News Goes From Bad To Worse: Schools Face More Cuts With Sluggish Economic Recovery

sacramento-state-capitolWill Water Policies Further Imperil Funding to Local Schools?

An already bad month is about to get worse, and we are only a third of the way through August.  It seemed like, just a few months ago, a rebounding economy was triggering less deep cuts to education and other state programs.

Now, as the July numbers come out, showing dropping revenue, fears on Tuesday were raised that deeper cuts to education would be needed.

“While July’s revenues performed remarkably similar to last year’s, they still did not meet the budget’s projections,” said Controller John Chiang. “While we hope for better news in the months ahead, every drop in revenues puts us closer to the drastic trigger cuts that could be imposed next year.”

His monthly report, covering California’s cash balance, receipts and disbursements in July, shows revenues were down $538.8 million (-10.3 percent) below projections from the recently-passed state budget.

Recall that in order to make the budget be more than just a “paper” balanced budget like those of the previous administration, automatic cuts would be triggered if revenues fell short.  Cuts include a reduction in school spending that shrink the academic year by up to seven days in some districts.

Water Rate Hikes Could Put Local Funding in Jeopardywater-rate-icon

On the heels of this bad news, is a taste of local reality.  The Davis schools have avoided the most draconian cuts, due the generosity of local voters who have passed three parcel taxes since 2007.  However, that might be about to end.

While there were some clear missteps along the way, voters only very narrowly approved Measure A with 67.2 percent of the vote that required 66.7 percent in order to pass.  That measure put into place a $200 parcel tax for the next two years, in hopes that by the time it expired, the economy in the state would be improving and thus future extensions would not be necessary.

Already there was bad news, as experts expected the state’s high unemployment rate to remain in place until 2013.

Yesterday the Federal Reserve announced that low interest rates would remain in place until at least the end of 2013, meaning that they expect the current slowdown to continue, if not worsen.

Things then get tricky for the school district that right now has already scheduled a parcel tax renewal of Measures Q and W, worth $300 per unit, to be on next spring’s ballot.  By that point, the city will have already implemented, unless ratepayer and/or voters stop them, the first of several large water rate increases.

For residential ratepayers, they are looking, on average, around an $800 increase over the next four or five years in their water rates.  Will those water rates put another parcel tax extension in jeopardy?

Already people were seeming to be at the point of saying “enough.”  A large enough percentage was willing to, on a temporary basis, pass a parcel tax last May, but with water rate hikes and another city parcel tax on the horizon, will that change?

A $300 parcel tax means roughly $5 million for the schools, enough to cover a lot of the past state cuts to education.  In 2013, the district would then see the $200 parcel tax passed this May come off the books.

This is not a one-time increase in water rates. They will occur over a four-year period, and will have a chance to impact multiple school parcel tax efforts.

Local business owners have already questioned the timing of the water rate hikes during a struggling economy, but this week’s news is likely to add more fuel to that fire as we face the very real possibility now of a second recession.

And that just covers the status quo.

Things look about to get a lot worse.

Vanguard-Invite.pngBack in June, the governor suddenly went from a pessimist or realist to an optimist.  In actuality, he became a realist, in the sense that he realized he was not going to get revenue from the extension of taxes and therefore he knew he needed a more optimistic budget.

So the June budget relied upon the projection of $11.8 billion in higher revenues over the next 18 months.

The state saved this money in the spring, but revenues fell well short in June and July.

The projections earned criticism from lobbyist Bob Blattner who said on Tuesday, “You would have had to be foolhardy to think we’d float our way out of this whole thing just on the economy. We should have smelled something.”

While Mr. Blattner is undoubtedly correct, back in June things were looking up, but since then the Dow has fallen nearly 10 percent and economists are now downwardly revising revenue and growth expectations.

Where does that leave the school district?  We do not know yet.  Even the state officials are not sure when cuts would be triggered.

The Bee reports this morning, “The impact may not reveal itself until September at the earliest because of when quarterly filers report their estimated tax liability.”

Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer, whose department will release their own revenue figures in the next few days, suggested that his sales tax data may be more positive than the controller’s.

“A lot of things still have to happen that are going to have a far greater impact relative to what happens to the trigger,” he told the Bee. “The biggest is when we revise our economic and revenue forecast in the fall.

Jason Sisney, for the Legislative Analyst’s Office, agreed that it is too early to judge when the triggered cuts would take effect.  However, he warned, “The odds are definitely tougher than they were a few weeks ago. A significant part of our revenues are correlated with the performance of the market. Such a large turn in the market is clearly not helpful to the state’s revenue situation.”

The school district has likely already maxed out the amount that they can get locally through parcel taxes, and the Measure A vote was clearly a sign of that.  The question is really, at this point, whether they will be able to maintain the level of the current parcel taxes, with local policies on water appearing likely to put that into jeopardy.

—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.

Related posts

92 Comments

  1. rusty49

    With the stock market downturn revenues are going to be way down from their projections. As an example I had done a Roth conversion in which thousands of dollars of tax was to be paid to CA this and next year. Due to the market decline I will be cancelling that conversion. With higher water rates and an economy heading back down I doubt anything will pass which reaches into voter’s pocketbooks. By the way David, you were wrong about Wisconsin. GOP still in charge with two democrats on the block next week. It’s good to know that the people of Wisconsin get it.

  2. David M. Greenwald

    Yes I was wrong about Wisconsin, I thought it would give Democrats more of a backbone than it did. I was also wrong about the economy, I thought it would start to turn around quicker than it. Unfortunately I was right about being cynical about government.

  3. David M. Greenwald

    I think you’ll be disappointing. I expected wiser heads to have prevailed much sooner on the debt crisis. I think the country is in far worse shape for having gone through it, and I don’t think the Republicans gained nearly enough to justify it.

  4. davisite2

    This just adds another “interest group” to oppose the surface water project at this time, namely DAVIS HOME OWNERS. The argument made over the years was that our school system was critical to keeping the resale value of our homes HIGH and that the additional education parcel taxes were a good “investment”. My anecdotal observation is that people are hunkered down and not considering selling their homes for the foreseeable future until their home values significantly improve. The surface water project cam be postponed until better times while slashing support for Davis’ education system now would REDUCE the resale value of Davis homes when the economy inevitably will improve. It is politically very likely that the water standards will be eased in the near-term and that, in any event, drastic fines for non-compliance will not be implemented under the present conditions.

  5. rusty49

    “It is politically very likely that the water standards will be eased in the near-term and that, in any event, drastic fines for non-compliance will not be implemented under the present conditions.”

    Thanks Davisite, I’ve been saying that same thing. I’ve tried to find what the current fines would be and is that a better way to go than the drastic rate hikes?

  6. davisite2

    “Yes I was wrong about Wisconsin…”

    David….Perhaps you can take heart in Winston Churchill’s observation about Americans,i.e. “they usually do the right thing after they have tried everything else”.

  7. Dr. Wu

    Is anyone surprised that the economy/budget is deteriorating?

    THis will be a long drawn out affair. Many affluent school districts in the bay area (e.g., Menlo Park, San Rafael) essentially expect families with kids in school to donate to the schools. This mandatory fundraising has been successful. We may be headed in that direction.

  8. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Yes I was wrong about Wisconsin, I thought it would give Democrats more of a backbone than it did. I was wrong about Republicans, I knew I disagreed with them, I didn’t know they were suicidal and crazy. I was also wrong about the economy, I thought it would start to turn around quicker than it. Unfortunately I was right about being cynical about government.[/quote]

    Perhaps the Wisconsin situation is more about the electorate agreeing with Governor Walker’s position than that of the unions/Democrats stance on the issues of fiscal responsibility.

    As far as the economy goes, pay attention to what is going on at the local level, and pay less attention to misleading media spin that is going on at the national level. I predicted at least a year ago the economy was not going to rebound, but get worse. I could see what was happening at the state level, with layoffs and budget tightening as the order of the day.

    With layoffs, you have people who cannot pay taxes. With housing devaluing, you have less property tax revenue. How could anyone possibly think the economy was going to recover with all these negatives going on? Only those who want to believe Obama’s hype that big gov’t is the total answer for a better tomorrow and the media’s spin that things were not as bad as they seemed. There was also complete and utter reliance on meaningless economic indicators that did not reflect, and never have reflected, the true state of affairs of the economy, e.g. unemployment rate.

    I was also fairly certain the Wisconsin GOP would stay in power. The Wisconsin governor at least started to put his state’s fiscal house in order, and the electorate knew it. Nor did the electorate care for the Democrats cowardly decamp out of state instead of allowing a fair up or down vote on the proposed ecomomic reforms put forth by the Governor. While it is true the Wisconsin governor perhaps did not need to be quite so divisive, in a sense I suspect the electorate recognized he was forced into the situation because of the Democrats desertion from their legislative duties. Sometimes you have to fight fire w fire when the other side is not playing fair.

  9. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Already people were seeming to be at the point of saying “enough.” A large enough percentage was willing to, on a temporary basis, pass a parcel tax last May, but with water rate hikes and another city parcel tax on the horizon, will that change?

    A $300 parcel tax means roughly $5 million for the schools, enough to cover a lot of the past state cuts to education. In 2013, the district would then see the $200 parcel tax passed this May come off the books.

    This is not a one-time increase in water rates. They will occur over a four-year period, and will have a chance to impact multiple school parcel tax efforts.[/quote]

    So your position is that we should not do the surface water project bc it might jeopardize the passage of the schools tax and the city’s parks tax?

  10. J.R.

    “I was wrong about Republicans, I knew I disagreed with them, I didn’t know they were suicidal and crazy.”

    The first evidence, in from Wisconsin, is that a Republican stand for sane budgeting is not suicidal and not crazy. There are still enough voters that realize that government spending is not free and limitless for Republicans to have some chance of survival as the fiscal realists.

    By the way, I am the first to acknowledge that Bush and his congresses were fiscally irresponsible, to say the least. I think history will view this period as the time of the “Bush-Obama” years and both will be regarded as failed presidents who were incompetent at running foreign and domestic policy.

  11. rusty49

    ERM, I feel good today. It’s great that Wisconsin voters stepped up against the money and political machine of the unions. Some on this blog want to claim that the GOP is in decline and that in 2012 they will lose many seats. The Wisconsin results shows that to be false.

  12. Don Shor

    [i]So your position is that we should not do the surface water project bc it might jeopardize the passage of the schools tax and the city’s parks tax?[/i]
    David has been saying that over and over.

    [i]It’s great that Wisconsin voters stepped up against the money and political machine of the unions. Some on this blog want to claim that the GOP is in decline and that in 2012 they will lose many seats. [/i]
    They lost two seats, and now have a bare one-seat majority in the WI senate. I wouldn’t be jumping up and down and celebrating if I were you. Gov. Walker’s recall election will be early in 2012. His poll numbers are very low.
    CNN polls released yesterday show that Republicans are at their lowest approval rating yet nationwide.
    “Just 33 percent of Americans approve of the Republican Party, while 59 percent disapprove…”
    [url]http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/60952.html[/url] Based on analysis by Cook Report and others, I don’t think Democrats will take the House in 2012, but will rebound strongly. They do have a shot at a majority.
    The Tea Party is driving down GOP numbers. “The tea party movement fares slightly worse than the GOP and has its most dismal ratings since CNN began asking about the movement in polls in January 2010. Thirty-one percent said they see it favorably while 51 percent see it unfavorably.”
    Most voters supported a combination of tax increases and spending cuts in the debt debate.

  13. Frankly

    Here is where we are headed for public school funding. This is bit from an article in the WSJ.

    [url]http://professional.wsj.com/article/TPLATM000020110215e72f0001u.html[/url]

    [quote]“Douglas County, a swath of subdivisions just south of here that is one of the nation’s wealthiest, is something of a public school paradise.

    The K-12 district, with 60,000 students, boasts high test scores and a strong graduation rate. Surveys show that 90% of its parents are satisfied with their children’s schools.

    That makes the Douglas County School District an unlikely frontier in the latest battle over school vouchers.

    But a new, conservative school board is exploring a voucher system to give parents — regardless of income — taxpayer money to pay for their children to attend private schools that agree to abide by district regulations. If it’s implemented, parents could receive more than $4,000 per child. [/quote]

    The plan is for the school district to give 75% of the total per student revenue to the parents, and retain 25%. This allows wealthier families and families with the means to send their kids to religious schools to subsidize the cost of these private shools, while giving the public schools more money per student to spend on those choosing not to, or unable to, attend private schools.

    I think this idea will be a great test of the true motivations of the teachers unions. This approach would seem to be a win-win for all. However, my guess is that it will be blocked with the argument that it is not fair that the poorer kids would be stuck at the public school… which will then identify the obvious fact that the public schools are known to be crappier.

  14. E Roberts Musser

    To Don Shor: I can find sources that say Republicans are gaining, to wit from hotair.com:
    [quote]For those reading tea leaves ahead of the 2012 elections, the latest survey from Pew on party identification provides plenty to analyze. The only good news for Democrats is that the bleeding from 2010 appears to have stopped; party identification has remained largely stable in 2011. But Republicans have made inroads in two key constituencies for Democrats, and have narrowed the gap between the two parties since 2008 by two-thirds:[/quote]

    Bottom line is that 2012 is a long way off, and anything can happen in between. I tend not to believe polls much either way, as they have not been great indicators of anything in the past. They are more part of the media spin machine on both sides of the aisle…

  15. rusty49

    Don, I can cherry pick polls too:

    Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 21% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-two percent (42%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21

    Sixty-seven percent (67%) think that spending cuts should be considered in all federal programs.

    Forty-five percent (45%) of voters trust Republicans more when it comes to handling economic issues, while 35% put more trust in Democrats. Voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on nine of 10 issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports. Two years ago Democrats were trusted more than Republicans on most issues.

  16. 91 Octane

    It never ceases to amaze me how republicans no matter what the situation is on this blog, become targets. No soul searching on the part of the democrats, merely, they did not argue enough for strong liberal big govt takeovers, and that is why they lost, not because of their failures, or the failure of their policies.

    Excuse me, but how much money did obama pump into the economy to turn it around? Now Paul Krugman wants more money, as if what did not work twice already is going to work now. And yet even on this blog the same people are arguing what Krugman is – to repeat the same failed policies.

    I would also like to point out to Don that Obama’s own numbers are slipping, so I would not be so optimistic if I were him either.

    Someone mentioned the tea party – yes some of them are kooky, but come on, they are simply the fringe groups of the GOP just like the ACLU, Moveon.org, and Greenpeace are for the dems.

  17. 91 Octane

    I also find the headline on this blog “sluggish recovery” amusing, as if the economy is recovering? I mean come on, if the housing market is declining, less tax revenue, layoffs with no end in sight….. THERE IS NO RECOVERY.

  18. Rifkin

    [i]”Bottom line is that 2012 is a long way off, and anything can happen in between.”[/i]

    There are just 454 days until the November 6, 2012 election. That might seem like “a long way off.” However, considering that our solar system is 1,668,169,800,000 days old*–according to the latest, best science ([url]http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/01/solar-system-age/[/url])–454 days doesn’t look like too much to me.

    —————-
    * 4.5672 billion years x 365.25 days per year = 1.668 trillion days. I realize, of course, that there is no reason to think that 365.25 was always the number of days it took the earth to rotate around its star. Likewise, a billion years ago and more, the hours it took for the earth to rotate one revolution on its axis was likely not 24. So those caveats aside, 454 is still a very small fraction of 1.668 trillion.

    Also, if the earth originally rotated a whole lot faster, that may explain how Eve popped out of Adam’s rib on that Famous Friday, the sixth day, 4.5672 billion years ago.

    [img]http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MK3WA1N5L._SL500_AA300_.jpg[/img]

  19. Rifkin

    [i]”THERE IS NO RECOVERY.”[/i]

    Recovery is a technical economic term. It simply means the period after we experienced negative growth of two or more quarters. From the third quarter of 2008 to the second quarter of 2009, we had negative growth. That was the recession. (It’s worth pointing out that first quarter of 2008 was also one of negative growth.)

    2008 03 -3·6629
    2008 04 -8·8903
    2009 01 -6·6663
    2009 02 -0·6900

    Ever since the third quarter of 2009, we have had a growing economy. That is, we have been in recovery:

    2009 03 1.6940
    2009 04 3.8027
    2010 01 3.9339
    2010 02 3.7875
    2010 03 2·5074
    2010 04 2·3493
    2011 01 0.3576
    2011 02 1.2822

    Nonetheless, 91 Octane might be correct for California or our region of California. I don’t know what the regional or state numbers are for economic activity, but it does not seem unlikely that this national recovery has missed us up to this point.

  20. Frankly

    [i]”Also, if the earth originally rotated a whole lot faster, that may explain how Eve popped out of Adam’s rib on that Famous Friday, the sixth day, 4.5672 billion years ago.”[/i]

    LOL. I think you are mixing metaphors with meteors.

    As an aside, do you think it is possible that God designed humans with large enough egos and just enough intelligence that some would believe their own theories of evolution? After all, if God was talented enough to create the heavens and the earth, and design animals with all their biological complexity, might he also been able to create enough “evidence” to occupy the percentage of the population owning these large egos and brains to prevent them from destroying themselves without something else to focus on?

    Steven Hawking claims God does not exist, but also claims time is not real and there are at least six other dimensions coexisting. He hopes to peek into one before he dies.

    Don’t you think it is possible he will peek into one after he dies?

  21. Don Shor

    Jeff: [i]to attend private schools that agree to abide by district regulations.[/i]
    I have no problem with vouchers on a limited basis, to find out what the demand is. I wonder what the ‘district regulations’ are. I would have serious problems with tax dollars subsidizing schools that don’t have broadly-accepted curriculum, for example, on science issues, or that discriminate as to who they accept. They should have to accept any school-age child that lives within the district boundaries, just as the public schools do. And if there are too many for their facilities — too bad, they’ll just have to keep accepting them. Just as the public schools do. That would be an interesting experiment.
    I prefer public charter schools as a way of testing different teaching styles within a district. It is really too bad Valley Oak’s charter wasn’t approved. We’d have a couple of years now and would be able to compare results.

  22. Don Shor

    Should taxes be raised to reduce deficits? [url]http://capitalgainsandgames.com/blog/bruce-bartlett/2341/23-polls-say-people-support-higher-taxes-reduce-deficit[/url]

  23. Don Shor

    @ Octane: fortunately, Krugman is not advising Obama. His analyses are always interesting, but his policy prescriptions are very predictable. The advisers who favored more stimulus are no longer in the administration.

    I don’t favor any more stimulus. From what little I know, I think it would be pointless. I think we have run out of fiscal ideas, and just have to ride this out. I do think that drastic cuts in federal spending would not be desirable either in the short run. Increasing public sector unemployment isn’t beneficial in any way. So I think targeted public spending to shore up local and state governments wouldn’t be unreasonable. Would it increase the pace of recovery? I doubt it. It would just help prevent further costs to state and local governments and reduce the human cost of this recession. I also favor extending unemployment benefits, job training programs, and more funding for WIC et al. I think maintaining current levels of college scholarships helps to keep people in school, which is beneficial.
    The public strongly supports a balanced approach to reducing the deficit. Whichever side is perceived as being intransigent will lose public support.

  24. Frankly

    Here is a quote from a left-biased CNN article entitled “New CNN Poll: Majority want tax increase for wealthy and deep spending cuts”

    [url]http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/10/new-cnn-poll-majority-want-tax-increase-for-wealthy-and-deep-spending-cuts/?hpt=hp_t2[/url]
    [quote]“According to the survey, only a third say that taxes on wealthy people should be kept low because higher-income Americans help create jobs, with 62 percent saying that taxes on the wealthy should be high so the government can use the money for programs to help lower-income Americans.

    “That sentiment has changed little since the 1990s,” adds Holland.”[/quote]
    The headline obvioulsy does not match the facts given the poll results have remained the same since the 1990s. A more appropriate title would be” “Even in this economy, little has changed supporting increasing taxes on the wealthy”

    Another example:

    [url]http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/on-newsweeks-cover-an-injustice-to-bachmann/2011/08/10/gIQA5rhu6I_story.html[/url]

    But of course there is no liberal mainstream media bias…. right.

  25. JustSaying

    With due admiration, noted without comment:[quote]“Yes I was wrong about Wisconsin, I thought it would give Democrats more of a backbone than it did. I was wrong about Republicans, I knew I disagreed with them, I didn’t know they were suicidal and crazy. I was also wrong about the economy, I thought it would start to turn around quicker than it.”[/quote]

  26. Don Shor

    Jeff, you’re probably not a fan of Jon Stewart, but you might want to check out last night’s show. He took on the Newsweek cover with great humor.
    I disagree with David (obviously) about the impact of water rates on the likelihood of local taxes passing. I believe Davis voters will support their schools. I do think the school board will have to work harder to sell the taxes than they have in past decades.

  27. Adam Smith

    On March 10 David wrote this:

    [i]One reason the Republicans won handily last election is that their people were motivated not just to vote but to organize and mobilize others to do so, while the Democrats stayed home.

    In short, this action has probably done more to mobilize the Democratic base than anything Obama or any other Democratic leader could have done.

    So Governor Walker has won this round, but I think this is a victory so costly that in a year it will feel just as bitter as a stinging defeat.
    [/i]

    We are not a year out now, but we do now know that in those districts where there was enough anger to mount a recall, that they were largely unsuccessful. If Wisconsin’s fiscal situation improves and cost of union labor is seen to decrease, Scott Walker will likely survive.

    My hope is that this is a broader sign that the electorate understands that we must get our financial house in order and that real reforms are needed to do so – in the costs of running govt, the services that are provided and the taxes that are collected. Outside of everything else, the wars in which we’ve been engaged are very costly, and we’ve never attempted to compensate in revenue for that. Moreover, with SS and medicare, we have an aging population living many years longer than was anticipated when those programs were put in place. We have to reduce those benefits. It is implausible to tax a shrinking base of taxpayers to support continued benefits of the same magnitude.

  28. JustSaying

    We received our “protest letter” in yesterday’s mail. I knew what we need to do (for or against protesting), but I don’t think it did much to explain the “big picture” involved. You’d have to be following the issue in the [u]Enterprise[/u] or the [u]Vanguard[/u] to know what to do other than toss it out with the rest of the stuff.

    I agree with Don. I don’t see a “taxpayer uprising” that would jeopardize school or library initiatives here. Remember all the hand-wringing around the school district’s deft handling of the fired coach and lobbying letter?

    I disagree with Don. We bailed out the wrong people the first two times around. Banks, rating agencies, stock market companies and other corporations, and rating agencies are doing better than ever, thank you very much. People who should be in prison, instead have gotten big bonuses. Did I miss anyone?

    Missing out are (former, soon-to-be-former and now-never-to-be) homeowners, the (now) jobless, those elderly (who were) ready for retirement, people who (used to) have jobs and folks with health needs and who no longer have health insurance. People who suffered from misadventure, fraud and corruption now face years (decades?) of falling fortunes and despair. Did I miss anyone?

    You don’t think we should come up with a stimulus package to provide crumbs for the leftovers from the last two stimuli? Who, incidentally, were supposed to be made better, if not whole, by the cash forced onto loan companies and banks. It’s a little ironic that so many people temporarily continue to have homes, but only because the corrupt financial institutions lied under oath that they held the mortgages.

  29. Frankly

    Don, I like Jon Stewart for the most part… although not as much as Stephen Colbert. Both of them are whip-smart and almost as articulate and fast as Dennis Miller. I just don’t like the fact that Stewart is the new news source for so many young people.

    I want to tie up a point that combines this Newsweek hit on Bachmann and the Wisconsin election… also bringing in a bit of Sarah Palin and Barack Obama.

    It seems to me that polls and political prognosticators are ignoring or discounting the power of the media/entertainment pop culture for political influence by branding a candidate or issue. How much did the coverage of the public union employees trashing the Wisconsin state capitol building have to do with the last vote? How much did Tina Few and Katie Couric’s grab of the Palin PR limelight damage her political prospects? This Newsweek garbage reporting on Bachmann… especially since it goes viral from the hard left and conservative media… will also probably damage her by branding her as something she is not. Lastly, how does the lack of critical media bits about Obama play to his maintaining relatively high approval ratings in an era of economic doldrums and crisis not experienced since the Great Depression?

    I am not cheering about the Wisconsin vote because I doubt the result was due to a large percentage of voters educated and clear on the issues. It seems more likely today that the individual parties win or lose based on the particular fodder available for the media to drum up stories. I think media behavior is a bigger problem than we are admitting… it substantially corrupts of the democratic process. This should be a concern for right-leaning folk when the media demonstrates so much left-bias… but a concern for all since apparently it can swing both ways.

  30. medwoman

    JB

    I confess that I have not read Newsweeks article on Bachmann. My concern is that not that she will be labeled for what she is not, but rather that she will not be appreciated for what she is. Anyone who believes, as she had posted on her state senate campaign website,
    that the biography of Robert E.Lee by J Steven Wilkens with it’s revisionist history characterizing slavery as a benign institution in which mutual respect between the races was developed, is a “must read” and strongly influenced her thinking, certainly deserves a very close look from anyone believing in the equality of people regardless of their race or religion. It is my belief based on this woman’s own words, not some left wing spin, is that she is a dangerous ideologue who believes that her belief in God makes her infallible. After all, if God is telling you what is true, how could you possibly be wrong ?

  31. J.R.

    Jon Stewart is pretty funny sometimes. He is quite similar to Rush Limbaugh, though clearly they have different biases. Depending on which way their bias goes, most people find one hilarious and the other painful.

  32. Frankly

    Medwoman: I will check out your story about Bachmann’s opinion of Robert E. Lee.;, but “dangerous ideologue”? How so? What is dangerous about her? How is she more dangerous than Obama or any other Presidential candidate? I think if Bachmann was elected and tried very hard to mess up the country in three years she could not do half the damage done by the current chain-smoking, Chicago thug Democrat in office. (BTW… I used those descriptors of Obama to give you a feel for the other side. How would you respond to a Newsweek article with that headline about Obama?)

    You only have to look at our economy, and then look across the pond to the riots to see what the secular left can do to this country if allowed.

    You should read the article and then do what you can to convince yourself it is not a biased attack piece that is politically motivated. I would like to hear your opinion and explanation.

  33. Frankly

    Rich, I don’t know if you are scanning this topic, but since you have been pretty vocal in the past giving the opinion that mainstream media liberal bias is a myth, I would be interested in your opinion of the Newsweek cover and article.

  34. medwoman

    JB

    What I said was that I do not support the woman based on her own words. So it would certainly be reasonable to give you some examples:

    1) As a matter of dishonesty. She claimed, on a Fox news broadcast, that she had “never gotten a penny” from a family farm subsidized by the government subsequently contradicted by her financial disclosure statements, which showed her share of the farm to be between $100,000 and 250,000. ( This fundamental dishonesty was part of what stopped me from supporting Hillary who told her share of lies) I cannot support lying no matter which end of the spectrum is involved.

    2) Her signing of the pledge that initially had as a major section prior to deletion, ” Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African -American President. Equally applicable to under both of the Bush presidencies and she didn’t mention that, so I can only conclude that she ( and the authors of the pledge) were somehow trying to link President Obama’s race to this problem. Deliberately misleading and in my opinion,despicable.

    3) And now to the really dangerous part : ” I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out:
    Are they pro-American or anti-American?” Who gets to decide ? What tests do you think she would choose to make this distinction? We have heard this philosophy before in this country. Probably best known proponent, Joe McCarthy.

    Just a small sampling, and hardly the most inflammatory. I tried, and failed to find the complete quote in which she referred to homosexuality as an “abomination”. Not exactly what I would consider an open minded stance.

  35. Frankly

    medwoman,

    I am not going to debate you on the specifics of point #1. Suffice it to say that most politicians are wealthy and most wealthy have many and diverse holdings that they would have great difficulty keeping track of. I doubt Ms. Bachmann or any other politician would purposely lie about something like this; but I absolutely think they could be ignorant about it.

    Point #2 is about a comment from Bachmann that is very thought provoking and factual. Blacks support Obama something like 93% (talk about racism); so it makes political sense to pose some questions about his performance relative to this group’s social and economic status. I think like many Obama supporters, you are way too quick to pull a race card on white conservatives… projecting racial intentions and purpose to discredit points and policies you disagree with. My issue with race and the presidency has nothing to do with the president, and everything to do with reactions like yours. Liberals see much more through race-tinted glasses than do conservatives… and frankly, I think it impacts objectivity and adds tremendous toxicity to our political dialog. Your inference is that Bachmann is racist and that is despicable in my opinion. The bar for that label should be very, very high given the implications.

    Your point #3 is an interesting one. I get your concern, although projecting Bachmann as a “dangerous ideologue” for this is a stretch. You could probably find a less inflammatory label to better match your assessment of her based on these points.

    Aside from that, I think you need to factor that many people that would be Bachmann supporters are very concerned about the rise of a liberal collectivist mindset and see it as dangerous to our ongoing way of life and standards of living. The evidence is on their side and not yours for this argument. McCarthy didn’t do much harm compared to what we are seeing today. It was the media and Hollywood that made a sensation out of that time… and ironically it is the media and Hollywood out of control today corrupting our society. What might the media and Hollywood make out of Obama’s time once the PC protection statute of limitation has worn off? I might welcome a little McCarthyism today because there is nobody watching the media and Hollywood.

  36. Don Shor

    I agree that the pervasive “our opponents are anti-American” thread that Michele Bachmann has espoused is one of my main concerns. Additionally: her rigid dichotomous thinking, her extreme religious views (Google “dominion theology”), the nature of the historical revisionism she is attracted to, her and her husband’s outright bigotry against gays, her far-extreme pro-life views (no exceptions), her support of the irresponsible Tea Party approach in the current deficit debate. If Michele Bachmann isn’t extremely far to the right, I don’t know who is.

  37. Frankly

    Bachmann is as far right as Obama, Pelosi and Reid are far left. So, how is that far left thing going for us now? Talk about dangerous ideologues!

    I’m not likely to be a Bachmann supporter, but I think we need more of her type of hope and change in government. I don’t accept religious bigotry any more than I accept anti-religious bigotry; but I recognize some need for all politicians to play to their base. I would prefer we assess politicians based on their ideas for governance… especially the fiscal and national security issues, and stop demonizing them on their personal and religious beliefs or lack of them.

    Liberal folk seem to be obsessed about religious people in government while the economy and world crumbles around them.

  38. rusty49

    Jeff:

    “Liberal folk seem to be obsessed about religious people in government while the economy and world crumbles around them.”

    Unless they’re Muslim then Liberals will defend them to no end.

  39. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]erm: “Bottom line is that 2012 is a long way off, and anything can happen in between.”

    Rifkin: There are just 454 days until the November 6, 2012 election. That might seem like “a long way off.” However, considering that our solar system is 1,668,169,800,000 days old*–according to the latest, best science–454 days doesn’t look like too much to me. [/quote]

    In political time, 454 days is an eon – so much can happen in those 454 days to turn the tide one way or the other…

    [quote]I’m not likely to be a Bachmann supporter, but I think we need more of her type of hope and change in government.[/quote]

    What we need are more moderates with a spine and ethics…

  40. Rifkin

    [i]” I would be interested in your opinion of the Newsweek cover and article.”[/i]

    I don’t have a take on Newsweek’s political bias. … The controversy, though, reminds me of when Newsweek ran a picture of OJ Simpson on its cover, when he was not yet on trial for killing his wife and her waiter. That photo was altered somehow to make OJ look darker and more menacing. The reaction from those who make it their business to call everyone a racist was to say that Newsweek was a racist publication. (Never mind that those reacting so vehemently must themselves have held the opinion that darker means scarier.) So when Newsweek showing Bachmann looking strange, those who make it their business to defend Bachmann will presume necessarily that means Newsweek is again out to get them or their kind.

    I do, however, have a take on Bachmann. Well, to be fair, it’s a take on her husband. A gay guy, not a friend of mine but someone I know in Davis, once said that “the only people” who are homephobes are closeted homosexuals trying to throw everyone off the scent. Straight people don’t care one way or the other. He then listed a number of famous people who held anti-gay positions and said all of them eventually were shown to be gay. I tend to think that overstates the matter, though I seriously wonder why anyone cares about anyone else’s private matters, as long as we are talking about consenting adults. And that brings me back to Bachmann’s husband. After I heard that his psychology practice takes part in this nonsense of converting gays into straights, I thought, no one who is on the up and up would participate in this kind of thing. Those so-called ex-gays are just trying their best to live a lie. But whatever. None of my business. Then I heard Mr. Bachmann speak about this issue–he now denies that he is in the business of converting gays into straights. I was not shocked at all to hear his voice. He is gay. He is as gay as a gay guy can be. He has that very gay voice.

    Now those who are politically correct can come on here and tell me there is no such thing. You might say that there is no such thing as a black accent. You are lying to yourself on both counts. I am not saying all gays have an effeminite voice; or that all blacks speak with an Ebonic accent. But when I hear that gay voice of that black accent–I should say that when anyone who is honest hears one of them–you know what you are hearing. Mr. Bachmann is, without a doubt, gay.

  41. Rifkin

    If you have not heard Marcus Bachmann speak, here is a clip from Youtube ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2nK1sskUG4[/url]). Start at the 1:17 mark. The host of the Young Turks is biased against him. But the “gayness” is in his voice and to some extent into his words.

  42. Rifkin

    If the Young Turks did not convince you, here is some more evidence this gay likes dudes ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8xOwetxQ8g&feature=related[/url]).

  43. Frankly

    There has been a lot of chatter about the apparent gayness of Marcus Bachmann. What a social statement that would make to see him come out of the closet and stay, or come out to say hi and then happily go back in again.

    My wife has always said that two husbands would be perfect: one slightly clueless, manly heterosexual husband that eats meat and can fix stuff… and one sensitive homosexual husband that can talk to her about her feelings, eats salads and design stuff. Good for her I can go both ways… most of the time 😉

  44. Rifkin

    “Good for her I can go both ways… most of the time.”

    The one thing that I cannot tolerate is shopping with women. In that respect I am a caveman. I can buy a year’s worth of clothing for myself in 10 minutes. Granted, I look like sh##, but I don’t care. I cannot put up with window shopping or looking at clothes or looking at jewelery or trying sh## on or looking at anything else sold in a shopping mall. It’s for that we need a few good gays to keep women happy when they don’t have a girlfriend to accompany them on a shopping trip.

    On the other hand, I can watch golf on TV for hours.

  45. Frankly

    LOL

    The wives of our couple friends ask me to help their husbands buy clothes. Apparently that is a nod to my fashion sense which I never paid much attention to, but I guess in relation to the “normal” dude I have some higher level design eye. However, I recently hired a gay man and now I feel like the caveman at the office.

  46. medwoman

    JB

    One small problem with your theory that I was playing the race card on poor innocent conservative Bachmman. She was the one that stressed his status an African American in juxtaposition to her comment about the l percentage of black children living in families with both parents. Had she just said since Obama has been president or had she included all of the other presidencies in which this was also applicable, I would have agreed with you that there was no insinuation in the statement Since Obama’s ethnic background is well known, I can only believe that her intent was something other than purely educational. So once again Jeff, I’ll as,k since it is no news that Obama is African American, what is the point in stressing it in this context ?

    And as for the value of that large flat screen TV, that couldn’t possibly be contributing to some of our educational problems now could it ?
    All material gain is not beneficial no matter how many people buy in.

  47. Rifkin

    [i]”that couldn’t possibly be contributing to some of our educational problems now could it ?”[/i]

    Take 10,000 children at random from around the world whose families can afford to buy a large flat screen TV in their homes and who actually have large flat screen TVs in their homes.

    Take a second group of 10,000 children at random from around the world whose families cannot afford to buy a large flat screen TV in their homes and who actually have no large flat screen TVs in their homes.

    I’d bet you whatever you want to wager that the former group has higher educational achievement than the latter.

    Is that due to the TVs? No. It’s due to the wealth which buys better education.

    FWIW, I don’t own a large flat screen TV. Somewhere around 10 years ago, when my main TV was on the fritz, I found a great deal at Fry’s Electronics in Sacramento for a 32″ RCA TV. The full retail price was something like $995. It was on sale for $595. Fry’s then offered a 1 hour half off sale. So I raced over to North Sacto to get the TV for just under $300. But they were all out. The sale was a gimmick. They had just one of those available. But then the sales dude said I could have a rain check. Which I took. And then waited for a good month and a half, suffering the trauma of my old, rundown TV not working and having to watch the small bedroom TV (which still works), until Fry’s restocked the RCA model I had that rain check for. So when I bought the supposedly $995 TV, I paid $297.50 plus tax. And I’ve been proud of that buy ever since.

    Eventually it will go bad–no signs yet–and I will upgrade to an HD big flat screen. In the meantime, I’m perfectly happy with the 10 year old 32″ RCA. And proud of my shopping skills.

  48. Don Shor

    [i]Bachmann is as far right as Obama, Pelosi and Reid are far left.[/i]

    First of all, Obama and Pelosi are not equally “far left.” Obama is more centrist than Pelosi. Just ask any liberal right now. More to the point, Michele Bachmann is more akin to Barbara Lee of Oakland. Lee and Bachmann voted against their party leadership on the debt deal. Pelosi, after expressing her clear misgivings, voted with her party leadership. She is a team player. Bachmann is not. Lee is not.

    If Bachmann’s side had prevailed, the US government would have defaulted, something like 40% of the government’s cash flow would have stopped, and any number of individuals would have had their checks held up for an unknown period of time. That includes people like my daughter, who is on the GI bill; it includes contractors who have business with the government, it potentially included recipients of Social Security and disability checks.

    Apparently Mrs. Bachmann either didn’t believe that would happen, in which case she disbelieves the overwhelming consensus of economists and government officials of both parties, or she simply felt it was worth the ideological point. Either case disqualifies her from executive office. I would say the same about Barbara Lee. Both are unqualified for higher office due to their extreme ideological viewpoints and inability to work in a bipartisan fashion. When you have divided government, you have to work with the opposition.

    Federal dollars could be used to help buttress school districts during these fiscal hard times. Given her extreme record in the field of education, I think it is very unlikely that Bachmann would ever support federal expenditures to help local school districts. Just funding NCLB would be a start. What is her background on education issues? Here’s a sample story: [url]http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2011/05/michele-bachmanns-school-banned-aladdin/37486/[/url]

  49. medwoman

    Rich,

    Good heavens, did you really think I was demonizing TVs ! I hold the TVs completely and totally innocent ! It is the choice to allow children to sit in front of them for extended hours that I find questionable

    So for our third comparison group, let’s look at 10,000 randomly selected children from around the world whose parents can afford a flat screen TV and choose not to own one, or perhaps choose not to have a TV at all. How do those kids do ? I don’t know the answer since I didn’t choose that route. But that is the relevant question to me.

    And congratulations on your find. We have always been a one TV family ( ahhhh mom) and actually had to share. Saved tremendously by keeping my small black and white until 4 years ago when it finally failed .

  50. Frankly

    [i]”If Bachmann’s side had prevailed, …any number of individuals would have had their checks held up for an unknown period of time. That includes people like my daughter, who is on the GI bill; …it potentially included recipients of Social Security and disability checks.”[/i]

    Don, the US government has the money to pay the military personnel and social security obligations. The threat of those checks not going out was all politics well played by Obama to leverage the fear of ignorance in the general public. Don’t tell me you fell for it to?

    Medwoman, on the TV issue… I agree with some of your point, but I also agree with Rich. The TV itself is not the issue. It is how the TV is used in the household. I have a bigger issue with video games, although my kids played first-person war games and know more about the battles fought in WWII than I do, and I have done a lot of reading on the subject. My big problem with video games is that kids are not forming neighborhood sports teams and doing other things that provide them exercise and the development of social skills. I guess the same can be true for too much watching TV, but, again, I think it depends on how the device is used in the house.

    We have been fortunate enough to be able to afford the HD satellite channels since they were available. Most of the time the TV is channeled to the Science Channel, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, etc., etc… One of my sons is still living at home while he attends college and his favorite program right now is “Through the Wormhole, with Morgan Freeman”. Last night we watched an episode on the science to prolong life through genetic manipulation. We also like a program called “How It’s Made”.

    The quality of education programming on TV these days is astounding. It is part of the missed opportunity I see for improving public education. My sons would watch a Discovery Channel program on some subject, and then go to school and listed to, what was by comparison, a drab and monotone lecture from a science teacher on the same subject. The teachers cannot compete with the Discovery Channel. They should be using the Discovery Channel or something similar to better engage the kids.

    Rich, that was some persistence to acquire the 32” TV. I just recently upgraded my 10-year old rear-projection TV with a plasma flat screen that seven years early cost 10X what I paid. Save your pennies because once you go HD flat screen you will wonder how you got along with a non-HD CRT TV. I even like to watch hockey now because I can see the puck!

  51. E Roberts Musser

    To medwoman: Before you condemn TV watching, my kids grew up on educational shows, like Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers and many others.

    [quote] He has that very gay voice. Now those who are politically correct can come on here and tell me there is no such thing. You might say that there is no such thing as a black accent. You are lying to yourself on both counts. I am not saying all gays have an effeminite voice; or that all blacks speak with an Ebonic accent. But when I hear that gay voice of that black accent–I should say that when anyone who is honest hears one of them–you know what you are hearing. Mr. Bachmann is, without a doubt, gay.[/quote]

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard… Rock Hudson was gay, so was a police officer that was interviewed that you would have never guessed was gay. I have known many heterosexuals with effeminate characteristics. I cannot even begin to understand where you are coming from with such judgmental ideas…

  52. wdf1

    JB: [i]The quality of education programming on TV these days is astounding. It is part of the missed opportunity I see for improving public education.[/i]

    Educational TV programming has been around at least since the 1950’s through PBS and its predecessor, NET. I’m aware of at least one private company producing educational material since the late-70’s. It has its good points, and I agree that the quality and skill of TV production in more recent years has made programs more interesting to watch.

    Most good teachers I know will incorporate at least segments of video/TV clips into lecture, when they can. The drawback is that TV produced material is passive, and in a stand alone setting (no live, responsive teacher) you may not be able to readily assess if the viewer (student) picked up all the important concepts, or how the concepts presented in the video connect to other concepts being presented. And not all concepts lend themselves to Star Wars type production.

  53. Don Shor

    [i]Don, the US government has the money to pay the military personnel and social security obligations. The threat of those checks not going out was all politics well played by Obama to leverage the fear of ignorance in the general public. Don’t tell me you fell for it to? [/i]
    You have no basis for this assertion.
    More than 40% of the government’s cash flow would have stopped immediately. The ripple effect on the millions of checks that the government issues every month would have been enormous. That is not an idle threat. It was not “politics well played.” It is a fact, well substantiated by business leaders, military procurement officials, and others across the political spectrum. The administration would have had to choose which groups to pay, and it is important to note that everything they pay is based on a prior congressional budget authorization. So any decision not to pay someone could violate the law.
    Choking off the government’s cash flow is an irresponsible approach to the deficit problem. If you want to change the budget process and priorities, get yourself a Republican Senate and President to go along with your Republican House. Then they can write a budget that changes what monies the executive branch disperses.
    How many checks? Over 200 million. [url]http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/07/28/debt-to-me-uncle-sam-writes-212-million-checks-month/[/url]

  54. Frankly

    Don:

    [quote]Federal revenues will reach $2.17 trillion this fiscal year. Interest payments on the nation’s debt are estimated to be $205 billion this year, or about 10 percent of revenues. Taking that payment off the top, as Mr. Toomey’s plan would, leaves $1.9 trillion for Congress to spend. That’s enough to pay for Social Security ($741 billion), Medicare ($488 billion), and Medicaid ($276 billion), with $395 billion left for other programs.[/quote]
    What bills to pay would be decided by the administration. There is enough money to cover the payments to the military and social security recipients unless the administration decided to pay federal employees first.

  55. Frankly

    [i]”Choking off the government’s cash flow is an irresponsible approach to the deficit problem.”[/i]

    Maybe, but it is apparently a required solution since choking the life out of over-spending politicians is against the law and possibly immoral.

  56. Don Shor

    [i]There is enough money to cover the payments to the military and social security recipients unless the administration decided to pay federal employees first.[/i]
    In which case, there would not be enough money for federal employees. Or contractors with business with the government.
    Unbelievably irresponsible. I suggest members of the Tea Party go take a course in civics. They appear to be willing to have the executive branch making legislative decisions.

  57. Frankly

    [i]”Unbelievably irresponsible”[/i]

    So, what do you call the run-away deficit spending that has led to our credit downgrade and the current economy and stock market instability?

    What do you call the same in England that has led to copious mobs of government-dependent moochers rioting to steal more free stuff?

    Working with the insane sometimes requires shock therapy. It would be great if the Democrats would admit to the need to dratically cut spending. Find enough of those Democrats and I will agree without that the GOP position to not allow the debt ceiling to be raised was irresponsible.

    Note that the GOP base is still unhappy with the deal because we did not cut enough.

  58. Frankly

    Read this:

    [url]http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/08/11/obama.economy/index.html[/url]

    Much of the reason for so much partisanship of Congress and the nation rest on top of president Obama’s shoulders. To understand this point, put on some GOP shoes for a minute, and note the stinging rhetoric in his words.

    Clinton had real personal relationships with GOP members of congress. He got things done in congress this way. All competent leaders know this is how you move the needle on difficult policy issues. Obama hides behind his rhetorical gifts and lobs quips and goofy sarcasm and somehow expects this to result in changed behavior. It is CLEAR proof that he is in over his head. You cannot recover from a leadership situation where you have alienated so many decisions stakeholders. Obama is an ineffective chief executive that deserves a vote of no-confidence. Yet, the Dems still fawn over him like the new messiah. The Dems have only themselves to blame for the mess in congress for voting for this guy and then telling him they approve of his performance.

  59. medwoman

    JB

    I don’t agree with you that the dems have only themselves to blame. I think there is plenty of blame to be spread around. One could certainly make the point that when leaders of the opposition party state outright that their first priority is to ensure that the president fails, it is not exactly an invitation to acwarm, cooperative relationship.

  60. medwoman

    JB

    I would call the “runaway deficit spending” wanting more done as a society both on the right and the left than you are willing to pay for.
    I would call it a combination of lack of revenue and spending beyond our means. Not just one or the other.

  61. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]I don’t agree with you that the dems have only themselves to blame. I think there is plenty of blame to be spread around. One could certainly make the point that when leaders of the opposition party state outright that their first priority is to ensure that the president fails, it is not exactly an invitation to acwarm, cooperative relationship.[/quote]

    I’m w you medwoman! A pox on both houses! However, I will say Obama’s lack of leadership skills is really undermining everything. When there is no lead dog, the pack becomes uncoordinated, bite each other, and the sled goes nowhere! You have to have a lead dog to make the darn sled work!

  62. Don Shor

    If you want to know more about Bachmann’s background and beliefs, here is a New Yorker profile:
    [url]http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/08/15/110815fa_fact_lizza?currentPage=all[/url]

  63. medwoman

    Don

    Thanks for posting the New Yorker article that I was referencing in my previous comments about Michelle Bachmann. I need a class called posting skills 101.

    Elaine,
    I agree with you about Obamas leadership skills being wanting. Great disappointment to me since I had high hopes (but realistic expectations)
    My daughter and I had split between supporting Hillary vs Obama. She ( at 21) was entranced by the “hope, and vision” while I thought Obama had promise, but needed to get more experience under his belt and needed to “wait his turn”. However, I would also point out that one man’s leadership is another man’s “shoving it down our throats”, and expanding on your analogy, the lead dog would have no hope, regardless of how strong and capable, if half the pack jumped him with intent to “kill” before he was even in the lead.

  64. wdf1

    JB: [i]Much of the reason for so much partisanship of Congress and the nation rest on top of president Obama’s shoulders. To understand this point, put on some GOP shoes for a minute, and note the stinging rhetoric in his words.[/i]

    I don’t see anything there that’s more egregious than GW Bush saying, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Once he took this tack, then I think his ability to establish political consensus began to unravel. Like Don, I think Obama is far more centrist than you give him credit for. If you’re positioned in the solid political right, then even centrists can seem “socialist”.

  65. medwoman

    wdf1

    I am the poster child for the accuracy of the point that you and Don are making. You would be hard pressed to find anyone further to the political left than I am on most issues (which I still insist on viewing separately). From my perspective, Obama is not even approaching liberal, let alone socialist. Pelosi ? Yes. Obama ? Not even close ! This labeling, rather than consideration of issues, is completely a matter of perspective.

  66. Don Shor

    Here is the fiscal policy prescription of the Tea Party candidate:
    “Bachmann outlines economic agenda
    Michele Bachmann on Sunday outlined a conservative economic agenda that includes repealing the Democratic health care and financial services reform laws passed during the 111th Congress, making deep cuts to government spending and slashing the corporate tax rate.
    During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the Minnesota congresswoman, who won the Iowa Republican presidential straw poll on Saturday, also rejected any new federal stimulus spending or extended jobless benefits for unemployed Americans.”
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/politicolive/0811/Bachmann_outlines_economic_agenda.html?showall

  67. Frankly

    [i]I don’t see anything there that’s more egregious than GW Bush saying, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”[/i]

    Don:

    I have been thinking about this for a few days trying to understand the equivalency. I have come to the final conclusion that you are grasping at straws unless you subscribe to the opinion that the American left and right are fighting some ideological war. Also, as I recall, this quote from Bush was delivered to an audience of foreign countries fighting the war on terrorism… primarily old Europe. This then leads me to wonder if this ideological war you are projecting to compare Bush and Obama is more from a global mindset.

    I hear you and other progressives claim Obama is a centrist. I think that is an argument of deflection and convenience for people that voted for him and continue to support him. It is easy to quantify Obama’s ideological tilt… just compare him to the last centrist Democrat President. By comparison to Clinton, Obama is much farther left. Obama has stubbornly clung to demand for tax increases long after it was clear it was a divisive position with the GOP. By contrast, Clinton never made such demands. Clinton worked with the Republicans and emerged victorious in his leadership over the budget negotiations. Obama, however, has been a loser because he does not sway from his ideological grounding as a liberal… and probably a Marxist.

    Obama’s words and actions are calculated to make a media case that he is a centrist. But when you review his collection of quotes, and combine this with his actual behavior and actions, it is clear that he subscribes to an ideological view much farther left than we have every experienced in a President. I think this is why he is failing so drastically. True leadership manifests from true conflictions. He is so gifted with rhetorical skills I think he has disconnected himself from what he believes and what he thinks he can make others think he believes.

    Obama is cool, but he is the biggest failure of any President I have known. One thing to admire about liberal Democrats is their loyalty. Unfortunately though it seems to cloud their objectivity.

  68. Frankly

    [i]”Here is the fiscal policy prescription of the Tea Party candidate:
    “Bachmann outlines economic agenda”[/i]

    So, what of these ideas from a conservative candidate does the “centrist” Obama agree with?

  69. Don Shor

    1. That quote wasn’t from me.
    2. [i]Obama has stubbornly clung to demand for tax increases long after it was clear it was a divisive position with the GOP.[/i] That is one of the funniest things you have said on this blog, ever. Seriously. You do realize that an overwhelming majority of Americans support increasing taxes as part of the process of balancing the budget?
    3. [i]By comparison to Clinton, Obama is much farther left.[/i] Nope. And Bill Clinton has advocated for much more liberal positions by Obama recently. Like David, he supported the 14th Amendment option. Obama is a pragmatist, which is why some liberals are disillusioned with him. He has taken policy positions that are very centrist, appealing to a broad spectrum of the voting public, in order to try to move legislation forward. They wanted him to take much more confrontational positions.
    4. [i]Clinton worked with the Republicans and emerged victorious in his leadership over the budget negotiations[/i] Clinton didn’t have a Tea Party to deal with, staking out uncompromising positions. Gingrich recognized then (as he does now) that you have to make a deal. A certain portion of the Republican party now simply will not yield on the issue of taxation.
    5. [i]Obama is cool, but he is the biggest failure of any President I have known. [/i] I could go down a laundry list of issues where Obama is far superior, in my opinion, than his two predecessors, starting first and foremost with foreign policy.
    6. [i]So, what of these ideas from a conservative candidate does the “centrist” Obama agree with?[/i] Cutting federal spending over the long run. He also is not advocating for any further federal stimulus spending, probably because he knows it cannot pass. Obviously he isn’t going to advocate for repealing the health care act or the financial regulatory bills.
    Which of Bachmann’s fiscal policies do you think would have short-term benefits to the economy?

  70. Frankly

    [i]”You do realize that an overwhelming majority of Americans support increasing taxes as part of the process of balancing the budget?”[/i]

    Not “overwhelming, but a majority. About 50% of voters don’t pay Federal income tax so why not? Also, an overwhelming majority of Americans believe legal marriage should not include gays… but you think they are wrong, correct?

    [i]”Clinton didn’t have a Tea Party to deal with, staking out uncompromising positions.”[/i]

    The Tea Party exists because the deficit is several orders of magnitude higher than it was when Clinton was in office. It also has an alarming trajectory – thanks to Oamacare… the first step toward government-provided healthcare. This is something that Clinton did not ram down our throat like the liberal Obama did.

  71. wdf1

    JB: [i]thanks to Oamacare… the first step toward government-provided healthcare. This is something that Clinton did not ram down our throat like the liberal Obama did.[/i]

    Jeff, were you not politically aware of what was going on in Clinton’s first term? Clinton’s healthcare plan was more liberal than Obama’s.

    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_health_care_plan_of_1993[/url]

    JB: [i]The Tea Party exists because the deficit is several orders of magnitude higher than it was when Clinton was in office.[/i]

    Thanks to the GW Bush tax cuts and starting up two wars all at about the same time, without seeking to pay for it as we went. During WWII, there were war bonds, tax increases, and scrap metal drives to support the war effort. According to my late grandparents, there was a patriotic sense that taxes then were going to support “our team”. GW Bush asked for no similar type of sacrifice from us after 9/11, when he could have easily had that support for the asking.

    George HW Bush and Clinton brought the deficit in line through a combination of raising taxes and cutting spending. If it worked then, in the early 90’s (when we were in a recesion, by the way), it would be a sensible strategy now. Obama’s “Grand Bargain” included both cuts and tax hikes (or revenue increases, if you will). Obama tax rates are currently lower than Clinton’s. That’s why the deficit is higher now than when Clinton was in office.

  72. Don Shor

    [i]Not “overwhelming, but a majority. About 50% of voters don’t pay Federal income tax so why not?[/i]

    The majority of those don’t pay taxes because of tax credits and deductions. The remainder don’t pay taxes because their income is so low.

    [i]It also has an alarming trajectory – thanks to Obamacare… the first step toward government-provided healthcare.[/i]
    You are aware that the health care law will [b]reduce[/b] the deficit, right? If the Republicans succeed in overturning it, the CBO says[b] it would increase the deficit by $230 billion. [/b]You know that, right? Or do you not believe the CBO? It also would leave 32 million more Americans uninsured.

    [i]the first step toward government-provided healthcare. [/i]
    Medicare and the VA are government-provided healthcare. The VA, which is the largest health-care system in the country, scores highest in delivery of health services at several levels. Satisfaction surveys, death rates in various categories, and cost of delivery are better at the VA than in private systems. Dang socialists.

  73. wdf1

    Only just got around to seeing last Thursday’s Jon Stewart. This was a very loving analysis of Fox News’ Megyn Kelly:

    [url]http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-august-11-2011/lactate-intolerance[/url]

    By the way, the Family and Medical Leave Act was a Clinton initiative that passed in 1993.

  74. medwoman

    Elaine and Jeff,

    Jeff’s statement regarding health care reform “the first step toward government provided health care. This is something that Clinton did not ram down our throat like the liberal Obama did” is a prime example of leadership being portrayed as imposition. Health care reform was a major part of Obamas campaign. And he was elected. From my point of view, this was him doing what he said he would do. And from my more liberal perspective, with single party payer as my preferred option, not boldly enough.

    Again Jeff, where you are on the political spectrum determines where you view the position of others. This is not a matter of fact, but of perspective. Obama is a centrist to me on most issues given my position to the left. Do you not think that perhaps your more conservative philosophy could be “clouding your objectivity” or at least coloring your view of events.

  75. Frankly

    wdf1: [i]Jeff, were you not politically aware of what was going on in Clinton’s first term? Clinton’s healthcare plan was more liberal than Obama’s.”[/i]

    You mean Hillarycare. The Clintons didn’t get it done because they could not drum up enough bipartisan support for it. I read plenty about the Democrat strategies that evolved from this failure. Primarily it was to take smaller baby steps toward achieving socialized medicine in the US.

    Note that the timing for Clinton was during profound economic growth… where the administration could afford the time and energy. Obama and the Dems did Obamacare while the US economy was still falling off a cliff.

    If you are a true centrist, and you are experienced in the stakeholder psychology of executive leadership, you don’t do what Obama did. We wasted too much of his political capital and cooperation chips. He alienated the GOP and created resentments and anger that would give rise to the Tea Party and plague the rest of his presidency. History will get it right, and I expect it will identify the time he and the Dems spent working on Obamacare while also attempting to pass an amnesty bill as a big reason why the government failed to help the country recover from the Great Recession. They were not centrist goals… they were both big goals of the political left.

    Obama has also identified himself as being farther left than Clinton with his propensity for class-warfare language. He routinely vilifies: “millionaires”, “billionaires”, “insurance companies”, “banks”, “corporate jet owners”, “Republicans”, “capitalists”, “conservatives”, “the prior administration”… these are Hugo Chavez-style politics… the trademark of a socialist/Marxist attempting to marginalize the haves and enflame the have-nots.

  76. Don Shor

    [i]the trademark of a socialist/Marxist [/i]

    Obama is not a socialist or a Marxist. Not even remotely. This is a canard constantly promulgated by conservatives.

    Immigration reform is a goal of both parties. He hardly spent much time on it, postponing the issue from 2009 to 2010, giving one or two speeches, and then pulling it from the agenda entirely. Clearly there is no consensus on the issue, and Republicans in particular have entirely retreated from it as their base is fired up about it. Even those who had worked on the issue before won’t touch it.

  77. Frankly

    [i]”Immigration reform is a goal of both parties, but is going nowhere. He hardly spent much time on it, postponing the issue from 2009 to 2010″[/i]

    Don, you are right on this. My memory on this got mixed up with the actions of the Democrat-controlled congress during the last of Bush’s terms. So, it wasn’t Obama that wasted so much political energy on securing amnesty to win the Latino vote while the problems with the economy were largely ignored… it was the Democrat-controlled congress. Bush was a lame duck at that point. My mistake.

    However, Obama did the same with Obamacare.

    In my opinion, Obama is no centrist. It is clear that his ideological bent is much farther left that Clinton… and probably even Carter. Obama sees the world through a level of class stratification unheard of in a US president. This is a hallmark of a liberal. With Obamacare and bank and automaker bailouts, he has established that he favors government takeover of private business. This is a hallmark of a socialist. His consistent siding with labor and his vilification of business owners… especially the most successful of them… are hallmarks of a Marxist mindset. You may have to be a conservative to see these things because as a progressive they would fly below your radar.

  78. wdf1

    JB: [i]With Obamacare and bank and automaker bailouts, he has established that he favors government takeover of private business. This is a hallmark of a socialist.[/i]

    Do you think that GW Bush might be a latent socialist?? Some of those bailouts started with him. I’m think specifically of AIG.

  79. Frankly

    [i]”Do you think that GW Bush might be a latent socialist”[/i]

    No… I think he was a one-trick Keynesian pony. I don’t think Bush’s bailout sense ever included the idea of government taking a controlling interest of a private-sector business.

  80. Don Shor

    The problem, Jeff, is that I know you are aware of the definition of socialism and Marxism. It is the ownership of production.
    Obamacare is regulation of the health insurance industry. It is not ownership of it.
    The bipartisan bank “bailouts’ were loans. They were not ownership, and they have been repaid.
    The bailout of GM was ownership, carefully constructed so that the U.S. government would sell off that ownership as quickly as possible. That is already happening. The government no longer has a controlling interest in GM, remember? “The U.S. Treasury currently owns 500 million shares of the reconstituted GM, which represents 33% of the company’s worth.”(Autosavant.com) The intent is to sell the remainder of the shares by the end of 2012.

    By any normal dictionary definition of socialism, President Obama is not a socialist. He is not a Marxist. It is not “flying below my radar,” as if to suggest that you have a keener sense of these things than I.
    [i]You are making up definitions.[/i]
    Obama is not a socialist. He is not a Marxist. You can’t change the definition of the terms.

  81. wdf1

    JB: [i]I don’t think Bush’s bailout sense ever included the idea of government taking a controlling interest of a private-sector business.[/i]

    Please explain how the passage below is consistent with your position above.

    [quote]Federal Reserve bailout

    On the evening of September 16, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank’s Board of Governors announced that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York had been authorized to create a 24-month credit-liquidity facility from which AIG could draw up to $85 billion. The loan was collateralized by the assets of AIG, including its non-regulated subsidiaries and the stock of “substantially all” of its regulated subsidiaries, and with an interest rate of 850 basis points over the three-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (i.e., LIBOR plus 8.5%). [b]In exchange for the credit facility, the U.S. government received warrants for a 79.9 percent equity stake in AIG, with the right to suspend the payment of dividends to AIG common and preferred shareholders.[/b] The credit facility was created under the auspices of Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. AIG’s board of directors announced approval of the loan transaction in a press release the same day. The announcement did not comment on the issuance of a warrant for 79.9% of AIG’s equity, but the AIG 8-K filing of September 18, 2008, reporting the transaction to the Securities and Exchange Commission stated that a warrant for 79.9% of AIG shares had been issued to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. AIG drew down US$ 28 billion of the credit-liquidity facility on September 17, 2008. On September 22, 2008, AIG was removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average. An additional $37.8 billion credit facility was established in October. As of October 24, AIG had drawn a total of $90.3 billion from the emergency loan, of a total $122.8 billion.

    Maurice Greenberg, former CEO of AIG, on September 17, 2008, [b]characterized the bailout as a nationalization of AIG.[/b]

    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_International_Group#Federal_Reserve_bailout[/url]
    [/quote]

  82. Frankly

    The government under Bush bails out AIG even after former AIG Chairman Maurice R. Greenberg says that AIG would be better off filing for bankruptcy than submitting to the government bailout agreement. The Obama admin then insists that AIG’s chief executive, Robert Willumstad, resign. The Obama admin then hand-picks Edward Liddy as CEO and inserts three trustees with special oversight powers.

    After the Obama administration purchases about 30% of GM, former chairman, Rick Wagoner, was ousted March 29 by the Obama administration’s government’s auto task force and was replaced by Fritz Henderson, an Obama supporter.

    The president’s auto task force replaces of a majority of GM’s board.

    The Obama administration tells GM what type of cars they should make.

    After waging class warfare over employee bonus paid by banks, Obama appoints Kenneth Feinberg as the Treasury Department’s Special Master for Executive Compensation and proceeds to tell private-sector companies what they can pay employees.

    The list goes on.

    It is not the bailouts… it is Obama’s propensity to take control of private-sector business that identifies his mindset as a socialist/Marxist.

  83. Don Shor

    Obama is not a socialist. He is not a Marxist. You can’t change the definition of the terms.

    The only authority Feinberg had was over banks that had continued to receive federal funds. Please review the executive bonuses that occurred at the banks afterward. The oversight prompted the banks to repay the funds as quickly as possible.

    You didn’t even answer wdf. Bush took over AIG and handed the entire mess to the incoming administration. If Obama is a socialist/Marxist, then so is George W. Bush, in which case the terms have no meaning. As you are using them, they really don’t have any meaning anyway. So it is simply calling Obama names.

    If you disagree with the bailouts of AIG and GM, fine. I would have been happy to see AIG go, but support the bailout of GM. Others disagree. That doesn’t mean I call them names.

  84. Frankly

    Don: “Socialist” and “Marxist” are valid labels no different than liberal, progressive, conservative, etc. I am not calling Obama “names” anymore than you are calling Michelle Bachmann names. I see a strong, but purposely muted, collectivist tendency in Obama. The basic premise of collectivism is the notion that wealth belongs to the tribe or to society as a whole, and that every individual has the “right” to “participate” in it… and that government exists to help ensure certain outcomes. Obama has proven he owns this mindset. It might me too nuanced and argumentative for you, but for me it is a vast and identifiable difference between Obama and other past Presidents.

  85. Frankly

    He doesn’t break anything down.

    This is an example of where Jon Stewart earns his thumbs down vote from me. His comedy routine is where many young people get their news. However, it is generally one-sided liberal-leaning junk news.

    There is a tremendous social cost to growing the number of people that have no financial interest in taxation other than their interest to have it distributed to them. Just ask England.

    Stewie also failed to say that we have grown the number of wealthy in this country, that tax revenue as a percent of all economic output has increased with the expansion of the so called “wealth gap”, that the percent of tax revenue contribution by the wealthy has increased substantially so that the top 10% pay 71% of the total tax bill… and that social spending as a percentage of GDP is off the charts and threatens to make the US the next great Greek tragedy.

    One more thing he failed to mention. The number of wealthy (those making over $200k per year per Obama) has declined precipitously over the last three years. So, the Democrats and Obama are doing good things for those that cry over the wealth gap because that gap it is disappearing. That must make them very happy.

  86. wdf1

    JB: [i]However, it is generally one-sided liberal-leaning junk news.[/i]

    [quote]Viewers of late-night comedy programs, especially The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central, are more likely to know the issue positions and backgrounds of presidential candidates than people who do not watch late-night comedy, the University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey shows.

    [url]http://www.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org/Downloads/Political_Communication/naes/2004_03_late-night-knowledge-2_9-21_pr.pdf[/url][/quote]

  87. Frankly

    An article in the WSJ “The Valley: Achievement Gap Persists”, provides more evidence back my opinion that Davis and other supposed high-quality schools are actually lower performing in actual teaching quality.

    An analysis was done for The Wall Street Journal by the Education Trust-West, a research and advocacy group, on the Standardized Testing and Reporting program, whose 2011 results came out this month. Los Altos, for example… with some of the best public schools in the state, shows lower income student did worse than other schools. It should a much wider gap in outcomes for well-off and poorer students.
    [quote]“A lot of [low-income] parents are making the decision to move into some of these districts because they think they’re giving their child an advantage by going to these schools—and in fact, it’s quite the opposite: There is no advantage,” said Arun Ramanathan, the group’s executive director.

    Education experts said one reason for large gaps in the affluent districts could be that there are relatively small numbers of low-income students there, so their parents have a less prominent voice, and services aimed at these students might be underdeveloped.[/quote]
    It is simple to see what is going on. Affluent parents spend every-increasing personal resources to supplement a public education system not keeping up with the times. The parents (or more likely “parent”) of lower income students lack the same resources and must rely exclusively on what the schools provide.

    Affluent parents inflate student achievement and corrupt the public schools’ sense for what it takes to do a good teaching job. Ironically, these same parents are typically bully on their school districts and opposed to vouchers and privatization. Ironically too, left-leaning parents that pay for tutors and devote hours or personal time helping their kids succeed at school, contribute to the growing wealth gap that they decry in politics as being the fault of the right.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for