Friday, March 13, 2009

So This is What Socialism Looks Like?

The media has been obsessing about President Obama's plan to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans—from 35% to 39.6%—even asking if that makes him a socialist.

But do you know what tax rate the wealthiest Americans paid on the top portion of their earnings at the end of Ronald Reagan's first term? 50%.

Under Richard Nixon? 70%. Under Dwight Eisenhower? 91%!

So Obama is more than 10% less socialist that Ronald Reagan, more than 30% less socialist than Tricky Dick, and more than 50% less socialist than good old Ike.

For all the whining about rolling back Bush's irresponsible tax cuts, the truth is that Obama's plan cuts taxes for 95% of working Americans. Further, it closes huge tax loopholes for oil companies, hedge funds and corporations that ship jobs overseas so that we can invest in the priorities that will get our economy back on track.


Lou said...

Of course the Obama graph is only a portion of the picture. Socialism is about more than taxes.
He also wants to limit the deductions those families can claim for charitable donations, mortgage interest and state and local taxes.
Obama justifies his claim that he won't actively raise taxes on 95 percent of working Americans, even while he's passively allowing tax rates to go up for 100% of Americans who actually pay Federal income taxes. He is silver tongued but it just doesn’t fly.
If the country's No. 1 priority is to create jobs, then a the hidden $1,300-per-family energy-tax increase in the guise of a cap-and-trade system is destructive. That is a tax increase for all Americans.
Obama budget includes a 13% excise tax on offshore oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the domestic oil and gas industry at a time when we should be encouraging it to return resources home to America. Just another tax on all Americans.
How about the war wealth business? Obama talks about punishing companies that send jobs overseas; Biden said he wanted to throw CEOs "in the brig, McCaskill referred to CEOs as "idiots". Ironic, the policies of this Administration are making it difficult to stabilize the stock market and much harder to get successful people to invest in American jobs. Why? Obviously Obama wants Americans dependent on government not capitalism since that is socialism at its finest.


Well stated, Lou.

Taxing, and the authority to tax, has little to do with an administration being socialist or not. Hell, kings taxed the shit out of their subjects. It is what they do with the money that makes them a socialist. The tendency though would be for a concentrated and insulated governmental entity to become very socialist. Sounds like Washington to me, and it doesn't matter what party the culprits come from either.

There are plenty of statistics which show the percentage of the total tax income of our beloved federal government being paid at the rate of about 80% by the top 20% of wage earners. If you want me to look it up, I will. The problem isn't just the taxes, it is the tremendous amount of debt we are amassing. It is the vast amount of power our government projects inside this country and out. It is the foreign entanglements which are going to force our hand and take up valuable energy, and for what? If the government(federal, corey) would stop wiping the asses of the citizens, they wouldn't need so much of our tax dollars.

Why are the feds so hot to put drug abuse(and I use that term loosely)high on their agenda? Cannot the states handle these matters. And of course, after you successfully prosecute you them must house them. You can also add the harrassment of pain doctors and the people who want to help others who want to end it all.

Education, we have talked of this before, but I ask you, have the feds really done a good job being some middleman to a state providing education. I don't see it, but maybe you do. It doesn't make sense to me to send my taxes to Washington, just to have them send it back, minus some administrative fees and shipping and handling.

I have to say, I do not like the way this is going (and this starts with the first election of President Flush) and I fear the worst case scenario is at hand. I have had little to do with it and am watching between my fingers.

Anonymous said...

'You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side. The pigs, who are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat, you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd.

Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity. The free corn is on the ground will we eat thereof?


Here is an interesting story and quite enlightening of my point of a overbearing central government and the hoops anyone else has to go through to get any satisfaction. If the states are having these problems, how would a single citizen fare?

Stimulus plan: Spend now, details later (promise)
By MATT APUZZO and BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE, Associated Press Writers Matt Apuzzo And Brett J. Blackledge, Associated Press Writers
Tue Mar 17, 11:22 am ET

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama wants governors to hurry up and begin building bridges and schools to revive the economy. His administration is learning that spending $787 billion as quickly and transparently as promised is no easy task.

States wanting desperately to tap into the new money are having trouble keeping track of the application deadlines and requirements in the 400-page stimulus bill. Governors must sign pledges saying they'll spend the money appropriately, but the administration is still figuring out what the rules are.

"Well, that's kind of scary," said Richard Eckstrom, South Carolina's comptroller general.

Hanging over all of this are two threats. The first was written into the law, saying that if states miss a deadline or don't spend the money fast enough, they lose the cash. Vice President Joe Biden delivered the second threat last week, warning that if states misspend the money, "don't look for any help from the federal government for a long while."

Yet figuring out how to spend the money correctly isn't easy. For example:

_The Housing and Urban Development Department is offering $1.5 billion for homeless prevention, but there's confusion over who qualifies.

_Governors are required to report how many jobs are being saved or created, but there has been no explanation of how to count them.

_The Energy Department is giving out money to make homes energy-efficient, and the work must begin soon, but there aren't enough trained workers for all the remodeling jobs.

When Washington tries to spend a lot of money, spend it quickly and spend it responsibly it usually succeeds only in two of those three goals. Federal aid after Hurricane Katrina was wasted on temporary house trailers and fraudulent assistance applications. Some of the government loans rushed out to help small businesses recover after the Sept. 11 terror attacks went instead to a radio station in South Dakota, a motorcycle shop in Utah and more than 100 Dunkin' Donuts and Subway franchises.

The Obama administration is working to prevent such stories about the stimulus bill. Governors, meanwhile, are making some tough calls.

California, for instance, is counting on at least $10 billion from the stimulus to stabilize its budget. If it comes up short, it probably will need to cut $1 billion. That decision needs to be made soon. But right now, there's no way to know for sure how much the state will get.

"There's mass confusion still at this stage," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said.

At a conference for state officials at the White House complex last week, a representative from Utah asked Obama's budget officials what data they would be required to collect from contractors. He was told to expect an answer within the next several weeks.

But the governor was preparing to sign a contract. Should he delay the project?

There were more questions than answers at the conference, where representatives from 49 states assembled to learn more about the stimulus money. Idaho is restricting travel by state employees and didn't send anyone.

Why haven't the feds produced a comprehensive list of deadlines and rules? What did Congress mean by "permanent" when it ordered permanent changes to state unemployment insurance? Will all federal agencies collect the same data or will each agency set its own rules?

And how, exactly, are states supposed to track and report all this spending when there's no money in the law for tracking or auditing?

Deputy Controller Danny Werfel spent the day alternating between fielding such questions and pacing the hallways with his cell phone, trying to get answers.

Werfel is one of many Obama budget officials trying, in a matter of days, to reinvent a Byzantine federal spending process.

"Everybody would like more specifics. But they're giving us as many specifics as they can," said Pamela Walsh, deputy chief of staff to New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch. "Nobody has more sympathy for what they're trying to do than a bunch of people who are trying to do the same thing at the local level."

William Newton, Alabama's deputy finance director, said he was surprised that the Obama administration was struggling as much as states to make sense of the new law.

"We've been looking at this from our state's point of view. But now I realize they're getting calls from 49 other states and they don't have answers," Newton said.

Even the watchdogs have new roles. Earl Devaney, the chief auditor overseeing the stimulus spending, said he can't be a traditional inspector general who roots out and exposes fraud. He has to prevent it.

Devaney and other watchdogs said they need to hire new investigators. Some agencies are recruiting auditors out of retirement. Ideally, Devaney said, he would have started working on this a year ago. Instead, he's had about three weeks.

"I'm very concerned," Devaney told state leaders. "But we're going to try to do everything possible to help you."

Most governors are willing to give the Obama administration time to figure out the details, said John Thomasian of the National Governors Association, who hosted a conference call last week for governors' staffs to discuss working through these problems.

"There's a recognition that everyone is trying to do it well and we're all in the position of trying to make this work," Thomasian said. "Frustration will surface if these questions have not been answered in a few months."

Months? I thought this was supposed to happen quickly. Imagine my surprise.


Oh, I did want to add to the last post...What a clusterfuck!

Lou said...

Those governors who dare question the competency of this administration or who attempt to turn down the "spending bill" money will be targeted in the media by well placed defamatory adds as Mark Sanford has faced in SC. It seems Obama is attempting to strong-arm everyone from the congress to the states. Was it not Bush just a short year ago who was supposedly attempting to increase the power of the Executive Branch?

His worst move to date just came out this week. Forcing veterans personal insurance companies to pay for medical treatment for injuries incurred on the battlefield. That is about as low as it gets and he still has 3+ years.

csm said...

Well, this post was not about the stimulus package, it was about some nattering talking heads (mostly on Fox) equating taxes with socialism.

It does seem that everybody wants to talk about the stimulus, which is fine.

It is complicated - probably moreso than it needs to be. I still hold out the hope that it will be a long-term positive.

Lou said...

You obviously have never watched Fox news. I have seen that phenomena quite a bit from the Fox haters. They criticize remarks that are never made. It is a positive they are there since they are one of the few willing to criticize our new American Idol.
Nobody is equating taxes only with socialism. Its the entire package & philosophy put up by this administration. In the long run, our grandchildren will be cussing Obama and this generation and rightfully so. Running up massive debt never improves anything.


Hopefully, your grandchildren(any grandchildren, for that matter) won't be watching Fox News.

csm said...

Actually Lou, I do watch Fox News. It often makes my skin crawl, but I watch it. I travel quite a bit for my job, and I will switch on Fox to see what the right wing nutjobs are up to. Usually, O'Reilly and Hannity are just ugly, and Glen Beck is a mewling little pussy...

Of course, I do not watch it all the time. I also watch CNN (which seems to be confused) and MSNBC (which is left-leaning).


So the President wants to have his Treasury Secretary have the power to take over any troubled company deemed "too big to fail" so that the taxpayers(you have to wonder when Washington is worried about taxpayers)won't be on the hook for the bailout. Hmmm.

That wouldn't be a problem if we don't bail them out, no?

Also, when was the last time any of you have heard the Federal Trade Commission's Anti-Trust Division mentioned in a news story? Maybe that is the reason we have companies "too big to fail".

There is nothing going on here which deters me from the feeling this is just one big powergrab. Nothing.

Lou said...

This is nothing short than this administration taking the biggest dump on the constitution in American history. Obama actually has Turbo tax in front on congress trying to take control of the whole economy.

I don't understand the hesitation. Just because they can't even handle AIG or read is no reason to hesitate. Even Central America is asking for a bail-out. This is the funniest and the saddest thing I have seen in my lifetime.

csm said...

I understand that you are against everything the Obama administration is doing, Lou, but I am having trouble making sense of your comment. Turbo tax? Can't read? What are you referring to?

Lou said...

No CSM, you miss the point. I am against the government dumping on the constitution by taking over the economy, attacking personal citizens who disagree with them and attempting to manage every major program they possibly can. Small Federal government was what Jefferson and the rest intended for our nation. Jefferson went as far to say Indian government would be ideal. I didn't mention, attempting to run over state governments to gain more power.

Turbo Tax refers to Timmy on the hill begging for more authority. I guess it could refer to half his cabinet who failed to pay their taxes. Reign in Obama and his court and I'll have some good things to say.


Hey, Lou, I don't think you were posting here when I recommended this book before, but I think you would find it very interesting, "The Cult of the Presidency" by Gene Healy. The office of President today is far from what the Founders envisioned; this book lays out this argument beautifully.

Ceroill said...

Bawdy, very true. Then again the country as a whole is far from what they envisioned.

Lou said...

Thanks Bawdyscot I'll check into that. I've been reading a very good biography on Jefferson's personal writings. It has been enlightening and entertaining. He would be very disappointed that we the people have stood back and watched Obama attempt to become a monarch with these marxist policies.

I saw today the government has forced the GM CEO to step down. This is getting WAY out of hand.



I walk with you only to a certain point. George W. was as culpable for our situation Constitutionally as the current occupant of the White House. In fact, it goes back to the Progressives of the early part of the 1900's, Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. The problem lies with the fact we, as citizens, expect the President to solve all of our problems which forces the President to expand his powers otherwise he wouldn't get elected in the first place.

Federal government policy was always supposed to run through the Congress, the deliberative body, not the Presidency. The President was just supposed to execute the policy proscribed by Congress. Congress is just as culpable as they have abdicated their responsibility to us decades ago.

Lou said...

George Bush, you are correct was guilty of overstepping his authority just as most presidents have in the past. Bush declared war on Iraq, terrorist and Osama Bin Laden.

Obama has declared war on capitalism, CEOs and big corporations. The people who provide jobs and invest in our nation. In just a few months he has already eclipsed what any other president has ever attempted to do. He has painted profits as bad and rich as greedy merchants. Politicians calling CEOs greedy. Wow!

He can't even fill his own cabinet but we want him running the economy, GIG and the automotive industry? It doesn't instill in confidence for me.


You seem to forget that Bush started this whole bailout mess. Henry Paulsen, anyone?

G said...

To be precise, I think it would be the congress that started this bailout mess... signed by Bush, of course.

G said...

Back to the original intent of this thread, I think that fascism (in its technical definition) would be more accurate than socialism.


Does anyone here think about what we would be talking about if the housing market hadn't tanked?

I have posted before we had a bubble(and we sure saw it in Phoenix). Nobody knows when a bubble will burst; no investor is a seer with perfect vision as to what will happen next. I am not covering for the financial institutions(they got their market just desserts) which piled on the profits(each of us with a 401k was pulling for this to keep going too), but to blame them for something the government didn't find much fault with at the time is plain asinine. The government had plenty of opportunity to keep this bubble from getting as big as it did. I saw home prices here get ridiculous and had a pretty good idea it would end badly. Why didn't our elected officals, who are supposed to care about us so fucking much, say anything? Could it have been the lobbyist's money was obscuring their view of things? Has anyone else heard Obama was the biggest winner in AIG's election largesse(Fox News had to have mentioned it a time or fifty(I heard it on NPR))?

I was listening to Barney Frank this morning on NPR and the fuck was so self righteous, but this was a guy who fell all over himself in his defense of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Before the bubble popped, I am sure he was congratulating himself because the lower middle class and even some working poor were getting the American Dream, a home of their own.

This is why I hate Washington so much. And now they think they can run auto manufacturers better than private hands. Will this ego massage at our expense ever end?

This economy will get better. It will get better in spite of what Washington does. The nightmare will begin when Washington takes credit for the recovery and extends this powergrab as far as the eye can see. This morph will make facism, socialism and communism seem like child's play when you consider the immense size of our economy.

G said...

Speaking of fascism, I just got this article on my RSS feed. Some may find it interesting:

The Orange Grove: Wonder what fascism looks like?

Lou said...

Oh yes, I remember that Bush and the D congress started the whole thing. I also remember Obama preaching CHANGE among other things.

This is not I hand in mind. As for Frank, he just got re-elected. Maybe we need to turn his district in to a prison for the Gitmo detainees.

Frank is the one that should be under indictment and Obama should be investigated with this whole AIG/Freddie-Fannie mess. Money & power are like clorox and ammonia. Mix them at your own risk.

coreydbarbarian said...

wow, lou, that was an awesome april fools day joke.


Actually, Bush started it all by himself with the arranged buyout of Bears Stearns. Congress had nothing to do with that, as much as I detest Congress(no matter whether Republican of Democrat).

lOU said...

30 billion is hardly a whiz in the ocean compared to what is going on today. I do agree, what Bush did was unconstitutional and calls for impeachment where going up and rightly so.
Where is the calls for impeachment today? Where is the change we were promised? This guy is just more Bush.

European fascism is on the way and unless we can get to 2010 and get some Rs in there to block Oboy we are in for some hard times.

Lou said...

That was Lou, sorry


We don't need no stinkin' R's in Congress. We need Statesmen, dammit!

The R's had the reins of Congress from '94 through the election of 2006. In the beginning they had some good ideas and started to implement them along with a centrist President(anyone here for awhile knows my opinion of Clinton, an extremely lucky President, but no great shakes). But all it takes is some time in Washington with lobbyists telling you how great you are and you revert to the crap our beloved institution has been pumping out for decades.

Our federal government was mandated to protect the Union and, more importantly, to protect our hard won civil rights. These are the only Constitutionally-mandated areas the federal government was to function in. If this had stayed the view of Washington, Congress would only be in session a couple of months a year, citizens would be closer to the bed of real power(the states) and anyone(anything) who wanted to take advantage of our citizenry(those evil corporations and the like, ooooooh) would have to deal with 50 states(which would be easier for citizens to monitor, closer to home ya' know) instead of one single source where all the money and power flows.

So in my opinion, if the politician has a D or R after their name, I hold them in the same contempt, as they are usually more beholden to their respective Party than the Union as a whole.

To break out me old saw...

We don't need Democrats. We don't need Republicans. We need Statesmen. And this has never been truer than now.

G said...

As things continue to progress with this new administration, am I the only one with song lyrics from my younger days going through my head like:

"America, land of the free... free to the power of the people in uniform"


"Now it's 1984. Knock-knock at your front door..."


Yeah, I am scared as hell about what is going on and on and on...

Lou said...


Statesman is a great ideal but just not realistic. How far back do you have to go to point out a statesman? There are few and not enough to stop this power grab.

I'm trying to be realistic. Remove absolute power from the hands of kid in a candy store. We can move on from there. You have to put out the fire before you can rebuild the house.


Remove the absolute power of the kid in the candy store by relying on Republicans is being realistic? Republicans are part of the problem, not the answer.

Lou said...

So you believe it is better for D to have all the power and to run carte blanche through DC?

Well, I disagree. I would rather have one party strong enough to check the other. For that to happen, we need a few more of the R.

Good luck with the statesman approach. As much as I like the concept, its just not going to happen. Men are driven too much by greed and power. The best we can hope for is to limit the power and take away anything to get greedy about. You do that with term limits.

I think this site is going dead.


No, you do that by reverting the power back to the states, all 50 of them, mainly because the temptation of power and greed is so much greater when concentrated in one place(the Founders knew this).

And I love how people screw with the words I right. How could you think I would like to see the Dems hold all the power?

I have posted before gridlock at the federal level is the best we can get at this point, because when the hands of the feds are tied the federal government gets nothing done.

Now I have a question for you, Lou. When Bush was in power and the Reps had Congress, were you railing against the Reps because of THEIR abuse of power? I was.

Lou said...

"How could you think I would like to see the Dems hold all the power?"

Because as a realist I see only two parties that can have any power. R and D. The law is written to make it almost impossible for another party to gain power. You didn't want to vote in R. That leaves D with all the power. Thats just the way it works like it or not.

Like I stated. I like your ideas, give states back their power, put in statesman, etc but how do you see it happening? Has the American people shown a willingness to take their vote seriously? Do you think Feds will give up power? Outside a revolution this is the best you will get. Work with it.

And yes, I was angry at Bush as well but he is not in power now so why bring him up? I thought that was as bad as it could get. I was dead wrong.