Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Senator Bill Clinton?

Sen. Bill Clinton? Sen. Mario Cuomo? Don't completely rule it out. The former president and the former New York governor are among several boldface names being touted as possible "caretakers" for New York's Senate seat — people who would serve until the 2010 elections but wouldn't be interested in running to keep the job.

As the process of picking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's replacement gets messier, the option may become increasingly attractive to Gov. David Paterson, who has sole authority to name a successor.

I doubt President Clinton would be very interested in the job, but it sure would be fun to watch the right wing haters start foaming at the mouth over the prospect... but I guess they're already foaming about Caroline Kennedy, huh?


coreydbarbarian said...

those are intriguing options, no doubt. i would be very interested in what a senator bill clinton might accomplish, although the notion of "caretaker" for a senate seat seems to override the founders intent(s) with senate appointments...

as an aside, this governor paterson is really starting to impress me, but not in a very good way. his fat tax proposals are downright obnoxious, imo.

and, for the record, i predicted a "big mac tax" or a "fat tax" back in 95 when bill clinton endorsed sin taxes on tobacco & alcohol. i hope this new york fat tax gets shot down in the courts, asap.


It is called a nanny state, corey. The powers that be want to keep you happy and long-lived; the better to keep paying those taxes for a longer time frame. To hell with having any fun or adventure.

csm said...

Well, I can't say I am totally for or totally opposed to these type of taxes. At least they give you some type of option as to whether you want to pay the tax. If you want that burger, go ahead, buy it and pay the tax. If you want to avoid the tax, just don't buy that burger. Works for me with cigarettes and most alcohol (rarely drink). I do like the burgers, though!

G said...

Don't underestimate the effect of unintended consequences to further taxes like these.

For one thing, what people will be most effected? Poor and middle class (you don't see many rich folks in McDonald's). They will either go ahead an pay the tax to get their food (so they have less to spend on other things, giving a net negative economic effect), or they will refuse to pay the higher price (reducing profitability and viability for the restaurants, leading to lost jobs and fewer choices).

Aren't Americans taxed enough? I haven't done the calculations myself, but I have read (in several places) that the average American pays more than 50% of his income in taxes... federal, state, sales tax, gas tax, etc. Simply put, a nation (or state) can't tax itself to prosperity.

But the most offensive part of it to me is the "nanny state" attitude that the govt will enact laws and tax behaviors in order to conform the people into their limited view of what is best.

Unfortunately, I doubt that any court would be able to strike these things down. The only real recourse is at the ballot box.


With that kind of thinking csm, why don't we tax healthy foods. The longer you live the more Social Security payments will be payed to you costing the rest of us more. I never really understood why the government was so against cigarette smoking, smokers and drinkers rarely get a full course of Social Security payments; not like someone who lives to be ninety, ninety five.

g, I agree that there is one way we could get the nanny state off our backs, elect a President and Congress which value individual liberty more than the collective welfare, which if I remember correctly, was the intent of our formation. But people like that warm fuzzy feeling of a guardian figure versus taking responsibility for themselves.

I am fat. I admit it. I am fat, getting real fat. Food is one of those pleasures I enjoy. I don't blame anyone for my fatness, I blame myself if I were to sit here and really worry about it. I don't need any fucking government to tell me my life will be shortened or that I can suffer dire consequences and that they would like to help me. I have lost more than 60 lbs three different times in my life. I know how to lose weight. But if I want to be fat, that is my fucking business, not anyone else's. And all those out there which want to put forth that because of my attitude health insurance is more expensive for everybody, I would refer them back to my first paragraph in this post. Everything evens out in the end.

csm said...

G said: "...the most offensive part of it to me is the "nanny state" attitude that the govt will enact laws and tax behaviors in order to conform the people into their limited view of what is best."

To look at this a bit askew, there are a shitload of laws out there that attempt to conform behavior. Why is gambling illegal? Drugs? Prostitution? All to get people to conform their behavior to what others want. There is no reason for any of these things to be illegal. Legalize them all and tax the shit outta them. That would bring more freedom than making them illegal.

csm said...

And Bawdy, your take on this matter is interesting but I don't think the Social Security consequences of taxing cigarettes.

And you are welcome to be fat. No one is passing a law saying you have to weigh a certain amount. But it might cost you (and me, I'm fat too) a bit more. I'd rather be taxed that way than to have my tax rate increased.

G said...

Personally, I see a significant difference between these taxes and criminal statutes. Criminal laws are put in place (theoretically, at least) to protect the greater good of society. While we will certainly disagree with them at times, they supposedly come from altruistic motives.

I find it especially disturbing when the govt decides to use people's preferences and behavior to bleed them dry. And in an area like health, where information is constantly changing, isn't it a bit arrogant to tax something because we currently believe it's unhealthy? It wasn't that long ago that a "diet plate" at Bob's Big Boy was a burger with no bun and canned peaches (in syrup, of course) on cottage cheese.

In fact, recent studies show that choosing diet soda over regular has no effect on weight.

I'm with Bawdy. Just let me eat and drink what I want, and leave me alone. If I lose a few years off the end of my life, so be it. I've never believed that it was the govt's job to protect me from my own stupidity.


csm, I don't understand your first sentence in your post on 01/02 @ 12:40pm. It seems incomplete unless I am missing something.

Oh, and so that I am on the record(again, probably), I would legalize all drugs, gambling(online or in person), prostitution and suicide for any adult who has responsibility for themselves.

coreydbarbarian said...

while i don't agree with sin taxes or fat taxes, etc., it's only fair to note that cigarettes, obesity, etc., drive up the cost of medicare/medicaid by ridiculous margins.

and here's another etc., just for good measure. ;)


Corey, did you not read my post. All this money comes from the same pot. Medicare is run by the Social Security Administration. If that cigarette smoker or fat person dies as my mother did when she was 63(a drinker)how does that cost more money than someone who lives to be ninety; not out of the realm anymore. I see it all the time. And I also see Medicare pay most of the money spent on any given citizen in the last year of life. It takes alot of money to keep a sick or broken-down human alive when they are ready to kick the bucket. And if this is what we are talking about, money; then it costs alot more for our society to pay an elder SS payments until they are 85 or ninety, then they break their hip and start the slow decent into death as opposed to someone who is living an unhealthy lifestyle, dies at 65 and I cannot forget to mention, had paid more into Social Security and Medicare to begin with considering the time frame we are talking about. Medicare was started in the '60's and SS payroll deductions are higher now than for all the years the ninety year old worked. It all evens out corey, in the end.

Verification word: mange


Actually that should have read "many the years" instead "all the years".

csm said...

You're correct Bawdy, my thought was incomplete and I posted too quickly.

I meant to say that I don't think the Social Security consequences of taxing cigarettes was anywhere in the thought process when cigarette taxes were introduced. They are a much more benign way of influencing behavior (instead of outlawing it completely like the laws I mentioned).

So G, you seem to be saying that it is OK to completely outlaw something but not to tax it to discourage participation? I'm confused at where you draw this line? Seems completely arbitrary to me.

G said...

I'm sure it wasn't in their thought processes. It was probably very simple: How can we bring in more money without being voted out of office? Find an addictive behavior that is common, but considered to be a "vice". And tax the addicts' product as much as we can get away with. If memory serves me correctly, I think that the current tax on a pack of cigarettes in California is more than the actual cost of the cigs.


I wouldn't say that I have a line chiseled in concrete on the issue. But it does somehow seem more noble to me to be upfront about an issue and say, "This is wrong. We are making it illegal." than to try to manipulate behavior through taxes. If the behavior is truly destructive to society in general (to a degree that warrants taxing it to change people's behavior), then there should be a legitimate, reasonable argument for making it illegal. If one can't make that argument, then taxing it bothers me.

I might not be so offended by the taxation efforts if the populace weren't already taxed to a revolting level (over 50% of income) and the government that rakes in the cash were more effective and fiscally responsible.

Additionally, these types of taxes usually do little or nothing of what is intended (other than to bring in more cash to the govt) and often have a significant negative effect on the economy.

coreydbarbarian said...

bawdy, wha? you mean you posted something earlier?? now how did i miss that? ;)

honestly, i didn't realize medicare/caid came out of the ss coffers. kinda puts a different spin on medical costs if it's all coming out of the same pot, as you say.


My point is that government, especially the federal government, shouldn't be in the business of influencing behavior unless it infringes on someone else's rights. It just isn't in their mandate.

csm said...

Y'know, Corey, there is a general misperception "out there" that there is a Social Security "pot" that is separate... but there isn't.

coreydbarbarian said...

bawdy, i agree with your main point 100%. i was kinda playing the devil's advocate on this one. my mother was a registered nurse for almost 40yrs, and i could never rebut her "exorbitant costs" argument, at least to her satisfaction. that's why i threw it out there, not because i am convinced by it.

csm, this is starting to remind me of a shell game (which shell is the coin under?), or maybe a ponzi scheme. do you mean to tell me al gore was speaking metaphorically when he mentioned that lockbox? aw, shucks.. :)

G said...

Funny that you mentioned the Ponzi scheme. There was a recent article (I can't remember who wrote it or where I saw it) that was basically laughing at the outrage over Madoff's con, which is a pittance compared to the Social Security system that is run exactly the same way... take money in from a new set of investors and use it to pay off the previous investors.

coreydbarbarian said...

if you bump into that article again, g, i'd be happy to read it.

speaking of ponzi, when do y'all think that term will jump the shark? (and do i get extra points for the double entendre?)

G said...

I've been searching for it, but I can't be sure which one it is. It seems that Jim Cramer on CNBC was the first to make the connection. Now everyone is writing essentially the same thing. Here are a couple links. I think the first one might be it.

The Real Mother Of All Ponzi Schemes: Social Security

Cramer: Social Security a Bigger Ponzi Scheme than Madoff's

Government’s Ponzi Scheme Beats Madoff 1000x

coreydbarbarian said...

awesome. thanks!