How is BHO Regarded ...

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dulcinea
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How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by dulcinea » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:55 pm

... as a party leader?
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Cosima___J
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Cosima___J » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:58 pm

Right now he's certainly got a lot of Democrats rather unhappy with him. They claim he "caved" to the Republicans on extending the Bush tax cuts. Some are even urging Hillary to run in 2012. I'd say he's currently a major disruptive force in the Democratic party.

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by piston » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:55 pm

A very meaningful gesture, recently: the USA has joined the vast majority of nations which recognize indigenous rights to self-determination.

Bravo!
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by piston » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:58 pm

Incidentally, my wife voted for McCain for the very same reason: his support of indigenous rights.
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dulcinea
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by dulcinea » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:00 pm

piston wrote:A very meaningful gesture, recently: the USA has joined the vast majority of nations which recognize indigenous rights to self-determination.

Bravo!
If the reference is to Puerto Rico, I should be grateful. Right now Gov InFortunio=Misfortune wants to waste millions on an status plebiscite; he's evidently totally oblivious that his huge victory in 2008 has been ruined by his incredibly incompetent governance.
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piston
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by piston » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:03 pm

Could you elaborate? I am really not atuned to Puerto Rico news at this time.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by HoustonDavid » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:13 am

piston wrote:the USA has joined the vast majority of nations which recognize indigenous rights to self-determination
To borrow from your quote, and change it slightly:
the USA has joined the vast majority of nations in adopting universal health care
And about time! At least we've made a good start in that direction. It will take a few
more years to be fully implemented, and certainly during those years we can hope for
improvements to the complex legislation currently on the books.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:46 am

Of course, what he should really do is hire Bill Clinton as a full time assistant... :wink:
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by RebLem » Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:30 pm

There is a war going on over @ MSNBC over precisely this issue, with Ed Schultz heading the anti-Obama faction and Lawrence O'Donnell heading the pro-Obama faction. At first, my naturalincliniation was to regard it as a sell-out, but Lawrence O'Donnell's arguments have led me to modify my position. I think the absolute worst part of the "compromise," which at least initially seemed to me more a capitulation, is the partial payroll tax holiday. When that cut is about to expire, we are going to see another round of irresponsib le GOPer rhetoric about "the biggest tax increase in American history," and an attempt to emasculate, and eventually dismantle, the whole social security system.

The Republicants have taken to heart the dictum most recently attributed to Rahm Emanuel, "Never let a crisis go to waste." One hears alarming anecdotal evidence which slowly hwlps reveal the overall Republicant vision. A highly skilled professional cannot find work in his field, despite the fact that employers are getting waivers for Indian immigrants doing that work on the lie that no American workers with those skills are available (well, no American workers who are not aware of their rights under the law, anyway). So, after two years, he is willing to accept a job as a janitor, surely a great comedown, but he can't even get that because the employer finds his credit rating too low. What these sorts of stories tell me is that the Republicant goal for this crisis is to grow, as much as possible, the permanent American Underclass. And there is a multiplier effect; everyone who goes bankrupt, everyone who has to go into foreclosure, reduces property values in that person's neighborhood, and drives others in the neighborhood into crisis themselves. And, if they can convice those neighbors that they have no commonality of interest with those going bankrupt and being foreclosed upon, the people truly to blame for their plight will escape their notice.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:45 pm

RebLem wrote:When that cut is about to expire, we are going to see another round of irresponsib le GOPer rhetoric about "the biggest tax increase in American history," and an attempt to emasculate, and eventually dismantle, the whole social security system.
I agree, but the "payroll deduction holiday" is actually a bipartisan initiative. To quote Kant (some guy at college told me this one), this presents us with the spectacle of one man milking the he-goat while the other holds the sieve.

As for your take on the Republicans, I don't think their intentions are as you state. The level of depravity involved for that would be unimaginable in an American mainstream political party and would be consistent only with a true (i.e., false) conspiracy theory. As effective satirists have always known, it is not necessary for people to intend the most dreadful outcomes for them to achieve the same ends through moral obtuseness and willful devotion to an ideology. What the Republicans by and large are, is still dedicated to a concept of trickle-down economics and reliance entirely on private enterprise, even though every move away from those "ideals" has been made because their unmodified pursuit has brought untold social suffering.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Cosima___J » Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:46 pm

Liberal group uses Obama's words against him
By: CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser


Washington (CNN) - A very vocal liberal critic of the White House says it is putting out a second television ad slamming President Barack Obama for caving in on the tax cut deal he made with congressional Republicans.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee announced Thursday that its going up with an ad that uses then-candidate Barack Obama's words from two and a half years ago against the president for now striking a deal that would extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

The PCCC, in an e-mail Thursday to supporters, said "President Obama did not force a single Republican in Congress to feel political pain back home for being on the wrong side of the tax cuts issue. And now he's asking us to accept a raw deal."

The ad, which the PCCC says will run on national cable TV in the nation's capital and on broadcast and cable TV in the Indianapolis and Evansville markets in Indiana, comes as many congressional Democrats are fighting back against the deal, which also allows for unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed to continue for another year.

Like their first ad, the new PCCC commercial uses a clip from the 2008 presidential campaign, from then-Sen. Barack Obama speaking on April 22nd of that year in Indiana (which is why the ad's running in Indiana).

While he was battling then-Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination at the time, in his speech, Obama attacked Sen. John McCain, who at the time was the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

"So he's promising four more years of tax cuts for CEO's. Tax cuts that he once voted against because he said they offended his conscience. Well they may have stopped offending John McCain's conscience somewhere along the road to the White House. But George Bush's economic policies still offend my conscience and they still offend yours," says Obama, in the speech.

At the start of the commercial, as the president speaks, the words "Obama promised change" appear in the ad, which ends with the words "If Obama won't fight for his promise, Congress needs to."

The PCCC e-mail to what it says are 675,000 supporters also asks for financial donations to allow the group to continue running the new commercial into next week.

Obama narrowly won Indiana, the first Democrat to carry the state in a presidential election in more than four decades. But in last months' midterm elections, the GOP won back an open Senate seat held by the Democrats and captured two House seats held by the Democrats.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Cosima___J » Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:51 pm

Reb, Social Security is not going to be dismantled or done away with (or whatever dire predictions you made). But surely you are aware that some changes must be made. Social Security trust fund, having been raided for other uses, simply does not have the money to pay the wave of baby boomers that are starting to hit retirement and drawing on the Social Security benefits.

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 5:01 pm

While we're on the topic of neat ideas affecting Social Security that everybody can agree on, I cannot believe my ears when I hear people on both sides state that the first thing they will all accept is raising the retirement age to 69 or 70. I can think of nothing more radical, unwise, and unjust and it should be the last resort rather than the first thing they do. A very large portion of the labor force, including many of those those tending to be low-income and most in need of retirement income support, will always be in jobs that require a vigor they cannot expect to maintain into their early 60s, let alone later. No change in life expectancy or medical advance will alter that fact.

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Cosima___J » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:27 pm

I fully agree with you there John.

Social Security needs to be "means tested". That's one obvious thing that would help.

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by RebLem » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:23 pm

Cosima___J wrote:Reb, Social Security is not going to be dismantled or done away with (or whatever dire predictions you made). But surely you are aware that some changes must be made. Social Security trust fund, having been raided for other uses, simply does not have the money to pay the wave of baby boomers that are starting to hit retirement and drawing on the Social Security benefits.
The new partial "payroll tax holiday" is the first "raid for other uses" of which I am aware. The Social Security trust fund tries to grow its amount by investing. And what do they invest in? They invest in US government bonds. This is not a raid. They invest for the same reason the Chinese government, among others, invests, because its a good investment with relatively high returns for relatively low risk, and because investing in it rather than stocks and corporate bonds presents no temptations to corruption for the trustees of the fund. To nevertheless call it a "raid" rather than an investment is fundamentally dishonest.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by RebLem » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:30 pm

Cosima___J wrote:I fully agree with you there John.

Social Security needs to be "means tested". That's one obvious thing that would help.
Social Security needs NOT to be means-tested. Means testing is the beginning of the end for any program. The reason that medicare pays about 70-80% of what private insurance pays for any medical service and medicaid pays only 60% or less is that medicaid is a means-tested program for the poor, whereas medicare is a program for everyone who is aged, blind, or disabled; there is no means test. Means testing is the beginning of our being able to say, "Oh, those people over there, there are those others, those who did not succeed in life, those who were failures, those who had no ambition. We can safely ignore, therefore, what they want." Social Security and Medicare are for everyone. Why, Cosima, pray tell, do you hate the rich so much? :wink:
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:49 pm

RebLem wrote:
Cosima___J wrote:I fully agree with you there John.

Social Security needs to be "means tested". That's one obvious thing that would help.
Social Security needs NOT to be means-tested. Means testing is the beginning of the end for any program. The reason that medicare pays about 70-80% of what private insurance pays for any medical service and medicaid pays only 60% or less is that medicaid is a means-tested program for the poor, whereas medicare is a program for everyone who is aged, blind, or disabled; there is no means test. Means testing is the beginning of our being able to say, "Oh, those people over there, there are those others, those who did not succeed in life, those who were failures, those who had no ambition. We can safely ignore, therefore, what they want." Social Security and Medicare are for everyone. Why, Cosima, pray tell, do you hate the rich so much? :wink:
I dabbled with thinking means testing was a good idea, but now I agree with Rob. I recall reading, though I cannot find a reference that says so, that means testing was considered when Social Security was originally proposed, and was rejected for this and other reasons. (Another reason, a perverse one, is that it is a disincentive to save for one's own retirement, since anyone who made adequate provisions would lose the benefit.) If Social Security was going in per capita proportion to people who had managed to accumulate a great deal of wealth or whose income was unearned, it would be one matter. But it is only received by people who have earned salary and wage amounts eligible for the FICA deduction, not all poor surely, but by and large hard-working paycheck earners like, I presume, most of us.

In any event, everyone over a certain age, and not that great a one, has to be presumed already to have figured Social Security into retirement planning (indeed, has been told to do so), even though we know many people are not that foresighted. We cannot change the rules in the middle of the game for them. So, as with raising the retirement age, we would be visiting the problems related to means testing on a generation not yet mature. Yes, those Republicans are certainly making sure that we don't put an unbearable burden on our children and grandchildren.

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Barry » Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:37 pm

jbuck919 wrote: In any event, everyone over a certain age, and not that great a one, has to be presumed already to have figured Social Security into retirement planning (indeed, has been told to do so), even though we know many people are not that foresighted. We cannot change the rules in the middle of the game for them. ...
That is generally taken into account when significant changes are made in a major government-run benefits program. That's why the lifting of the retirement age to 69 wouldn't take place for so many years.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by John F » Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:46 pm

jbuck919 wrote:While we're on the topic of neat ideas affecting Social Security that everybody can agree on, I cannot believe my ears when I hear people on both sides state that the first thing they will all accept is raising the retirement age to 69 or 70. I can think of nothing more radical, unwise, and unjust and it should be the last resort rather than the first thing they do. A very large portion of the labor force, including many of those those tending to be low-income and most in need of retirement income support, will always be in jobs that require a vigor they cannot expect to maintain into their early 60s, let alone later. No change in life expectancy or medical advance will alter that fact.
Not only that, but it will also make jobs even harder to find and life even more difficult for their grandchildren who are just starting their careers and families - and for their own children, still under retirement age, who will have to house the grandchildren that much longer.

And if eligibility for Medicare is also put off until 69 or 70, that makes it all the more important that the health care reform law go into full effect as passed. Who would bet his/her health and indeed life on that?

If elders are given the choice of retiring on Social Security at age 65 (actually 62 if they accept reduced benefits), or continuing to work but giving up as much of their Social Security benefits as they are earning on the job, that would probably be less devastating to their grandchildren's chances for self-sufficient and successful lives. But there would still be major economic and social disruption.

Not to worry, there's no chance that such a thing will become law, and the lawmaker who even proposes it will face the wrath of a gray uprising to make the Tea Party look like, well, a tea party. :)
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Cosima___J » Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:53 pm

Does anybody know the answer to this question: I've heard somebody say that in occupations which require the physical strength and stamina of the young, the retirement age for Social Security is lower. Is that true?

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Cosima___J » Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:59 pm

Rob, here's a pretty good explanation of the Raid On Social Security Funds:

Stopping the Social Security Raid
By PHILIP KERPEN | March 20, 2007

The apparent collapse of talks between the White House and Senate Democrats suggests that, though we should remain vigilant, conservative groups appear to have successfully stopped a sell-out effort to raise Social Security taxes in the name of reform.

That said, the status quo — entitlement spending projected to lead an explosion in the size of the federal government to 38% of gross domestic product by 2050 from 20% — is a rout for limited government conservatives and a disaster for the country's future.

The key to getting the reform effort back on track is to focus on the lowest common denominator problem with the current system — Congress's unconscionable raid of Social Security surpluses to fund unrelated programs. Fortunately the conservative Republican Study Committee is now proposing to do precisely that by including a commitment to stop the raid in its American Taxpayer Bill of Rights agenda announced last Wednesday.

Social Security had a severe cash crunch in 1983. Because of shifting demographics, the program was within months of not having enough money coming in to pay benefits. The government solved its problem by making the problem for workers worse — it raised taxes, cut benefits, and increased the retirement age.

The result was large and growing cash surpluses — more money coming into Social Security in payroll taxes than going out in benefit payments. But Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system, which means that the taxes that come in each year are used to pay benefits for retirees that year. There is no mechanism for investing any excess funds that are left over.

Surpluses, which in theory should fund benefits for future retirees, are instead raided by Congress and squandered on unrelated spending programs. The late New York senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, called this "outright thievery."

Here's how the raid works: The surplus payroll tax dollars go into the Social Security Trust Fund, which in turn uses them to buy special issue bonds from the U.S. Treasury.

Then Congress can use those dollars, in the Treasury, to spend on anything it wants. All that Social Security has are the bonds. The bonds pay interest, but Congress raids the interest, too, by simply placing more bonds in the trust fund. The trust fund itself is a filing cabinet in West Virginia — it doesn't have any real funds in it and you probably shouldn't trust it.

President Bush explained this pretty well in a speech in 2005: "You pay your payroll tax, we pay out to current retirees, and then we spend your money on other government programs."

In 2006 this thievery reached a milestone, passing the staggering number of $1 trillion used for programs other than Social Security since 1983. And that's not including interest. That enormous amount of money has allowed both parties in Congress to fund innumerable wasteful programs and pork-barrel projects while concealing the size of the deficit.

Social Security is expected to remain in cash-flow surplus for the next decade, and the raid is scheduled to continue. Under present law, Congress will raid Social Security funds to the tune of $693 billion over the next decade, not including interest. If a tax-increase deal did come together, it would amplify the size of the larceny while doing nothing to make Social Security a better deal for workers.

Enter the Republican Study Committee. While the committee has not yet introduced specific legislation, the group, which has over 100 members, has defined stopping the raid as one of its key policy priorities, saying: "The RSC will propose legislation this year making it against the law to spend Social Security money collected from Americans on anything other than Social Security."

The committee's bill likely will be very similar to a bill sponsored in the last Congress and recently reintroduced by a Republican Study Committee member, Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, that could form the foundation of a broad consensus to end the raid. Her bill, H.R. 581, would prohibit Congress from spending Social Security surpluses and form a bipartisan commission to consider the best use of those funds.

Some ideas the commission could consider include using the surplus for future individual accounts that have been proposed by Senator DeMint of South Carolina and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin; centralized investment in stocks or corporate bonds as President Clinton suggested, or perhaps the Head Start Retirement Accounts, savings accounts for children under age18, that are being promoted by Larry Hunter of the Institute for Policy Innovation. In the meantime, the Social Security surpluses would remain protected in a segregated account.

Fifty years ago, there were 16 workers for every retiree. Now there are three, and soon there will be only two. If Social Security continues to be a transfer payment, it will place an incredible strain on workers in the medium term, which would derail economic growth. Social Security simply cannot be propped up in its present form without damaging American workers and the economy. Structural reform is needed, and the first step toward broader reforms is to stop the raid.

Mr. Kerpen is policy director for Americans for Prosperity.



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Werner
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Werner » Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:05 am

As Barry said, things like changing th retirement age need to be done slowly and deliberately. I believe that it's been raised to 67 or is about to be - you'll forgive me for not being quite up to date about this, being somewhat beyond that age. But with increasing longevity. and exempting cases where work involves hard physical effort, I see no alternative for it. In my own case, I was about six weeks short of 76 when I retired.

As to means testing, I'm not aware of any changes to the principle that within vertain limits - excempting the highest earners, one pays in to the system in proportion to one's income, and the eventual payout is proportional - so this is a "means test" that's been in effect for many years.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Cosima___J » Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:11 am

When I say "means test", I mean exactly the opposite of the current situation. The wealthiest earners would get something less than they do currently, on the assumption that the wealthiest earners have accumulated other sources of income, such as investments etc.

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Werner » Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:41 am

i think we're talking about different levels of ""wealth." I suppose, Cosi, that you refer to thecategory of the top 1% or2%. There are lots of income levels below that, and that's what I had in mind.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by HoustonDavid » Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:08 am

Cosi, thank you for reinforcing, with facts, figures, and dates, the point I have been
making (in the "Tax Cuts" thread) about what Congress has done with excess Social
Security funds collected, mostly from yours and my payroll taxes. It is the primary
reason the Social Security trust fund is so woefully underfunded and the Congress
has had those revenues to spend on their favorite "pork".
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by John F » Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:14 am

Cosima___J wrote:Does anybody know the answer to this question: I've heard somebody say that in occupations which require the physical strength and stamina of the young, the retirement age for Social Security is lower. Is that true?
No. But Social Security pays benefits to people with disabilities who are in need, and I expect there are more coal miners than desk jockeys under 65 in that category.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by RebLem » Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:14 pm

Bottom line is, Cosi, what you want to do is substantially reduce the standard of living of millions of poor and middle class Americans for the benefit of fewer than 7,000 rich families in the highest tax bracket. This is morally wrong, and unconscionable. The fact that you are not ashamed of it only makes it more brazen and putrid.

I do have a plan for preserving the Social Security trust fund, but it would not cost less; it would simply shift some of the cost of income maintenance for older Americans from the SSA trust fund to general tax revenue by reducing the number of people eligible for SSA and increasing the number of people eligible for, or the amount paid out to them from, SSI funds.

In order to be eligible for Social Security, one has to have earned at least $440 per quarter for at least 40 quarters (ten years). I am not sure when this amount was established, but it was the case when I became a public aid caseworker in May, 1968, and has not been adjusted for inflation or even for increases in the minimum wage, since. Thus, one can be eligible for at least a minimal Social Security payment if one has earned as little as $17,600 in one's lifetime. People with minimal grants (i.e., below the SSI grant level) are eligible for SSI to supplement it. I propose that anyone who is eligible for SSI be, thereby, ineligible for SSA benefits, but they he remain eligible for Medicare, which is a better program than Medicaid, which people who now live solely on SSI are eligible for.

I also propose that people be taxed on income over the maximum they are currently taxed on, which is somewhere around $100K--I don't know exactly. I also think, though, that the retirement payout should be higher for such people. The element of progressivity should remain, so people in the upper brackets might never get back what they paid in, but nevertheless, the should be a nominal increase in benefits.

If that isn't enough, we should consider adjusting the funding formula for SSA. Instead of 1/2 from employees and 1/2 from employers, make it 1/3 apiece from employees and employers, and 1/3 from general tax revenue.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Cosima___J » Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:22 pm

Reb, you said:"Bottom line is, Cosi, what you want to do is substantially reduce the standard of living of millions of poor and middle class Americans for the benefit of fewer than 7,000 rich families in the highest tax bracket. This is morally wrong, and unconscionable. The fact that you are not ashamed of it only makes it more brazen and putrid."

Could you please quote what exactly it was that I said which caused you to make the above statement?

I will just say once more that I think saving Social Security will involve, among other things, means testing. Wealthier recipients of Social Security need to have the amount they receive reduced. How in the world does that translate into reducing the standard of living of millions of poor and middle class Americans"?

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by HoustonDavid » Sun Dec 19, 2010 12:38 am

RebLem wrote:Cosi, what you want to do is substantially reduce the standard of living of millions of poor and middle class Americans for the benefit of fewer than 7,000 rich families in the highest tax bracket. This is morally wrong, and unconscionable. The fact that you are not ashamed of it only makes it more brazen and putrid.
Not that Cosi needs defending, but I went back through this post and others and
cannot for the life of me - and I'm a Liberal - find anything to substantiate this
rude, unwarranted, and insulting charge!! :x
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by RebLem » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:07 am

HoustonDavid wrote:
RebLem wrote:Cosi, what you want to do is substantially reduce the standard of living of millions of poor and middle class Americans for the benefit of fewer than 7,000 rich families in the highest tax bracket. This is morally wrong, and unconscionable. The fact that you are not ashamed of it only makes it more brazen and putrid.
Not that Cosi needs defending, but I went back through this post and others and
cannot for the life of me - and I'm a Liberal - find anything to substantiate this
rude, unwarranted, and insulting charge!! :x
She didn't, it is true, say any such thing in this thread. But if you check her statements, and her evident agreement with the authors of articles she posted in the Those So-Called Tax Cuts thread, you will find that my characterization of her policy stances on taxes for the rich are fully justified. I stand by my statement. However, I do hope that the first paragraph of my post did not deter you or anyone else from reading the rest of the post. I do have a talent for leading with the wrong foot, I fear.

Cosima quoted, with evident approval, a statement by another author that the estate tax is our most immoral tax. First of all, it is dishonest to call it a death tax. They decided to call it a death tax because the phrase tests well with cross sections of the public. But if it were a death tax, it would be a tax on every estate. Far from the truth. Only a fraction of a percent of estates are subject to the tax. What this and the fact that earnings from dividends are taxed at a lower rate than income from work ought to be called is the "Paris Hilton Lifestyle Enabling Acts."
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by HoustonDavid » Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:22 pm

I did exactly as you suggested, Rob: I went to the "Tax Cut" thread and scanned
it for a suggestion of such a sentiment authored by Cosi. The only thing that came
reasonably close was the opening piece which she cut and pasted from another
author and another source. I don't know what her motivation for posting it was,
other than provoking comments on the sentiments expressed, but it was most
certainly not something she wrote herself. And not something she expressed
agreement with. Look at the attribute at the top, then apologize for calling her
putrid, among other things.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by RebLem » Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:02 pm

HoustonDavid wrote:I did exactly as you suggested, Rob: I went to the "Tax Cut" thread and scanned
it for a suggestion of such a sentiment authored by Cosi. The only thing that came
reasonably close was the opening piece which she cut and pasted from another
author and another source. I don't know what her motivation for posting it was,
other than provoking comments on the sentiments expressed, but it was most
certainly not something she wrote herself. And not something she expressed
agreement with. Look at the attribute at the top, then apologize for calling her
putrid, among other things.
Her stand seems to me putrid and immoral. I didn't say--at least I don't think I did--that she is. If my language was insufficiently precise to make that clear, I apologize for that.

Your reading of the Tax Cut thread is quite a bit different from mine. While the first post is simply the statement of another author with whom Cosi obviously substantially agrees--there is no indication that she does not wholly agree with it--it is true that she makes no explicit comment in that post indicating agreement. Then later on, in another post she makes the statement point that tax increases lead to reduced revenues. Clinton raised taxes and the economy grew massively under Clinton, with 22 million jobs added. Bush 43 cut taxes massively, especially for the rich, and only 8 million jobs were added in the first 6 1/2 years, all of which were lost in the last year and a half of his administration. So, Cosi's point is simply her anti-historical fantasy, which, unfortunately, is shared by far too many people. Most of the people who say these things in public and on TV don't really believe them. They are simply owned by rich people who demand they say these things in exchange for campaign contributions. It is sad to see otherwise intelligent people like Cosi deluded by them.

In yet another post in the Tax Cut thread, she says most of the serious reading she has done suggests spending cuts are a much better way of dealing with the deficit than tax increases. We are running deficits of about 3/4 of a trillion dollars a year, and even the House Republicans say they hope to cut about $100B out of the budget, and no less a conservative than David Stockman says he thinks they won't be able to agree on more than about $50 B.

Let me make this even more personal. My regular income is about $2,900 net monthly. Basically, Cosi is telling me that my income ought to go down so that billionaires won't have to pay 39%, instead of the current 36%, of their income in taxes, and so they can transfer estates of $10 B or more to their heirs without their heirs having to pay an estate tax, and that I don't have the proper attitude of patriotic sacrifice and dedication to the national interest if I disagree. I find that personally threatening, insulting, and grossly unfair.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by living_stradivarius » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:58 am

RebLem wrote:Let me make this even more personal. My regular income is about $2,900 net monthly. Basically, Cosi is telling me that my income ought to go down so that billionaires won't have to pay 39%, instead of the current 36%, of their income in taxes, and so they can transfer estates of $10 B or more to their heirs without their heirs having to pay an estate tax, and that I don't have the proper attitude of patriotic sacrifice and dedication to the national interest if I disagree. I find that personally threatening, insulting, and grossly unfair.
Horrible justification for tax policy. Tax policy is based on aggregate incentives not isolated situations. For one, these billionaires create millions of jobs with the money they earned and spend. Are you creating jobs?

You know we could force just one billionaire to give you .001% of his income and you would live a cushy retirement. But I'd rather see that money spent on creating productive work for young people. This happens when they invest or simply bank the money (loans go out to finance new projects etc.), not when their income is sucked into a government which throws it all away on pet projects or rubber stamp jobs.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:26 pm

living_stradivarius wrote:
RebLem wrote:Let me make this even more personal. My regular income is about $2,900 net monthly. Basically, Cosi is telling me that my income ought to go down so that billionaires won't have to pay 39%, instead of the current 36%, of their income in taxes, and so they can transfer estates of $10 B or more to their heirs without their heirs having to pay an estate tax, and that I don't have the proper attitude of patriotic sacrifice and dedication to the national interest if I disagree. I find that personally threatening, insulting, and grossly unfair.
Horrible justification for tax policy. Tax policy is based on aggregate incentives not isolated situations. For one, these billionaires create millions of jobs with the money they earned and spend. Are you creating jobs?

You know we could force just one billionaire to give you .001% of his income and you would live a cushy retirement. But I'd rather see that money spent on creating productive work for young people. This happens when they invest or simply bank the money (loans go out to finance new projects etc.), not when their income is sucked into a government which throws it all away on pet projects or rubber stamp jobs.
Only a fraction of the income of people that wealthy goes to investment that has any meaning for economic growth (if this were not true, the Democrats would have had no or a very weak argument against extending the tax break for the wealthy). The rest is put in instruments with high returns that increasingly have no bearing on the economy, or maybe a negative one. It is the same situation with the banks, which are putting their money in safe interest-bearing securities rather than anything risky like lending it to business. That does not make either banks or very wealthy people evil; it just makes them rationally self-interested. But one of the reasons we have government, as part of its duty to promote the general welfare, is to correct for that kind of non-productive accumulation of wealth, including by (directly or indirectly) putting more of it in the hands of people who engage in normal, economy-stimulating consumption.

Your opinion in this post belies your general stance to a certain extent, Henry. It makes sense to reduce the tax burden on corporations, entrepreneurs if you will, to the extent that they do indeed invest in their own productivity. That is not the process to which Rob seems to be referring.

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by living_stradivarius » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:16 pm

jbuck919 wrote:It is the same situation with the banks, which are putting their money in safe interest-bearing securities rather than anything risky like lending it to business.
- These securities still make interest and that interest comes from money going back towards the economy in the form of loans. If they were truly just hoarding money, all the US Treasury would have to do is print more money to support gov't spending since the effects of inflation are only realized when the hoarded $ are cycled into the economy.
- Stats please, the majority of millionaires, many of whom are entrepreneurs do reinvest in the economy either with purchases or investment in people who pitch interesting new ideas. Problem is, there aren't enough people coming up with interesting new pitches. So many resort to coercing it out of "billionaires" with gridlocked tax policy when the US is full of opportunity for those who simply ask for it the right way. Of course you have to give a little (work, thought, time) to get it. Entrepreneurship is much more effective than any tax policy could ever be in getting money from the "rich" and using it productively.
- If you wanna pick on those who help spoiled brats live off their estates, then do so without categorically lumping all millionaires etc. into one group.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by RebLem » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:25 pm

living_stradivarius wrote:
RebLem wrote:Let me make this even more personal. My regular income is about $2,900 net monthly. Basically, Cosi is telling me that my income ought to go down so that billionaires won't have to pay 39%, instead of the current 36%, of their income in taxes, and so they can transfer estates of $10 B or more to their heirs without their heirs having to pay an estate tax, and that I don't have the proper attitude of patriotic sacrifice and dedication to the national interest if I disagree. I find that personally threatening, insulting, and grossly unfair.
Horrible justification for tax policy. Tax policy is based on aggregate incentives not isolated situations. For one, these billionaires create millions of jobs with the money they earned and spend. Are you creating jobs?

You know we could force just one billionaire to give you .001% of his income and you would live a cushy retirement. But I'd rather see that money spent on creating productive work for young people. This happens when they invest or simply bank the money (loans go out to finance new projects etc.), not when their income is sucked into a government which throws it all away on pet projects or rubber stamp jobs.
Excuse me for living. I'll die for you some other time. Then you can break out the champagne.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by living_stradivarius » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:29 pm

RebLem wrote:Excuse me for living. I'll die for you some other time. Then you can break out the champagne.
No thanks :D. Well excuse me for living and paying for your SS benefits. :roll: Be nice to put a cork in it.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:38 pm

living_stradivarius wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:It is the same situation with the banks, which are putting their money in safe interest-bearing securities rather than anything risky like lending it to business.
- These securities still make interest and that interest comes from money going back towards the economy in the form of loans.
Oh yeah, all those loans the very wealthy and the banks are just dying to make except there aren't enough smart entrepreneurs around to lend to. :roll: As a matter of fact, a large proportion of wealthy investment does go to start-ups and private equity (and still to hedge funds), but that's not enough. I don't think one can reasonably claim that, say, a 2% - 5% increase in the marginal tax rate on very large incomes is depriving the nation of seed money for wondrous new business ventures. In fact, you're the only one I've ever heard claim that. The Republicans are arguing against a tax raise basically without offering any reasons at all (because they perceive, correctly, that a great many Americans aren't requiring them to defend their position).

From POLITICUSUSA:


Why Tax Cuts For The RICH Killed The economy in 1929 and Are Killing us again
Posted on December 16, 2010 by Ray Medeiros


Image

Here is where the problem lies with the conservative argument defending tax breaks for the top 2%. It is causing a greater gap in our income brackets.

The disparity of income in this Country has grown to Gilded Age levels.

In 1925-26 the top marginal income tax was DROPPED from 73% to 25%. This caused the greatest disparity in income in our history until today.

The rich KEPT most of their money and it wasn’t distributed through out the economy.

What happens here is a smaller pool of people are HOLDING a larger share of the wealth.

This essentially puts a strain on DEMAND for products. The wealthiest can only consume so much and we all know it is CONSUMPTION that drives our economy. In fact it is 2/3rds of our economy.

In 1926 and now in 2010 we are at the same crossroads. The top 2% are holding a majority of the wealth and the pool of consumers has shrunk to pre-depression numbers.

(HOW MANY CARS IS PARIS HILTON GOING TO BUY?)

Essentially the majority of the wealth they are keeping is sitting in banks or stocks and even in the Cayman Islands. It is not creating demand, which puts people to work.

Raising the income tax on the top 2% enables greater tax credits,breaks and a lower income tax rate for working middle class people. This puts more money in the hands of MORE people, spurring demand to a greater amount than a handful of millionaires.



From The Daily Kos:

The rich don't spend tax cuts

by Joan McCarter
Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 06:30:03 AM PST

There's excellent political reasons for bringing some fairness back to tax policy and ending the Bush/Republican massive tax cuts to the rich. But there's also smart policy reasons, beyond the massive chunk of the deficit they comprise. The evidence is actually pretty sound that tax cuts to the wealthy just don't stimulate the economy, despite what Republicans would have you believe.

The CBO says so.

[E]conomic research suggests that tax cuts, though difficult for politicians to resist in election season, have limited ability to bolster the flagging economy because they are essentially a supply-side remedy for a problem caused by lack of demand.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office this year analyzed the short-term effects of 11 policy options and found that extending the tax cuts would be the least effective way to spur the economy and reduce unemployment. The report added that tax cuts for high earners would have the smallest “bang for the buck,” because wealthy Americans were more likely to save their money than spend it.

The office gave higher marks to the proposal, now embraced by President Obama, to allow small businesses to write off 100 percent of their investment costs.

Then there's Moody's:

Tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush were followed by increases in the saving rate among the rich, according to data from Moody’s Analytics Inc. When taxes were raised under Bill Clinton, the saving rate fell....

When tax legislation was signed by Clinton in 1993 -- raising the top tax rate to 39.6 percent from 31 percent -- the saving rate fell from 12.1 percent in the second quarter to 9.5 percent in the first quarter of 1994. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 1.9 percent from July through September, after little change the previous three months.

When the first Bush tax cuts were signed into law in June 2001, pushing the top rate down to 35 percent, the wealthy boosted savings. The saving rate climbed to 2.8 percent in the first quarter of 2002 from minus 2 percent in the second quarter of 2001. The increased savings coincided with a 1.1 percent decline in the S&P 500 index.

Saving is good, but now on the part of the people with all the income, anyway. More money in middle class folks' pockets creates more spending, creating more demand, creating more jobs. That's also true of unemployment benefits.

In addition to continuing the massive tax breaks for the very wealthy, what Congress needs to do to address the economy is extend the cuts for the middle class, create a 5th Tier of unemployment benefits for the millions of people whose benefits have run out, and save a quarter of a million existing jobs by extending TANF funding.

That's how to keep the economy moving.


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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by JackC » Mon Dec 20, 2010 3:09 pm

RebLem wrote:
living_stradivarius wrote:
RebLem wrote:Let me make this even more personal. My regular income is about $2,900 net monthly. Basically, Cosi is telling me that my income ought to go down so that billionaires won't have to pay 39%, instead of the current 36%, of their income in taxes, and so they can transfer estates of $10 B or more to their heirs without their heirs having to pay an estate tax, and that I don't have the proper attitude of patriotic sacrifice and dedication to the national interest if I disagree. I find that personally threatening, insulting, and grossly unfair.
Horrible justification for tax policy. Tax policy is based on aggregate incentives not isolated situations. For one, these billionaires create millions of jobs with the money they earned and spend. Are you creating jobs?

You know we could force just one billionaire to give you .001% of his income and you would live a cushy retirement. But I'd rather see that money spent on creating productive work for young people. This happens when they invest or simply bank the money (loans go out to finance new projects etc.), not when their income is sucked into a government which throws it all away on pet projects or rubber stamp jobs.
Excuse me for living. I'll die for you some other time. Then you can break out the champagne.
It's pretty pathetic for someone sit around whining/complaining that his life stinks because rich Republicans are too greedy, cruel, putrid etc etc to give him more money. :roll:

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Cosima___J » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:01 pm

John, you are intelligent enough to know that there is absolutely no comparison between now and events leading up to the Great Depression. Good grief! Read up on the Great Depression and come back and tell us we're in a similar situation.

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by RebLem » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:50 pm

JackC wrote:
RebLem wrote:
living_stradivarius wrote:
RebLem wrote:Let me make this even more personal. My regular income is about $2,900 net monthly. Basically, Cosi is telling me that my income ought to go down so that billionaires won't have to pay 39%, instead of the current 36%, of their income in taxes, and so they can transfer estates of $10 B or more to their heirs without their heirs having to pay an estate tax, and that I don't have the proper attitude of patriotic sacrifice and dedication to the national interest if I disagree. I find that personally threatening, insulting, and grossly unfair.
Horrible justification for tax policy. Tax policy is based on aggregate incentives not isolated situations. For one, these billionaires create millions of jobs with the money they earned and spend. Are you creating jobs?

You know we could force just one billionaire to give you .001% of his income and you would live a cushy retirement. But I'd rather see that money spent on creating productive work for young people. This happens when they invest or simply bank the money (loans go out to finance new projects etc.), not when their income is sucked into a government which throws it all away on pet projects or rubber stamp jobs.
Excuse me for living. I'll die for you some other time. Then you can break out the champagne.
It's pretty pathetic for someone sit around whining/complaining that his life stinks because rich Republicans are too greedy, cruel, putrid etc etc to give him more money. :roll:
No, I just want to keep what I have with the COLAs I have under the scheme that has been promised to me for 60 years, instead of having to give it up so Donald Trump can realize his dream of having a mansion in every county in America, under a scheme that great radical Dwight Eisenhower would have regarded as an obscenity. Certainly his daughter Susan does.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:53 pm

Cosima___J wrote:John, you are intelligent enough to know that there is absolutely no comparison between now and events leading up to the Great Depression. Good grief! Read up on the Great Depression and come back and tell us we're in a similar situation.
The comparison was intended to illustrate the dangers to the economy of concentrating wealth in the hands of a few and starving consumption by a much broader base. This was not the sole cause of the Great Depression, nor is it our sole economic problem now, but it is a commonality. And in case you didn't notice, the main difference between the Great Recession and the Great Depression was that prompt and appropriate government action kept the former from turning into another one of the latter.
Last edited by jbuck919 on Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Barry » Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:19 pm

jbuck919 wrote: And in case you didn't notice, the main difference between the Great Recession and the Great Depression was that prompt and appropriate government action kept the latter from turning into another one of the former.
There is government action and there is government action. I believe an ever increasing number of economists also endorse the notion that FDR's further government action prolonged and made the depression worse, giving us the depression within the depression of '37-'38.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Cosima___J » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:14 pm

Yup, Barry. I've been reading the same thing. It wasn't FDR's economic policy that pulled us out of the Depression. It was WWII. Some of his policies actually made the economic situation worse.

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:27 pm

Ya see--Obama's a better president than FDR! :wink:

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Cosima___J » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:49 pm

:roll:

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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Werner » Mon Dec 20, 2010 8:55 pm

Cosi and Barry, I think there is a line of thinking contrary to what you've read - and that's been under discussion as long as our current efforts at getting out of the inherited mess have been going on.

I'm sure you've read it, too. In a way, it's uncanny how we seem to be in a replay of things.

Read that way, the story goes that FDR's initiatives were showing results but creating unprecedented deficits. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? And so two years into the New Deal, people got scared and pulled in their sails, resulting in reenewed depression.

And what did pull us out of it - and here the stories run somewhat parallel - was the super-stimulus of World War II. I'm not advocating a reenactment of those terrible years, but it seems that economic and political experts on all sides agree that that's what definitely ended the Great Depression.

Aftr the loss of all that blood and treasure, wartime developments did provide a point of departure to economic progress, with technology the base for economic progress.

In contrast, as you well know, we're still enduring our longest war - or two wars - ever, and trying to get out of the meltdown that just happened along the way. You dont need me to recite the economic causes that brought the meltdown about.

But I seem to see one contrast between the present and WWII. It was our side against the enemy. The nation was united, the draft included representatives of the entire population instead of the small portion represented by the current volunteeers - with all the credit and thanks due them, however. And the nation paid for the war as it was fought - no tax breaks for the wealthy or privileged. The war was fought and paid for by all - and we won.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by Barry » Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:22 pm

Werner wrote: But I seem to see one contrast between the present and WWII. It was our side against the enemy. The nation was united, the draft included representatives of the entire population instead of the small portion represented by the current volunteeers - with all the credit and thanks due them, however. And the nation paid for the war as it was fought - no tax breaks for the wealthy or privileged. The war was fought and paid for by all - and we won.
I agree with you, Werner. But aside from the obvious difference of having a draft, it was a different country back then in terms of people not being as cynical as they are today with regards to the government's motives. I obviously wasn't around back then, but I also doubt there was the total disrespect for the president if he isn't from your party that we've had for recent presidents. That's obviously a problem on both sides of the aisle. And frankly, I doubt that the Moveon.org/Daily Kos wing of the Democratic party would unite behind any war effort; virtually regardless of the circumstances, unless we were under invasion (I'm talking something way beyond the bombing of Pearl Harbor). Being anti-war as a part of their ideology is as much a part of that crowd as being opposed to tax increases is of being part of the right wing of the Republican party. I'm speaking generally of course. I have no doubt that someone will say I belong to that organization and I supported the Gulph War or something like that. But in general, the modern left wing of the Democratic party has a strong tendency towards pacifism. And we saw with Carter how dangerous it is when nobody takes the notion that our leadership would use force seriously. You'll probably now go ahead and mention Bush. But there have been presidents who projected credible strength without taking us into new wars.
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by lennygoran » Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:33 pm

>Ya see--Obama's a better president than FDR!<

Maybe he'll even seek a third term--he's quite a lameduck! Regards, Len :)

jbuck919
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Re: How is BHO Regarded ...

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:43 pm

Barry wrote: And frankly, I doubt that the Moveon.org/Daily Kos wing of the Democratic party would unite behind any war effort; virtually regardless of the circumstances, unless we were under invasion (I'm talking something way beyond the bombing of Pearl Harbor).
Pearl Harbor was part of an operation that involved invasion and a direct and partially successful attempt at military conquest of U.S. territory (I presume you've heard of Guam); you are making a false dichotomy between that and any modern invasion scenario, which is in any event unlikely in the extreme. Under other circumstances, it is perfectly proper seriously to question any war effort short of such a threat (which would include virtually every other war the U.S. has fought). Not to dismiss a military response, but also not to expect immediate, unswerving, and wholehearted unity behind whatever president thinks it's a good idea to send us off to war yet one more time.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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