the people




    ok i feel better now whew……..

  50. ok what am I saying, Obama is going to lose, right?

    Let’s hope for some damage control from Mccain.
    Maybe he and Palin will deliver on reform.
    They seem to understand that higher business taxes mean more American jobs lost.

    In four years HRC will have one hell of a mess on her hands..

  51. WMCB: Where are you? I really miss your gutsy, and often humorous, posts.

  52. At this point, I have no idea who/what Obama is. He’s changed his policies and blurred the lines on so many things, I don’t know which way he would go given a compliant Congress and expanded executive powers. I think the answers lie somewhere in between, as Jangles stated. I do not think that a free market is categorically “evil,” but little or no oversight is an open door to abuse . Expecting power-brokers to monitor themselves completely ignores the realities of human nature. On the other hand, too much taxation and regulation will choke growth.

    I heard on the radio this week that one of the economic ideas they are discussing in the Congressional hearings comes from a New School economist, a woman, re: 401Ks. The government would “seize them” and roll them into Social Security, guaranteeing a 3% return until retirement, when a person would receive one check. THAT makes me very nervous. This kind of socialistic thinking is too extreme for my liking. Given what we’ve seen of government abuse and political manipulation, I wouldn’t trust them with people’s hard-earned life savings. It’s a slippery slope from that kind of government control to a lack of freedom and privacy.

    An energy plan, if developed wisely, could be bigger than the industrial revolution. Paul Hawken wrote a powerful book, “Blessed Unrest,” about the global potential of this movement. As Hillary emphasized, it would be both an economic and a security solution for this country. Jobs creation, cutting dependency from hostile countries, and a healthier environment. They call it the triple bottom line: People, profit, planet.

  53. I have heard people on TV say that Americans who make less than $30,000 pay no taxes. I have been in a very low tax bracket for a number of years, because I have been a full-time student. I have had income from teaching jobs, but have not earned that much. One year, I lived completely on loans. In one recent year, I earned only $9,000. I still had to pay federal income taxes. Under Bush, in a very low tax bracket, I have been paying around 30% of my income in taxes. The people in the top 1% pay a much lower percentage of their income than that.

  54. Now, can someone please post the video of MeChelle
    screeching “Can we git somethin’ over here?”
    I have a box to bury..

  55. Parent: I was thinking about WMCB too…I always agree with her. Where has she gone???? Arabella doesn’t visit much anymore either. I wish people would let us know if they are leaving.

  56. Catarina,


    Here’s my philosophy concerning Senator Government:

    If sounds can be heard from Dear Leader’s mouth, he’s lying. 🙂

  57. fif,

    I heard that on right wing radio last week also. I don’t believe for one minute that Congress would or could do that. That is just scare mongering. What really worries me is that the so-called “rescue package” has so far been going for the investment banks to buy other banks and pay their top executives. I don’t see any sign the “bailout” is going to be anything buy highway robbery of ordinary Americans and a “government handout” to those who caused the economic crisis.

  58. bb
    I will try and dig up some tax tables pre-Bush.
    I own a payroll service and remember adjusting withholding for many middle income employees.
    I believe lots of regular people will have an unpleasant surprise if those cuts are rolled back.
    Would be great if someone had the brains tofigure out how keep the tax cuts in place for the “Middle Class”
    From what I’ve been reading Obama’s “cuts” combined with
    eliminating Bush’s cuts will result in a wash. Now there’s a surprise!

    I miss WMCB too-where is she??

  59. BB – Obama’s cabal of neoliberal Chicago School economic advisers speaks for itself.

    And catarina, I agree. No way that plan, even as flawed as it is, will be implemented. Nagahapin.

  60. Did Angie show up last night? Haven’t heard from her since Friday

  61. Please, Ironman, give it up about Obama’s being a socialist. Here’s what he had to say recently to “the Money Honey” ™ Maria Bartiroma about capital gains taxes:

    Here’s my belief, that we can’t go back to some of the, you know, confiscatory rates that existed in the past that distorted sound economics. And I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was the 28 percent. I would–and my guess would be it would be significantly lower than that.

    Trust me. A real socialist would never be able to pull an adjective like “confiscatory” out of his pie hole. Obama is nothing but a political opportunist who knows how to say precisely what his immediate audience wants to hear. That’s how he manages to be all things to all people. But his voting record in the US Senate, as well as his recent actions in response to the Wall Street bailout (of which Rep. Kucinich has a lot of painful things to say) provide pretty conclusive evidence to me that the Obama will try his best to maintain the existing distorted economic relationships in this country.

  62. madamab
    lying sack of shit, he is!

    And the poor needy bastards who are really hurting hear him throwing around the “d” word (depression, not democrat-you never hear the fucker say democrat) and they are so terrified that things in their shrinking world will get worse and he says what they need to hear and this is why people are voting for Obama, and oh, what surprises are in store!

  63. If you want to know what a candidate supports, look at the people he surrounds himself with.

    bb: but he has also surrounded himself with pretty extreme socialist influences. Isn’t this absurd, that at this late date, we have no idea who this guy is and a majority of Americans (we think) are ready to hand him an undivided government? Is he a Reagan Republican, a Black Liberation reparations-influenced ideologue, or a political opportunist with no core convictions or principles? I am also sickened, as we all are, that this is happening in the wake of the worst presidency in American history. We have endured 8 years of Bush, and now, whatever happens, it’s another four years of frustration or worse.

  64. fif
    If this psychotic prick gets elected the Bush years are going to be the good old days.

  65. joanelle: no. She kept saying she was “in a really foul mood” that night, and then got really angry about the perceived slight re: France, and hasn’t been back since. It sounded like something was going on with her privately, because her reaction was extreme. Miss her.

  66. bb: AIG has already gone through 80% of their bail out money, and have their hand out for more. It’s insane.

  67. “the poor are homeless in broken down vans that park next to glittering hotels along the beach.”

    We have one homeless woman (the rest get picked up). While I live in an apt., across the street in a walled up area surrounding a man-made lake, are multi-million dollar homes. She’s older (maybe 60’s), she pushes a cart overflowing, she’s very kind, she doesn’t panhandle. She sleeps in a grassy area near the lake. The owner of the cafe brings her food. I’ve watched others pull over and just give her money. From what I understand people have offered to pay her rent, she has refused; a few people have offered to let her live with them, she refuses. I don’t know why. Nobody knows her name, her history, nothing. I think the police tried to pick her up once and the cafe owner demanded they leave her alone.

    For the most part, our homeless are treated horrendously, probably worse than many places. They’re ticketed for stupid things and then when they don’t pay the fine, they’re arrested. After they’re released, they’re still homeless and it starts all over. It’s a very vicious circle that makes it very difficult for them to get out of.

  68. fif: I agree, I don’t trust Obama on anything. I can never believe that people think Obama is pro-environment. Aside from his Bush/Cheney Energy Bill vote, he and his surrogates have given KY a distinctly pro-business bent. McCain and Hillary, e.g. point-blank said they are against mountain-top coal removal.
    But I recently got a voter’s guide from the left-leaning Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and it lists replies from the Obama campaign. Under coal mining, there are Obama quotes on using coal to help expand jobs here by liquid coal, etc. while he mentions the destruction mining has brought. Typical tap dancing. On mountain-top removal, he says he understands the harm that it has done, and we need to carefully look at it. WTH? No, we don’t need to look at it, we need to end it. Funny thing is, one of his earliest and strongest supporters is LtGov Mongiardo, who recently said we need to EXPAND mountain-top removal. Mongiardo knows: if Obama is elected, we will see even more destruction to the environment and money in the hands of huge energy companies, some of whom are foreign-owned. Obama is not pro-environment.

  69. Inky,

    What Obama says to the press is not always his true beliefs.

    But what he said to jie the Plumber was a slip up of his true beliefs, that increasing taxes on small businesses and spreading the wealth to those that don’t pay income taxes is his agenda.

    Please don’t try and silence my opinion concerning Senator Government.

    If you disagree with Obama being a socialist or having socialist leanings, that’s fine, but don’t expect me or others that believe Obama has a socialist agenda to agree with that analysis.

  70. Can someone please go to the Bill thread and delete “Kitty” at 11:11? has a vile rant toward RD.

  71. That voter’s guide also mentions Obama’s plans to fight poverty, and mentions his 20 Promise Cities. First, we really don’t need some other government fight-poverty crap program here in Eastern Kentucky, we’ve had lots. Second, this country cannot afford to increase both government spending and government size, especially after the Bush Debacles. Third, I’m suspicious; I’m thinking none of those cities will be in Eastern Kentucky, but one will be in Chicago, and huge amounts of taxpayer money will disappear down a rabbit hole to his donors.

  72. Oh I am loving Hasselbeck right now! She’s speaking LIVE on stage in Florida with Sarah Palin!! Absoluitely tearing up the MSM and Obama! The corwd is loving all of it!!

    Go Hasselbeck and Sarah!!

    Everyone turn on FOX now! OMG, Hasselback is nailing it!!

    Florida will be voting Country First!!

  73. gross, no way I’m watching Hasselbeck.
    That is just going to far!

  74. A very good post, RD.

    I think a lot of PUMAs are tending in this election to get too much sucked into Republican spin because we want so much — for good reasons — to see Obama defeated.

    Now some of this may be actually quite salutary. One of the good things about having no home politically — as is the fate of PUMAs — is that one has to question long held assumptions. And periodically doing so, and freeing oneself from one’s own prejudices, and going back to basic principles to justify one’s views, is something everyone should do to lead what Socrates called an examined life. I think one needs to do it simply to lead an honest life.

    Yet I think most of us came to our progressive principles because we did indeed see how those principles reflected both our own most basic values and the reality of the world around us.

    I think that Obama’s comment that we should “spread the wealth around” was incredibly crude and stupid. But that should not blind us to the fact that there already exists a great distortion in how wealth is currently distributed, and that government must play a role in correcting it. In a free market, fully unconstrained, the rich are in an easy position to reward the rich at the expense of everyone else. Nothing could make this more obvious than the bizarre and completely ungrounded rise in the compensation of the executive ranks in corporations.

    Certainly as progressives we have to see this as a problem. And if government policy can’t correct this economic distortion, what can?

  75. frankly0 –

    *standing ovation*

    I do hope that after this election, we can get Republicans to hold their party to account as we are doing to ours. We Americans need to realize that we will get NOTHING from our parties if we continue to vote them into power no matter what they do. We bitter knitters have shown them the way – will they join our efforts?

    Time to go make hubby some brunch. Later, Conflucians!

  76. Hey Ironman,

    I’m not trying to shut you up — I just think you are wrong and I explained my reasons why I thought so. My “give it up” was merely rhetorical flourish. But I honestly don’t think that George Will and Milton Friedman’s son would both be giving Obama’s economic plans and and his chief economic advisers a big thumbs up if Obama were the redistributionist that you think he is. And Obama wouldn’t have voted down a 30% cap on credit card interest rates if he were actually an enemy of corporate profitability. I agree with you that we live in different times than existed during the Clinton era, so many of the what worked then won’t work now. And I also agree with you that Obama will be an extremely poor steward of the economy during our troubled times ahead. So perhaps we should focus on our areas of agreement. I don’t think Obama’s corrupt system of “public-private partnerships” as exemplified by his work on behalf of Tony Rezko can be properly classified as either big government or small government, but it certainly can’t be called good government.

  77. I take the middle path on all things–the buddhist in me. That includes the economy. If it’s working, the government has no reason to get into it, if it’s not working … the government should figure out how to improve the situation. There are many many markets that cannot be left to laissez faire because there are many situations that create inefficiencies and inequities in the market. There is a difference between just ‘spreading the wealth around’ and providing the circumstances where every one can succeed and the markets act efficiently and equitably. If folks need job retraining or have some deficiency in their skills or knowledge, the government can do that. If there is research and development that won’t be funded by the private sector, the government can do that. It can can use incentives and disincentives quite effectively. Spreading the wealth shouldn’t just mean handouts, it should mean enabling folks to accumulate wealth and build wealth. It also means making sure rules exist where those who can use market power can’t abuse the system and game it to the disadvantage of others … if Obama and McCain were more intelligent and well-spoken, i think they could verbalize this better … i’ve not seen either of them really verbalize the american dream very well — joe tried to … the american dream is that we can all make it, as long as the rules to the game are fair and as long as we provide a hand to some one that needs to be brought up so they can function and get on board …

  78. frankly
    government has yet to *correct* it-not because they can’t-they won’t!
    Exec pay will never be capped, and the top earners are never the ones to see tax increases. as Lou Dobbs would say, “its DISGUSTING”

  79. Confiscatory, confiscatory? Who gives him the authority to be confiscatory? Next thing he’ll wan to take stuff away from us.

    Barack Obama is the natural heir to Margaret Bloody Thatcher – and she taught little Ronny Reagan a thing or two.

    Maybe the die-hard Republicans don’t want McCain/Palin to win. What? Am I nuts? What am I talking about “maybe”? It’s bloody obvious – the New Revised Democratic Party (with apologies to John Barth) has found it’s Messiah and become – the GOP!!

  80. dakinikat, well said. I think “spread the wealth” is a hot button phrase. I prefer the common good, in the public interest, equal opportunity, etc. I think we need to start with universal health care and continue with making our educational system on a par with or better than other developed nations. We need equal access to child care, pre-school, K-12 and post high school education. I feel ridiculous for even having to mention this in 2008 regarding the U.S.A.

  81. There is a difference between just ’spreading the wealth around’ and providing the circumstances where every one can succeed and the markets act efficiently and equitably…Spreading the wealth shouldn’t just mean handouts, it should mean enabling folks to accumulate wealth and build wealth. It also means making sure rules exist where those who can use market power can’t abuse the system and game it to the disadvantage of others.

    Ditto everything dakinikat said. The strange thing about Obama is, he is simultaneously advocating Reagan principles AND hand-outs. He either doesn’t know what he is talking about or, as we suspect, pandering to selective audiences.

  82. I understand the cries for social and economic justice. I’m not against helping those less fortunate. It’s just that in this world, it will not always happen. Some people get left behind (unfortunately) and some people bring it upon themselves. I can’t get mad at businesses because this the society we all have chosen, even “communist ” China. We went from working by hunting, fishing and farming to tellin you how great this stupid product is. We need the business to survive now. We need to work. Although, everything is not always going to be fair.

    We can tax big business to try and make everything more fair, but in the reality of a global economy business can always leave to go somewhere cheaper. Sorry, but increased taxes are not going to solve it. Should they pay more- in the case of the largest businesses yes. But it’s not called capitalism for nothing.

    You will have some abuses, but most people already try to keep everything fair. Joe’s small business was your example. We used to live in a world where everyone wanted out good and technology, but now we want other country’s goods and technology. A global system in a delicate balace, but in America we want everything now. We want cheap goods and somehow want more money. But why should they pay us more when they can get someone else to do it for 30% less? Something has to give. Either the burden is lessened in the form of smaller taxes or people continue to lose income, jobs and benefits.

    The big problem I have with higher taxes, isn’t that they are higher. It’s letting this corrupt government apparatus take more money and deciding where the money should go. Especially when they have such a terrible track record. Government’s role is to protect (foriegn and domestic) and keep the roads running. It’s there to help out when needed and if needed. Government is not supposed to run our lives. Heck the education system is a perfect example of a failed government run factory. Government sucks at taking care of things. They only person who can run your life is you. You (the community) can get social/economic justice. Why wait for the government to do it for you? Because they won’t and we all know they won’t.

    Heck even though I’m voting for the McCain/Palin ticket, I do not expect them to solve all our problems. I just expect them to at least try.

  83. RD – can we revisit the tax and economy issue after Jan 20? I think it would be an interesting discussion, as there are both Dems and Reps reading here.
    PUMA is strong, and perhaps PUMA can be the catalyst for change that America needs.
    The first government was made up of common citizens, not politicians. Maybe the answers again need to come from common citizens, from all walks of life, instead of politicians.
    The answer, imo, is going to be a compromise, something that works for everyone.

  84. Sarah Palin should use Biden’s “Are you joking?” in response to questions she doesn’t like. If Biden can get away with it, Palin should be able to as well.

  85. catarina: “If this psychotic prick gets elected the Bush years are going to be the good old days.”

    Amen and a hallelujah chorus.

  86. Lolol

    You sure got my attention with your metaphoric Pict!

    Seriously, if you are living under that roof, and especially in snow country, you better get a roofer out there right now!

    As to your comments, I see nothing with which to disagree and everything to admire. I take Noam Chomsky’s point however, that there was a great outcry over the bail out, but not yet a concerted public effort of ideas and plans for repair on the part of the public.
    Either the public is still waking up, or else still hoping some large hand will fix this mess for us.

    Yet here, at least, the discussion is continuing. I think we must be as loud as in the first outcry. We must tell our representatives how we want the bailout money to be spent. McCain appears to be listening, in that he has promoted a version of the HOLC. I giggled at Nader’s comment that Paulson should contribute his earnings to the bailout. It fed that sense of retribution.

    On the other hand, I don’t want my venting to dissipate what I think is righteous anger. I know that cycle well. It just completes the spiral into the drain. As you have said many times, “We must be good to each other”. We must also act. For that we need goals. I think these are continuing to evolve.

    For example, it appears from the comments that many would take a more liberal view of the bail out. I sided with Kucinich’s stand. It was not that of HRC. Now that we are in this place, I think we should be very involved in how or if this money is spent. Whether this congress or the next handles it, I want my view heard, and I think it must be soon. Perhaps, not all, or even most PUMAs can agree with my viewpoint. However, we could agree to make all our voices heard. Simply by doing this, the coalition is strengthened.

    Taxes are a red herring in most any election. However, it’s been interesting to see so much discussion on changing the thrust of taxation, and almost none on tax reform.

    As to Labor, we cling to the idea that the Dem party is for us; many of our leaders do speak in language we recognize. Obama does not. His acceptance speech contained not a single utterance of the buzzword “labor”, and seven uses of the word “worker”. I find that to be telling. If he had really meant them to be interchangeable, then why didn’t he? He used the buzzword “union” in relation only to his parents’ marriage. In contrast these words were freely sprinkled throughout others speeches, including HRC’s.

  87. Thank you Riverdaughter. You hit the nail on the head. The millionaries were given a welfare package by Reagan- taking the tax rate they should be paying (and did from every president from Roosevelt-Carter) of 70-94% and dropped it down to a obscenely low 28%.

    Reagan also deregulated everything and that was a disaster we are still paying for too. He weakened union power which also messed the middle class and working poor, he ripped away 87% of the social safety net for the poor. The poverty rate, homeless rate, etc… skyrocketed during the Reagan-Bush 1 presidencies. While the rich got richer they didn’t “trickle it down” at all.

    During the Carter adminstration your average CEO gets a salary 60% more a year than their employees, while now that average CEO gets a salary around 600% more!)

    Bill Clinton managed to push through a tiny increase in the top tax rate- 31% and restore social programs a bit, raise the minimum wage, and look what just a tiny restoration did- the poorest poeple’s income rose 48%, the poverty rate declined, more people moved into the middle class (myself included) and the rich lost nothing economically- their salaries still increased.

    Look what happened though when Bush II adminstration came into power, they cut social programs, further deregulated big businesses, gave tax benefits to corporations moving overseas taking away American jobs, encouraged outsourcing, encouraged an atomsphere at workplaces where employees were assumed to be “trying to cheat” their employers- something that started in the corporate world around 2002 and now even is rife in civil service jobs- the contrast is shocking compared to that open, encouraging personal growth atomsphere of the 90’s.

  88. What a great version of Impossible Dream!

    Down here in Oz, the taxation rate for me as a doctor is nearly 50%. There are very few deductions so most of that 50% is gone. Yet here they have universal health care and all sorts of other goodies. I don’t think I have seen one homeless person in the whole 4 years that I have been down here.

    I don’t know what that is called, heck maybe it is even socialism. I just know that it seems to work pretty well here.

  89. xax: The government is not well run because it has been in control of Republicans for a long, LONG time. There is a role for government. There are some things that it does better than just about any other entity. For example, social security is one of he best run programs with the lowest overhead of any government program. It is not irretrievably broken and can ne adjusted so that nearly everyone in the US benefits.
    We can use government to achieve economies of scale and cushion citizens from risk better than the individual, even very hard working ones, can do for themselves.
    But it isn’t in the interest of Republicans for the government to run well because they don’t like to share. So it hasn’t done a very good job in recent memory. A dedicated public servant could reverse that. Instead, the DNC gave us Republican Lite Obama.

  90. I admit that I am a relative neophyte in this arena, but I read something today that was from a link posted (I think) at the end of a Christian Science Monitor op-ed piece. If even 25% of what it says is correct, I am baffled as to why obots are even attempting to support BO. If I am wrong, I hope that one of you will guide me in the right direction. But if this information is even partly true, I am e-mailing to every person I can think of who might be considering casting their vote for BO:


    It is definitely long, but juicy reading (if it’s true).

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