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Friday, December 10, 2010

"Now that I don't have the votes, let's do something"

Our nation's chief executive is having an interesting week. First he sells out to the Republicans on the Bush tax cuts. Then, when he realizes that he's losing his political base faster than blood out of a split lip, he starts spinning like a top -- "I'll fight two years from now." "It would be immoral not to give the Republicans what they want." "They were taking hostages."

Oh, and "stimulus" -- yeah, that's the ticket, it's all about "stimulus." Jobs, ya know. If you don't give the millionaires a tax cut, we'll have a double-dip recession.

Give me a break. Henry Paulson himself couldn't have scare-mongered any better.

Today it's getting even more warped. After two years of sitting around doing jack squat on the tax system, the Prez is suddenly on the bandwagon for "fundamental tax reform." Yeah, swell -- now that we have a Republican House, it's time to start working on the tax code.

Do we look that stupid? From here on out in this administration, any messing with the tax laws is going to amount to more major whacking of the middle class, on its way down to the peasant class.

The President's new line is the same brand of horse manure that Ron Wyden (R-N.Y.) has been shoveling for quite a while now. Gatsby doesn't fool me with it, and neither does the Big O.

Comments (32)

August 12, 2012

"Today, we are ending social security as we know it," Obama said at a White House ceremony, where he was flanked by three former social security recipients. "But I hope this day will be remembered not for what it ended, but for what it began."

So are folks like DeFazio now the hostage takers?

Whatever the Prez is doing it's taking a personal toll. He looks much older and much grayer than he did just two years ago. Older if not wiser.

I guess you've made your choice. Why even blog about this any more? Instead, now that you've completely written him off, why not start blogging about who would be the alternative? Who do you suggest run against "the big O" now that he doesn't fool you any more? Why not put that energy into something constructive? Nice snarky touch with the (R, N.Y.) after Wyden's name too. So clever. If you represent the majority of the democratic party (sorry, democrat party), I guess I can look forward to President Palin in 2 years.

I've got my personal disappointments with Obama, but you know, the Dems did control Congress for the last two years. Taxing and spending decisions are really theirs (as evidenced by their current effort to block this tax deal.)

The dems made the choice to postpone this decision until after the election, when they are lame-ducks, with the GOP able to claim a (false) mandate, and the gun to their head as the tax cuts will expire on everyone automatically at the end of the year.

I tend to side with the dems on the national level, but I find them incompetent, bumbling and overall just out-manuvered by the GOP regardless of who has the majority. The GOP plays hardball, and the Dems play softball, and they don't even do that well.

Seems pretty weak for Dems to fart around in Congress for two years, get voted out pretty convincingly, then blame the President for the current state of affairs. Maybe the President realizes that there is only one functioning party in Congress, so he'll have to work with it.

No, they are both functioning, in tandem, with the Republican Minority leader calling the shots.

The claims that the democrats controlled the congress for two years bother me, because the congress includes the senate. In the senate, the democrats had sixty votes from the time Al Franken was finally seated until Ted Kennedy died. That was about half a year. And those sixty votes included the likes of Joe Lieberman Ben Nelson, who could not be relied on for any kind of co-ordinated policy efforts.

There is a big problem here, and it is a problem of governance in the Senate.

We do not use the term "tax reform" anymore, it is now called "broadening the base".

Broadening the Base means to lower top marginal rates by shifting the burden to the middle and lower income groups. Oh, for those those of you horrified by 35% or 39% marginal tax rates, please note that as of 2008 the effective tax rates of the top income group in the U. S. were as follows.

Top .1% 22.70%
Top 1.0% 23.27%
Top 5.0% 20.70%


This is based on AGI, so based on gross income the rates would be even lower.

Now almost all of the income tax that is collected is paid by the top income class. The top 10% pay about 70% of all income tax collected. This is a result not of high tax rates, but of high wealth and income concentration.

The solution to our deficit problem is to create economic growth, and have that growth accrue to the low and middle income groups. They will then start to pay more income tax, as well they should. This process will not only shift the income tax burden to them in the right way, the prosperity and higher business income that it will create will mean substantial gains by the wealthiest Americans. (see Clinton Administration, 1993-2000).

Kevin: . . Why even blog about this any more? Instead, now that you've completely written him off, why not start blogging about who would be the alternative?. .

If comments here are too snarky for you, you don't need to read them.

Understand there are are national blogs that are already discussing who to primary against Obama.

and don't forget the list as to why!

You might want to start reading some progressive blogs such as a well known national political blog:

Bernie Sanders is on C-SPAN 2 right now performing a *real* filibuster in protest of the tax cut deal. It looks like he's been going for 6+ hours now.

Republicans should take lessons - a filibuster as filibusters were meant to be. He's not hiding behind procedural votes.

"They were taking hostages."

I think Obama has Stockholm syndrome.

Clinamen: I'd like to still read and contribute to the blog, b/c I think Jack has some good insights, I agree with him on the corruption of local politics, and I like to discuss political issues with people I agree and disagree with. I'm simply trying to implore him and others that snarkiness isn't going to solve anything. It's not even that funny. I'll continue to read and comment, thank you very much.

A democrat can't win anymore. First everyone is all excited because Obama is for the people, then when he saves two million people's asses he's no good. It seems to me that the Dems cling to their principles the way the Republicans cling to their money. From what I've been hearing lately, supporters of BOTH parties seem willing to sacrifice human beings to get their way. Also, everyone waiting for the "hopey changey" thing to start might as well have been waiting for the Messiah. The political system won't allow it. Best you can do is vote for a guy who's head seems to be in the right place and hope for good outcomes. I think Obama did what he had to do. His compromise was an act of compassion, and if your principles are more important than that, then you and your Republican buddies are much more alike than you think. In my opinion.

TikiMan: Amen. Thank you for your comment!!

It seems to me that the Dems cling to their principles the way the Republicans cling to their money.

This is my nomination for the Nobel prize in literature.

Seems to be shaking out like this:

-- Obama gets his second stimulus package, which was politically unattainable, disguised as a tax-cut extension.

-- GOP has to back off its deficit reduction pontificating, since the tax cuts will send it the other way.

-- Obama gets to look like he's moving toward the center as he takes the petulant lefties to the woodshed.

-- Who thinks bumping the rich-folks tax bracket up 4.5 percent is some sort of big deal? Oh that's right, you do.

-- DeFazio, Pelosi and some of the others are gonna strut and squawk for a while, but they'll fall into line. But right now, they gotta give you lefties some red meat to gnaw on. We are OUTRAGED!!!

-- And, if you guys think you're gonna bump Obama from the top of the ticket in 2012, consider how the African American bloc (91-9 for Obama in 2008) is going to react to a bunch of white lefties putting one of their own in the political crosshairs. Dream on, folks.

Politics is usually fun and this spectacle will be especially entertaining. Let the melee begin!

Oh yeah, almost forgot....

Here's what you're really gonna do in 2012:

After your little coup attempt gets crushed like a soggy Dixie cup, you'll all be out there saying:

"We loved Obama all along. We never stopped loving him."

I tell ya, it's gonna be fun. Let's rock.

Looks like we need Bill Clinton to straighten out the mess made by Obama.

Allen L: when you start attacking someone's commenting style, it means you don't have an actual argument for what he was trying to say. It's lazy, man, and not that funny! As you know, TikiMan is making a comparison between hard-liners of both parties. The point is: our political system makes it difficult (thankfully) for one person or one party to unilaterally legislate. See, this is the problem with media and debate in general...we all just want to "win the argument," so we cling onto someone misspeaking or putting something in awkward terms, when we could actually be debating substance.

The Other Jimbo: yep, it is indeed a spectacle. It's interesting from the eagle eye view, but it's hard not to get emotionally invested!

Erdone: sorry, but that is such a lazy comment; worthy of a Republican hard-liner but not worthy of you (I hope). C'mon people...let's rise above these cliches! You have a first amendment right to say all these things...I'm not denying you that right...I'm just challenging you to go a little deeper! At least clinamen gave some other stuff to read and ponder!

Kevin: . . I'd like to still read and contribute to the blog, b/c I think Jack has some good insights, I agree with him on the corruption of local politics, and I like to discuss political issues with people I agree and disagree with. . .

I think it is good to have the conversation, with those one agrees or disagrees with.
My attention was on the national political scene especially re: the Lamont/Lieberman Senate race. . and that is when I discovered firedoglake. You can link to Emptywheel from that site. . they live blogged the Scooter Libby trial. Firedoglake has book salons where one can communicate back and forth with authors of books.

At any rate, hear your concerns. You agree on local corruption of politics, what if some of the folks commenting on here see it on the national level as well? It helps to get it out, so that we don't make the same mistake again. Are you in agreement that both the D and R party are not on our side except for a few in Congress?

My thought is that our country and we are in a dire situation, and unless we clarify now who is really for the public interest, and we need to do that as soon as possible, we may very well be put into the same position of "go for the candidate we give you or you get a Palin."

I could be wrong, but I think many of us "get it now" and we need to work our way out of that so as not to land in a similar situation.

My point then is that when an elected official is shown to "not be for the public good interest" whether local or national, that needs to be called out. If not, called out, then many others who pay no attention at all, will not know what these officials have done or not done.

I believe people are at this stage now of calling out. Others, as I mentioned above, are working now to get other candidates in the mix and not just those "chosen for us to vote for" and I would add "chosen by whom?" A daunting task, but we need to organize, become active and take responsibility more than just a vote on voting day. Meanwhile all the discussion, "snarky to serious" may need to continue.

Have more to write, perhaps later.
Take care

Hey clinamen, thanks for the thoughtful comment. I really appreciate it, and I need to ponder what you are saying a little more. I'm totally willing to think and debate more about this. I'm still weighing the balance between what is reasonable compromise in politics between actual "selling out". Thanks again - I will take a look at those links you posted earlier as well.

After your little coup attempt gets crushed like a soggy Dixie cup, you'll all be out there saying:

"We loved Obama all along. We never stopped loving him."

Doubtful. "White lefties" who didn't vote for Obama the first time certainly aren't going to vote for him in 2012 after he's confirmed their worst fears. Only people who think all Democrats are socialists actually believe that the far left supports Obama.

I suppose I deserve and should not be surprised to be taken for sarcastic, since I so often am. But I literally meant what I said about Tiki-Man's comment. It's insightful, succinct and right on the money.

I hate to sound "Republican" but c'mon, these aren't tax cuts. It's a continuation of the current rates. It's the absence of a tax hike.

We have 400,000 federal employees making over $100,000 in base salary, excluding bonus and benefits. We're spending more on questionable federal programs than the aborted "tax the rich" Obama/Pelosi/Defazio plan could even come close to paying for. Elsewhere on this great blog we're making fun of the feds for paying mortgages for folks who have no business living in McMansions.

We're in the midst of a recession which can only be paid for by job and business creation. We're losing ground to entrepreneurs in China and India. We've seen what's happened to Greece and what's about to happen to Spain.

Consider this an honest invitation for somebody to rationalize why we should consider tax hikes to ANY portion of the citizenry before we get our fiscal house in order.

John, I hate to sound honest, but c'mon, these are tax cuts. If it were a continuation of the present system, it wouldn't require an Act of Congress, now, would it?

Allan L. No these are not tax cuts. These tax rates were put into effect tens years ago and are now sunsetting. It does require an act of congress to keep them where they are or they revert back to the tax rates of ten years ago.

Allan L: Oops! Sorry I misinterpreted your post. It reminds me of the Simpsons scene (circa 1997 or so) where 2 teens are listening to some grunge band and they introduce Homer...

Teen 1: Oh yeah, this guy's cool
Teen 2: Are you being sarcastic dude?
Teen 1: (despairing) I don't even know anymore.

These tax rates were put into effect tens years ago and are now sunsetting.

I guess this is a case where two people can look at the same facts and reach different conclusions. The tax cuts were sold and justified on the basis that they were temporary. That's why they expire. And that's why in my view extending them amounts to a tax cut. But we can agree to disagree. Like the two theologians, one of whom says to the other: "You can carry on God's work in your way, and I in His."

Looks like we need Bill Clinton to straighten out the mess made by Obama.

Don't look now, but...

we need Bill Clinton

He's on it.

Allan L. I say they are not a tax cut because if they are extended the amount of revenue received stays the same. If they are not extended the tax rates go up which is an increase. I guess it's the old half full/half empty argument. Anytime the government takes more of what I make it's an increase. The libs always call something less than what they expected to extract from the taxpayers a cut. You can call it a cut if you want but have a Merry Christmas.

Richard, if World Peace depended on the resolution of this difference, we'd be looking for a new vocabulary. As it is, we choose terms that promote our general outlook. It's what everybody does, and I'm sure that it doesn't enhance understanding or acceptance on either side. (Sort of analogous to the "Pro Life" and "Pro Choice" labels people choose to express their views about abortion.)


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Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
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Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
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William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
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David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
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