National View: Compromise Prevents Nation Falling Off Fiscal Cliff?

Fiscal-Cliff

Late last night,or technically early this morning in Washington, the Senate, after intense last minute negotiations between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, emerged with a compromise that passed a reluctant Senate by an 89-8 margin.

The two most prominent dissenters were Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

The House remains problematic, but somehow, given the magnitude of the Senate vote, it seems likely something will pass and probably today – although some Republicans in the house balked at what they called the contentious language of President Obama’s announcement.

The Republicans in the House will likely reluctantly go along with the deal, in part because they know they have much better leverage on the debt crisis.

As Howard Fineman noted, we should get used to this situation, as we now “operate in a continuous ‘crisis’ of pending governmental collapse.”

“The cliff we rushed to avoid New Year’s Eve is just the first of many that we will face,” he writes.

In calling this the “new normal,” Mr. Fineman writes, “in a deeper sense, it is a gathering disaster that is sapping our economic energy, undermining our leadership role in the world, and disproportionately putting the screws to — you guessed it — the poor, the working stiff and the average American taxpayer.  Money has always ruled Washington and always will. But that tends to be especially true when decisions are made in a hurry and behind closed doors in the name of paying the nation’s creditors.”

Former Labor Secretary and current Berkeley Professor Robert Reich argued that this is precisely why this is a lousy deal.

He argued, “Republicans haven’t conceded anything on the debt ceiling, so over the next two months — as the Treasury runs out of tricks to avoid a default — Republicans are likely to do exactly what they did before, which is to hold their votes on raising the ceiling hostage to major cuts in programs for the poor and in Medicare and Social Security.”

This time, they will have all of the leverage.

He argues that the deal makes tax cuts for the rich permanent, extending the Bush tax cuts for incomes up to $400,000.  Liberals are up in arms over this compromise, but let us face it, people making between $250,000 and $400,000, while very well off, are not super rich.

Still, Mr. Reich argues, “It doesn’t get nearly enough revenue from the wealthiest 2 percent — only $600 billion over the next decade, which is half of what the president called for, and a small fraction of the White House’s goal of more than $4 trillion in deficit reduction.”

That is the bigger problem, because it means that eventually that money will come from the middle class and the poor in the form of spending cuts.

“Yes, the deal finally gets Republicans to accept a tax increase on the wealthy, but this is an inside-the-Beltway symbolic victory. If anyone believes this will make the GOP more amenable to future tax increases, they don’t know how rabidly extremist the GOP has become,” he adds.

He argues, “I can’t help believe the president could have done better than this.  After all, public opinion is on his side.  Republicans would have been blamed had no deal been achieved.

He adds, “More importantly, the fiscal cliff is on the president’s side as well. If we go over it, he and the Democrats in the next Congress that starts later this week can quickly offer legislation that grants a middle-class tax cut and restores most military spending. Even rabid Republicans would be hard-pressed not to sign on.”

The New York Times was also less than enthusiastic about the deal, calling it “a weak brew that remains far too generous to the rich and fails to bring in enough revenue to deal with the nation’s deep need for public investments.”

The editorial continued, “Given that the Bush-era tax cuts expire on Jan. 1, Republicans were forced to give ground on their philosophical opposition to higher taxes, but they made it impossible to reach a farsighted agreement that truly grappled with government’s role in fostering improvements to education, transportation and manufacturing.”

The bigger problem, however, is the debt ceiling.  That is a real crisis and that is a crisis that the Republicans have all of the leverage on.

On Sunday, Senator Lindsey Graham said on Fox News’ Sunday morning talk show, “Why would I raise the debt ceiling again unless we address what put us in debt to begin with? I’m not going to raise the debt ceiling unless we get serious about keeping the country from becoming Greece, saving Social Security and Medicare.”

“President Obama has ruled out any negotiations over the debt ceiling, and, on Monday, he vowed that revenue increases must match any further spending cuts,” the New York Times wrote this morning.  “But as this deal shows, he often compromises at the last minute, and, in this case, it was Senate Democrats who undercut him on both the estate tax and the income tax threshold, making it hard to remain adamant.”

If the President plays his hand right, he could gain some leverage on the debt ceiling, arguing that the Republicans want to play politics with the nation’s credit rating – risking fiscal crisis in order to get political policy goals passed, but it’s a dangerous gambit at best, and the public might not have the stomach to go along with it.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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41 thoughts on “National View: Compromise Prevents Nation Falling Off Fiscal Cliff?”

  1. rusty49

    “The way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 Presidents; number 43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back. Thirty thousand dollars for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.”

    Barrack Obama 2008

    Today’s debt is over $16 trillion so by Obama’s own words he must be unpatriotic.

  2. Neutral

    [i]Today’s debt is over $16 trillion . . .[/i]

    . . . almost all due to Republican obstruction, an abuse of power rendered (justifiably) toothless by the incoming Senate’s re-write of [url]Rule XXII[/url].

  3. David M. Greenwald

    Rusty: I just don’t beleive that the Republicans are concerned about the debt. They didn’t care in the 1980s or 2000s, but suddenly cared in the 1993 and 2009 – why? Not because they care about the debt but because they want to use it as a means to cut social programs. it’s disingenuous. Prove to me that you cared about the debt in 2007.

  4. rusty49

    I’ve always been concerned about our debt, you’ll just have to take my word for it. Vice versa, prove to me that you weren’t concerned or never complained about the debt when Bush was in office. I seem to remember you and many of the other liberals on here complaining about that.

  5. David M. Greenwald

    I’ve never been that concerned about the debt. Why? Largely because the debt really hasn’t grown that much as a percentage of the GDP over the last thirty years.

    I was concerned about the prioritization of money for the military endeavors during Bush, not the debt.

  6. rusty49

    The debt issue was also raised by Obama when Bush was in office as shown by the quote above. So using Obama’s own words, would you agree that Obama is a hypocite and unpatriotic or do you and other liberals refuse to take him at his own words and therefore be hypocrites yourselves?

  7. Don Shor

    You focus obsessively on supposed liberal hypocrisy, rusty. It’s tedious. I’m sure I could do quote-mining. I happen to think that a party that would shut down the government and jeopardize America’s credit rating is unpatriotic.

  8. Don Shor

    Reich, who apparently David agrees with: “”I can’t help believe the president could have done better than this. After all, public opinion is on his side. Republicans would have been blamed had no deal been achieved.”

    I can’t fathom his logic. How could a better deal have been achieved? It isn’t even clear that this will pass the House. If Republicans cared at all that ‘public opinion is on his side’ they would have made a deal weeks ago. If they cared about being ‘blamed’ they would have made a deal weeks ago. They don’t care. Individual Republicans are holding out on principle or out of fear of primary challenges. A conservative Republican congressman from, say, Oklahoma doesn’t really care what the national opinion polls say.
    This was probably the best deal that could be attained with the present congress, and there were somewhat compelling reasons to avoid carrying the tax issue over to the next congress.

  9. rusty49

    “I happen to think that a party that would shut down the government and jeopardize America’s credit rating is unpatriotic.”

    Right Don, it takes two to tango. Good thing the Democrats finally decided to compromise.

  10. Frankly

    Rusty – Don’t bother. These guys are so wrapped up in their myopic narrow thinking that you get dizzy going around in circles. You make a perfect point about Obama and Dem hypocrisy whining about Bush Debt, and then they magically say they don’t care, or that you are the bad guy for pointing out the hypocrisy.

    However, I have to make one New Year’s revelation. I now fully hate Obama. After that PR stunt last night where he tried to take credit for “getting” the Republicans to accept tax increases… rubbing their noses in it. He again just angered their conservative base and ensured that compromise will remain difficult to impossible. This guy is an effing narcissistic jerk. He is playing politics at every stop and willing to take the country down only to satiate his ego and keep leftists in power while they keep moving us toward a fiscally dysfunctional version of old Europe.

    But I’m done trying to get my liberal blogging friends to see it. They are in love with the man just like many Germans fell in love with their Fuhrer. Nazis won those elections, so based on Don’s point history should have considered them mainstream.

    Note too that many Democrats were having a problem with the $250k line because their lefty constituents in those high-end lefty gated communities were starting to squirm with the economy continuing to be crappy thank to our crappy President and his crappy Party.

  11. rusty49

    Jeff, it’s really quite hilarious to watch these lefties squirm and deflect and try to defend the Divider-in-Chief at every turn. Don Shor claims I’m quote mining like it came from some obscure congress member. Sorry Don but it was a quote from the anointed one, Obama, so I think what he has said and says is very relevant to the topic.

    Jeff, why do these liberals always blame the GOP for not compromising when their own party is just as much if not more guilty?

  12. Frankly

    Wow.

    Yup, it was over the top.

    But this just pisses me off:

    [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1H5mLSKo7g[/url]

    [quote]The president “sent a message of confrontation,” Sen. John McCain said on the Senate floor shortly after Obama’s statement. “I have to wonder, and I think the American people have to wonder, whether the president wants this issue resolved, or if it is in his short-term political benefit for us to go over the cliff,” he said.

    Obama’s comments will “clearly, clearly antagonize members of the house,” he said. “That’s not how presidents should lead.”

    “If Obama’s goal was to harm the process and make going over the cliff more likely, he’s succeeding,” said Doug Heye, a press secretary for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.[/quote]

  13. jimt

    Looks like the debt problem has successfully been framed again in terms of D vs. R.

    While we squabble about the faults of D and proclaim the virtues of R or vice-versa; my forecast for 2013 is that the very wealthy will continue to get wealthier, as has occurred during the first 4 years of the “Obama” leadership, and the number of those in poverty to increase. Little or nothing will be done to slow down illegal immigration and concomitant high unemployment rate and downward pressure on USA wages. I don’t understand why people like Rusty or Jeff should complain–after all their heroes, the “producer class” (at least those on top) will continue to reap the benefits of their superior virtue (such virtue proven by the fact that they are rich and employ people). As any duke or earl in medieval times they are the “job providers” and we should submit to the emerging high-tech feudalism in gratitude to our wise masters; secure in the certainty that the extolled flawless and incorruptible system of the USA form of big money capitalism, as forged by the financial houses, has led to the best of all possible worlds.

  14. wdf1

    jimt: [i]Little or nothing will be done to slow down illegal immigration…[/i]

    [quote]April 23, 2012: Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero—and Perhaps Less ([url]http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/04/23/net-migration-from-mexico-falls-to-zero-and-perhaps-less/[/url])

    …the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped and may have reversed, according to a new analysis of government data from both countries by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.[/quote]

  15. Frankly

    jimt: I am not driven to promote policy that helps wealthy people get wealthier. My interest is that more people have a happy and prosperous life. I think most Ds and most Rs agree with this goal. The difference is method. Frankly, I think Ds don’t get it. I think they have little respect for many of the people that get wealthy. They are unwilling to accept the simple fact that some people have talents, work-ethic, drive and focus that leads them to earn more money. Both working class Ds and elite highly-educated liberal Ds, they are both driven by a level of envy, and display a level of ignorance, over the importance of these people that lead our systems of production.

    The end game for the Ds approach is Hostess. A situation were owners, management and labor all lose, but then the Ds can feel better by comparison since everyone is screwed the same.

    I am not a wealthy person. I lived pay-check to pay-check for much of my career. Yet, I have no problem with people making a lot of money. I know that it is a treadoff for a free, healthy and growing economy. I don’t respect any comany owner or wealthy person any more or less than I respect a laborer. As long as that person conducts themself with the same strong moral compass, and demonstrates the same or similar work-ethic and self-determination. I think if that janitor wants to, he too can become wealthy… except if the Ds have their way. If the Ds have their way we will increase the impediments to growing wealth to prevent class envy. We will take more from those that produce to simply give to those that don’t. We will destroy the mechanisms of free enterprise and free market capitalism, and reduce the opportunities and mindsets for people to go out and grow their own wealth.

    The Ds will destroy the economic prospects for our children with their misguided, irrational approach using top-down income redistribution.. They already have, but they won’t be satisfied until we look like Argentina.

    Everything we should be doing is to increase opportunity for more people to succeed in the private economy. The Ds are doing just the opposite.

  16. wdf1

    Cliff avoided: Congress staves off tax hikes ([url]http://www.sacbee.com/2013/01/01/5086438/not-solved-yet-gop-wants-more.html[/url])

    Peace and harmony prevail…

  17. medwoman

    [quote]Frankly, I think Ds don’t get it. I think they have little respect for many of the people that get wealthy. They are unwilling to accept the simple fact that some people have talents, work-ethic, drive and focus that leads them to earn more money. Both working class Ds and elite highly-educated liberal Ds, they are both driven by a level of envy, and display a level of ignorance, over the importance of these people that lead our systems of production.
    [/quote]

    Written within the same day as the comparison, once again, of “lefties” with those who were in love with Hitler.
    Also written, by your own statement because you were “pissed off” and “hate” Obama.
    It would seem to me that anger and hate are emotions. Is it not you who is always extolling decision making by logic, not by emotion. Somehow, especially since the election, which I know sorely disappointed you, emotion is now elevated as a reason for writing ridiculously divisive comments and frankly very insulting statements.

    But when you say that you think that the Ds “don’t get it, you are both right, and wrong.
    Only speaking for one “D”, myself, of course I respect those who themselves have earned their wealth honestly and without doing harm to others on the way. If I did not, I and many like me who come from very humble economic backgrounds and have succeeded economically by hard, hard work would be drowning in our own self loathing. I can guarantee you, this is not the case.

    A few things that I do not respect.
    1) Making fortunes by destroying the prospects of others
    2) Acting as though inherited wealth somehow makes one better than those who were not so fortunate as to inherit.
    3) Assuming that wealth equals virtue.
    4) Pretending that anything that an individual creates or builds in this country is not dependent upon the efforts
    of many, many others that came before them to build the infrastructure that we all utilize. Anyone who ever
    attended public school or uses our roads or accepts the protection and aide of our military and/or public
    protectors of any type is both a contributor to and dependent upon the collaborative effort that is our
    country.

    So how do I think that you are right in your statement?
    I most assuredly do not “get it” if “getting it” means believing in the Randian world view that virtue means always putting yourself first. That compassion / caring for others is immoral.

    What I do believe is that being part of any social group whether it is a family, a neighborhood, a city or even a country has both rights and obligations associated with it. To participate means that one is protected and provided for by the group and that one has a series of duties and obligations to the group. What it does not mean is a loss of individuality, but rather, making the choice to use one’s individuality not only to benefit oneself, but also to make a positive contribution to the group. When I hear you talk about greed, I interpret it very differently from you. When you say “greed” what comes to mind are those who are fully able to pay, and yet complain about having to pay taxes or who shelter their wealth so as to pay less. Greed to me certainly includes feeling entitled to police protection, and yet complaining when tax dollars go to feed hungry children via school lunches. Greed includes those who can afford dressage horses with wealth generated at least in part by terminating the jobs of others.To me, it does not matter whether you are living on the street, or whether you have a vast fortune, if what you are saying is ” what can I individually get from this system in which I am living while putting back in as little as possible ( whether in labor or in taxes), one is being motivated by greed. Greed to me is not virtuous. It is not virtuous for the poor and it is not virtuous for the rich. It is the exact opposite. So, no, I definitely do not “get” your Randian world view and you are right to “give up on trying to convince me”.

  18. rusty49

    “The way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 Presidents; number 43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back. Thirty thousand dollars for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.”

    Barrack Obama 2008

    Being that Obama has run our debt to over $16 trillion I see that not one of you left wingers responded to my question on whether Obama is also unpatriotic and a hypocrite?

  19. medwoman

    rusty49

    I am quite happy to address your question. You could play “gotcha” with this only if you believe that President Obama was correct in his statement. Or that he alone is not allowed to change his beliefs based on his life’s experiences. As for the statement “It’s unpatriotic”. I think that is a ludicrous bit of fluff political rhetoric and would believe that it was whether spoken by a Democrat or a Republican. I basically don’t believe any politician is speaking anything other than rhetorically when they start tossing around the word patriotic since it means as many different things as their are politicians using it.

    As for irresponsible, that it a matter of perspective. I am sure that we are all aware that what looks like responsible behavior when we are in our 20s may not look that way in our 50s. Likewise, what seemed like a good idea to me as a medical student, may not look like a good idea to me as the responsible attending physician after 25 years of experience and having seen what is possible, and what is not in many circumstances.

    This is no defense of Obama, just a statement of the reality that what we truly perceive as “responsible” when we ourselves do not have the responsibility, may differ from our perception when we are the one in charge.

  20. rusty49

    “This is no defense of Obama, just a statement of the reality that what we truly perceive as “responsible” when we ourselves do not have the responsibility, may differ from our perception when we are the one in charge.”

    So are you saying that Obama gets a pass because when he became president he changed his thinking into he now felt it was “responsible” for him to run our debt up more than any other president ever when he had bashed Bush for precisely the same thing? “As for irresponsible, that it a matter of perspective”, kind of like what is the definition of “is”. I get ya.

  21. medwoman

    No Rusty,

    You don’t get me at all. What you do seem to get is how to completely ignore what I said about disapproving of any politician’s cheap and meaningless use of the word “unpatriotic” whether his name is Obama or McCain. You also seem to get how to put up what you want to discount as though they were my words or ideas without the slightest consideration of what I have actually said and without the slightest consideration of any nuance of ideas. What I fully “get” is that the cheap ( albeit irrelevant) shot is always easier than a considered discussion of ideas.

  22. Don Shor

    [i]Being that Obama has run our debt to over $16 trillion I see that not one of you left wingers responded to my question on whether Obama is also unpatriotic and a hypocrite?[/i]

    No, he is not unpatriotic nor is he a hypocrite.

  23. rusty49

    “No, he is not unpatriotic nor is he a hypocrite.”

    “No, he is not a liar.”

    Jeff said it best: “These guys are so wrapped up in their myopic narrow thinking”

  24. Frankly

    No, Obama is not anything negative. He is the Teflon Messiah. He is cool. He is awesome. He never makes any mistakes worth considering. He is righteous. He is a minority. He is perfect.

    We have a two-Party system: Right and Wrong.

    The “Wrongs” are in control.

  25. Frankly

    medwoman:

    [i]A few things that I do not respect.
    1) Making fortunes by destroying the prospects of others[/i]

    You mean like Hostess? Or like public safety workers unions? Otherwise, what are you talking about? If a company does not exist and does not make a profit, there are no prospects.

    [i]2) Acting as though inherited wealth somehow makes one better than those who were not so fortunate as to inherit.[/i]

    Who is acting this, and why would you care? Did you ever consider that this is more likely the projections of the envious and insecure? I find much more indication of posturing that “I am better than you” from the ranks of our liberal academic elite than I do the ranks of the economically successful. Frankly, most inherited wealthy are lefites (all the Kennedy Dems for example). It is those that got their wealth without having to work hard and take risks that satiate their guilt by trumpeting their alliance with the left and advocating for the less fortunate through income distribution. Those that really earn their wealth were likely a member of the unfortunate at one time, and would prefer to keep the system so others can do the same. That is why they align themselves with the political right.

    [i]3) Assuming that wealth equals virtue.[/i]

    Who said that? I think you are proving my theory that liberals tend to have some non-rational problem with people that are successful in earning wealth. Nobody I hang with says it is more virtuous. Virtue belongs to those that act with strong morals and valor… that work hard to make a different to themselves, their family and friends, their communities and the world. Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and walks of life. But, a person that works at a non-profit handing out food to poor people is no more or less virtuous than is a person that starts and grows a company that can hand out jobs to people that want to work for their own food. I would argue that the former does less long-term good than does the latter… but still both are similar candidates for the assessment of virtue.

    [i]4) Pretending that anything that an individual creates or builds in this country is not dependent upon the efforts of many, many others that came before them to build the infrastructure that we all utilize. Anyone who ever attended public school or uses our roads or accepts the protection and aide of our military and/or public protectors of any type is both a contributor to and dependent upon the collaborative effort that is our country.[/i]

    Again, you seem to be living in your own bubble of irrational thinking on this. I don’t know anyone in business that does not value these things and see them as requirements for business to start, grow and thrive. But, education is crappy and too expensive, our infrastructure is behind the rest of the industrialized world and is crumbling, our regulatory environment is much too over-blown and business-hostile and still does not do a good enough job protecting what should be protected, our judicial system is plagued by too many trail lawyers and frivolous cases that extort money from honest hard-working business owners.

    The only thing on your list that still works and does the best in the world is the US military, and you and your lefty friends want to gut it.

    The problem is the entitlement spending and the public employee union raid on and extortion of the local, state and national treasury. Basically money being taken from the producers to pay people that vote Democrat. These things are bleeding the coffers dry so those other things don’t have adequate funding. And you blame economically-successful people for this? It is irrational.

    So the things that contribute to wealth creation and jobs are getting less attention, and we are just distributing more and more free crap to more and more people with their hand out who return the favor by voting into office people that promise to give them more free crap.

    And you still blame and have anger toward economically-successful people.

    It is simply mind-boggling to me to read these thought and ideas from you since I know you are very intelligent. I don’t think the issues are penetrating your thick liberal emotional rind to get to your more heartless conservative cognitive processing unit. 😉

  26. Don Shor

    [i]No, Obama is not anything negative. He is the Teflon Messiah. He is cool. He is awesome. He never makes any mistakes worth considering. He is righteous. He is a minority. He is perfect.

    … penetrating your thick liberal emotional rind
    [/i]

    I am going to ask you and rusty to be less derisive about those with whom you disagree, and I will try to do the same.

  27. Frankly

    [i]I am going to ask you and rusty to be less derisive about those with whom you disagree, and I will try to do the same[/i]

    I can accept that for the second sentence. The first is fair game in my opinion because Obama is a politician. The very fact that you included that piece is evidence of my point. You and others seem to be protecting him beyond what should be expected of a US President. Why is that?

    However, I am enrolling in on-line sensitivity training at this very moment. Maybe I will learn something that helps me answer my question.

  28. Don Shor

    On-line sensitivity training!
    Criticism of public officials is fair game. What I was responding to was what I assumed was your sarcasm about those of us who are more supportive of the president’s policies.

    My apologies to rusty. I deleted a comment when I meant to click on ‘edit’. And once it’s deleted, it can’t be restored. I was really going to just say what I then said in reply to Jeff.

  29. rusty49

    “I am going to ask you and rusty to be less derisive about those with whom you disagree, and I will try to do the same.”

    Don, thanks for the apology because I don’t feel I said anything that needed to be edited or deleted. I sometimes have a problem with the fairness of which posts are allowed to stand and which get erased on here. As far as being derisive, it seems to me that Jeff, I and other conservatives have far more missives thrown at us then we ever dish out but many of those posts seem to often somehow slip by. For instance, what’s wrong with me calling the president ‘OweBlamer’? Why does that always get edited? I’ve seen conservative politicians called much worse on here.

  30. jimt

    Jeff–“Both working class Ds and elite highly-educated liberal Ds, they are both driven by a level of envy, and display a level of ignorance, over the importance of these people that lead our systems of production. “

    So if someone has a perception or opinion that economic policies are unfair; in reality this is an emotional response springing from envy? Really Dr. Freud? Then I guess your objection to government workers salaries and pensions actually springs from envy; and your comments about unfairness are just to cover up this envy?

    I don’t really want to fight with you Jeff, because I do respect your views on the importance of making a contribution to society in order to earn benefits; I agree with this viewpoint 100%. Perhaps our main point of disagreement is one of perception; you seem to view the current way the business and financial system works as fair; with the poor and nonproductive being the ones responsible for dragging it down. I do not question that there are those who are taking from the system and not giving anything back, although they are sound of body and mind and could contribute. However, much worse are some (not all) of those on top who are living a parasitical existence; taking massive wealth from the system while giving nothing back in return. To me the fairy-tale world is one where all gains in wealth are fairly earned; and is not the world we live in. Not acknowledging the possibility of a system that has been compromised and essentially looted by many of those on the top of the pyramid; who have a lot of influence with the government and have found ways to milk the system while giving little or nothing back to society in return. We have done them a disservice by exposing them to the temptation of doing this, thru imperfect or incomplete systems of laws and regulatiosn, checks and balances, which have now been corrupted. The consolidation of national wealth into the hands of fewer and fewer people continues unchecked. Why not examine how this has come to be, whether this wealth has been fairly earned; and whether it is a good idea for this consolidation to continue–perhaps when the upper 0.1% control over 90% of the wealth of the country; as has been true in many south american countries and other oligarchical systems thruout the world? Why focus on the poor guys working for $7/hr; or getting in line with 50 other people to apply for a single job opening at $8/hr? Are the 49 people who don’t get the job somehow morally deficient?

  31. Frankly

    [i]you seem to view the current way the business and financial system works as fair; with the poor and nonproductive being the ones responsible for dragging it down[/i]

    Nope. The government is dragging it down, and liberals are supporting it at the peril of the working class and low-income folk.

    Ds are correct that the wealthy can afford to pay greater taxes… because the wealthy will protect their lifestyle to the extent they can by taking it out on the consumer and the working class that work for them. The poor may be artificially lifted for a time with more redistributed free crap, but the middle class will suffer the most.

    Come on jimt, celecrate the creation of wealth. We need more if it, not less of it. We need more because it means more will be able to have a happy and prosperous life.

  32. Frankly

    Our main social problem right now is an over supply of low-skilled and un-skilled labor. How do we fix that? Taxing the crap out of the economically successful is not going to get it done.

  33. medwoman

    [quote]because the wealthy will protect their lifestyle to the extent they can by taking it out on the consumer and the working class that work for them[/quote]

    Well, at last, a statement with which I can whole heartedly agree. And you seem to feel that they are justified in doing so. Again, I do not feel that anyone should improve their position by “taking it out” on anyone else. It just happens that the wealthy are in a much better position to do this than anyone else.

    And just out of curiosity, where in any of my posts did you get the idea that I am angry with, jealous of, or envious of anyone? I am entirely satisfied with my economic state and am genuinely puzzled regarding anything I might have written that would have lead you to believe that I am angry. Note, I am asking you specifically about my posts, not about the loop that may be running in your mind that tells you what a “leftie” must believe.

  34. Frankly

    [i]Again, I do not feel that anyone should improve their position by “taking it out” on anyone else.[/i]

    When you increase taxes on the producers, since they are the ones that built the company and control, they will find expenses to cut to stay profitable and protect their wealth. It is natural. This is your fundamental problem as a collectivist… you cannot find a way to take without hurting those you think you are helping. This keeps escalating until government has to take over whole industries. That always ends badly.

    The hope of the left is that the producers will just accept higher taxation as the new normal. Just take their profit and income and hand it over to the government so folks like Pelosi can ride in on a white horse of giving with other people’s money. The wealthy will hire less, make workers do more, invest less, and give less to charity. Some will give up some of their profit and income, but most will start playing a shell game to keep it the same. It is a shell game that the government always loses. The reason so many are unemployed today is because too many in government, and too many that support them, don’t get this.

    It was not that long ago that we had balanced budgets and a growing economy with people working and understanding that is what they needed to do to get a piece of the economic pie. The longer we sit in this trough of economic doldrums, the more people will forget and will start acting like the folks in Greece that think someone else should just pay for everything they need. I think Obama and many liberals know that and want that. The rest are just ignorant and/or stubborn.

  35. medwoman

    [quote]they will find expenses to cut to stay profitable and protect their wealth.[/quote]

    [quote]It was not that long ago that we had balanced budgets and a growing economy with people working and understanding that is what they needed to do to get a piece of the economic pie[/quote]

    It was not that long ago that many “producers” understood that they did not build their companies successfully without the hard work of their employees. It was not that long ago that many employers found ways to continue to make what were acceptable profits to them without laying off workers, or making them all part time so as to be able to deny them benefits, or send their jobs oversees. It was not so long ago that people who worked hard and actually produced the goods and services could count on continuing in their job until retirement. I do not believe that any of this made those “producers” of not so long ago any less successful, but it certainly made them more humane and in my eyes, more moral than those who only care about “protecting their wealth” when it has long exceeded the amount that they need, or are even able to spend at the cost of those who are struggling simply to live.

  36. medwoman

    [quote]Cut defense by 75%? I think that is reckless and wrong. I would prefer that we increase defense spending and increase the role of the US military doing more humanitarian work, and to protect those that do humanitarian work.
    [/quote]

    I would agree with an increase in “defense” spending under one condition. We consider that true defense must be based on a truly strong nation and that being a strong nation depends upon having strong and productive citizens. To this end, I would propose expanding the non arms bearing branch of the military to do humanitarian work starting here in this country and expanding outward. Once we have rebuilt a strong infrastructure, have no more hungry, homeless, or uneducated children here, have taken care of adequate health care for our entire population, then I would say that we would have created the ability to do humanitarian work elsewhere.

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