Let the Democrats Remember: The Wealth of the Nation Doesn't Come from Yachts

Categories: Schutze

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Pins and needles, waiting for the Democrats to open in Charlotte. I am so worried the Obama campaign might stumble on an editorial from The Dallas Morning News and actually read it. Well, not that worried. That would take a lot of stumbling.

But what a shame if they did take the News' consistent editorial line -- or the same line from someone else -- as any kind of serious advice to be weighed. Again Saturday the News repeated its numbingly monotonous mantra to the effect that Obama needs to sound more like a Republican.

Yeah, and maybe we should all just tape our billfolds to our asses so they won't have to actually reach into our pockets.

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Despite why you might have heard, this is not George Washington.
The whole danger and disappointment of early Obama was that he kept looking like the best Republican the Democrats ever elected. Gun control, Guantanamo, invasion of privacy, habeas: I've lost track of all the smaller bones he tossed them. But the big one -- the backbone itself -- was too big to fail.

The entire thrust of the early years seemed to be about bailing out Wall Street and making sure no cockroach bankers ever got sent to the Big Motel. In total it was a tacit concession to the Koch brothers, who insist that we had all better keep the super-rich fat and sassy or they might just take back the money supply and keep it on their yachts.

We talked here last March about the growing body of evidence proving what a joke the whole Republican "Laffer Curve" dogma has turned out to be when put to the test of time. I'm talking about the idea that the best way to create prosperity is to slash taxes on rich people.

We've tried that. Since the 1950s top marginal tax rates in this country have been slashed to a third of what they were with no measurable boost to the economy. In fact when taxes go up, as they did under Clinton, we pay off deficits and the economy booms.

When taxes got cut the way the Koch brothers wanted under George W., the economy tanked so hard and so deep we still haven't broken water. But at least we're headed up there.

This line about the "job creators" is the real tell. Beneath all the phony Joe-the-Plumber posing by Mitt Romney (puhleeeze), the job-creator line may be the one bit of truth to emerge from the Republican campaign. They truly believe that wealth, innovation and the ultimate security of the nation all come from the yachts. If the yachts sail away, we're all going to drown.

That's not a mentality President Obama should contemplate or compromise with for a moment or an iota. It's not sideways. It's upside down. It's the opposite of our history and our national destiny. It's not even American. It's more 19th century European.

This country was built by tree-chopping farmers, school teachers, printers, drafted G.I.'s, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and Bill Gates, not by plutocrats who think they have the right to bestow or withhold our prosperity like a dog treat.

I am sitting here with my fingers crossed hoping the Democrats will explode out of Charlotte with a battle cry, a call to take back our country from the European-style oligarchs who have subverted and corrupted it over the last 15 years. I'm proud of America. I want it back.


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53 comments
ceepee
ceepee

Hmm... And all this time I thought our country was Founded by people who really were aristocrats over in jolly old England. In fact, wasn't the "New World" an English colony, and weren't only aristocrats allowed to come here? With their slaves?

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Yep It's all the Republicans fault or all the Democrats fault; it's just so simple

1 -Did banks force people to take out loans they could not pay back, or did people do so voluntarily?2- Who elects congress? 3- Do people make enough effort to understand interest rates, debt, the economic policies of politicians, exponential math and its implications, the untenable nature of public union pension plans and promises?4- Do a significant number of people (if not the majority) get their economic views (assuming they have any economic views) from The View, Oprah, The Talk, or CNBC?

 

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

Capitalism would be so great if the capitalists would just sober up once in a  while.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Bush left office with the DOW at 7,949.  It's nearly doubled under Obama.

 

Bush left office with two wars raging.  Obama ended the Iraq war and is ending the Afghan war.

 

Bush left office with a massive deficit after being handed a surplus by the Democrats and Clinton.

 

Bush left office with a GDP rate of NEGATIVE 6.7%  Obama turned that around.

 

Bush left office with a surging unemployment rate.  Obama turned that around.

 

Bush gave up on getting the terrorists.  Obama did the job.

 

Are we better off now?  YES!

 

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Jan 2009 to Jan 2011 -- the Democrats have complete control over the legislative and executive branches.  They could have passed anything they wanted.  What did they do? 

 

Handed out paltry $400 credit to everyone (bread) and passed a medical insurance takeover that no one likes, conservative or liberal (circus).  Oh, and shoveled billions on billions in graft to its bundlers like Solyndra and Duke Energy and dozens if not hundreds of others -- and all with deficit spending.

 

Obama's problem isn't which promises he makes.  His problem is that it doesn't matter, because he won't keep them either way.  He has a record to run on now, and he can't.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

Folks, in 2000 the Congressional Budget Office predicted that the decade to come would produce a federal budget surplus of $5.6 trillion with Clinton-era policies in place. At the end of the decade with Bush/Koch Brothers policies in place, the record for the decade was a $6.1 trillion deficit.  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/41463

The record doesn't lie. Bush/Koch/Republican policies are so ruinous for the nation, we have to wonder if it's deliberate. 

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

Does it matter what Obama says, given that every statement has an expiration date? The convention theme is "Forward", so we can expect lots of discussions about Romey's multiple felonies and the fact that Ryan is a Nazi.

Ewafe
Ewafe

Wow how much money does the Observer waste paying you to post this lame drivel?  Do you get some payola from the DNC to write this junk?

PerryMoore
PerryMoore

Ah, the great tradition that is political journalism. Mr. Schutze paints the picture of rich Republicans on one side of the rope and working class Democrats on the other side, locked in a great ideological tug-of-war. The other side sees working Republicans on one side and welfare Democrats on the other. I see politicians on both sides of the rope, which is wrapped around the neck of the working class.

James080
James080

Obama and his puppet Eric Holder don't have the balls to prosecute Goldman-Sachs for defrauding its customers and lying to a congressional committee, let along their part in creating toxic CDO's and triggering the financial meltdown, and you blame the influence of the Koch brothers. You are so full of shit......you have officially jumped the shark. I wonder, in your mind, who intimidated our spineless president into keeping the Guantanamo prison open, renewing the Patriot Act, surging troops into Afghanistan and participating militarily in Libya?  A mind is a terrible thing to waste. A liberal mind is just a waste.

DowntownResident
DowntownResident

"Let the Democrats Remember: The Wealth of the Nation Doesn't Come from Yachts"

 

Unfortunately the campaign contributions do come from the yachts.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

So Jim, if I understand your position correctly, you are recommending that we trade the "European style oligarchs" who want to control the wealth of the Nation for the far left wing Democrats who just want to control the Nation and all of its wealth.

 

Sounds like a no - win situation for the majority of us.

 

With the federal spending approaching 1/2 of the total economy of this nation, there will no longer be anything remotely resembling free enterprise.  instead is will be a bunch of elephants in the room arguing over who gets to keep what and those of us scurrying around on the floor will have bigger problems than the exercise of free enterprise.

ceepee
ceepee

 @ceepee In fact, isn't that why we have Thanksgiving, because the aristocrats didn't understand one thing about farming and actual hard work and so they almost starved until their new Indian friends taught them the magic of corn and squash, and how to kill and de-feather all them wild turkeys? And then, being true aristocrats, turned on their new friends? Or am I getting my history wrong about the kinds of people who *really* Founded 'Merca...?

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @Sotiredofitall Hey, if an ARM was anything like what it's advertised to be, those should be smart, as interest rates never rose.   But, nothing is as it seems or as advertised, particularly when you let "Caveat emptor" rule the professional markets.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

 @JimSX We're now running a trickle down economic policy that favors big finance wall street speculation.  Remember too big to fail, well it's still to big and when it fails the next time we're really screwed

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @JimSX what we have is financialization or mercantilism; not capitalism.  High Cap gains rewards the holding of capital,  Low cap gains rewards speculation.  What we're doing beggars capital

JM64
JM64

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Sorry, Myrna but your hero DID NOT end the Iraq war. Actually, he failed at pushing the Iraqis into continuing a significant US military presence there and the withdrawal took place on the schedule that was set by PRESIDENT BUSH!.

 

I think Bush was a lousy President, but give him credit where it is due, just as I do to your hero, Obama

RTGolden
RTGolden

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Not really disagreeing, merely correcting a few minor errors.

 

Obama did not end the war in Iraq.  US troop reductions began when they were scheduled to begin.  This was in agreement between the US and Iraq long before President Obama was in office.

 

The Bush administration never gave up on hunting down Bin laden.  There were ramifications inherent in taking out Bin laden in Pakistan.  Bush did not want to face those ramifications, nor did he need to, politically.  Politically, President Obama had to face those ramifications, and he did so.  Philosophically (my philosophy anyway) Pres. Obama made the right call, the tough call, regardless of whether his motives were political or altruistic.

 

As for all that economic balderdash, if you've ever been involved in annual budgeting for a government entity, you'd know that there is no such thing as a government surplus.  The government operates on a strict budget until September 1st, at which point every budget authority within the government spends like there's no tomorrow in order to reach Sept 30th (end of fiscal year) at $0.  The reason behind this is simple: Any amount you are 'under budget' for the current year counts against your allotment for the coming year.  The government cannot 'save' money, there is no mechanism for doing so.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @JimSX Assumed office February 4, 2010 Serving with John Kerry Preceded by Paul G. Kirk

James080
James080

 @JimSX Don't you mean the "Bush/Koch/Obama policies? Because you imply in your article that the president sold out to the Koch brothers. You wrote it, you own it.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @JimSX Pray tell, did they also predict a terrorist attack exceeding five trillion dollars in damage in 2001?

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @PerryMoore You may have cross-eye. Get a check-up.

observist
observist topcommenter

 @James080 So a supposedly liberal president continued a bunch of Republican policies, therefore he's a neutered invertebrate idiot and liberals in general are a waste.   That only makes sense if you're attacking from a position somewhere to the left of "liberal".

James080
James080

 @observist Did you read the article or just skip to the comments? Place my comments in context with the statements JimS made. I have this mental picture of the Koch brothers, every liberal's current favorite target, brow beating the president into forgiving Wall Street of its malfeasance over the past decade. If Obama's supporters really believe him to be so utterly feckless, as JimS apparently does, why in hell would you support him in the coming election?

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @Sotiredofitall  @JimSX simplify, yes, lowering rates will destroy cap intensive production.  We should cap exemptions like the homeowner's tax credit, not eliminate it.  But, lower, flatter rates only helps liquidate capital, and encourages more executive squandering, more finance/debt, professional services--all of which produce nothing, and only tax the economy.  Their high incomes come at the expense of workers, and the larger economy.

 

when you want lower taxes, you want MORE taxes.  Let's raise the beneficial top marginal rates, and capital gains, and eliminate the many taxes that try to make up for the loss of tax revenue.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

 @scottindallas  @Sotiredofitall  @JimSX It's more than the tax rates, it's the bag-o-snakes tax code that allows targeted groups to avoid the rates.  Eliminate the exemptions, flatten the rates, simplify the code.  When you can not administer or understand the thousands and thousands of rules you have on the books they are too complicated to be effective.

observist
observist topcommenter

 @everlastingphelps  @JimSX The way you worded it made it sound like the $5 trillion was all for damages, and all incurred in 2001.  That's why I asked you to explain, which you did...  almost like it was a civil discussion or something.

observist
observist topcommenter

 @everlastingphelps  @JimSX  So by "$5 trillion in damages in 2001" you mean $200 billion in damages in 2001, plus all subsequent expenses related to the US response to 9/11, including the elective war in Iraq, and  veterans' healthcare projected 60+ years into the future.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @James080  @observist  @JimSX I've been on the internet 15 years, I don't expect debate.  I expect various non sequiturs and other logical fallacies, along with quite a bit of invective.

 

My comments are directed at them, but not to them.  They are directed at the 1 in 500 readers who will actually think about what is being said, and might be persuaded.

Bremarks
Bremarks

 @everlastingphelps  @observist  @JimSX

 Both of those articles include the actual cost of the Iraq War, the war that wasn't related to 9-11.  And was funded completely off budget without fund sources other than deficit spending.  The 9-11 attack didn't cost $3.3 trillion dollars.  A drummed up war to avenge Daddy Bush did.

James080
James080

 @observist You have to look at Obama's entire body of work, such as the federal take over of healthcare, expanding welfare and food stamp programs, railroading new NLRB rules so unions can coerce votes from workers one on one (or, more likely, three on one), pandering to Hispanics with a cynical two year amnesty period (100 days before the election, after deporting over a million), passing an unsustainable expansion of medicaid and coercing states to buy in. I can go on and on. And lets be clear, the right wingers in the Republican party are just a bad as the liberals in the Democrat party. Problem is, its tough to find a moderate in either party.

observist
observist topcommenter

If Obama has maintained so many Republican policies, it contradicts your assertion that he's clearly a liberal.  And if the Republican policies he's maintained are so bad, it contradicts the assertion that voting Republican is a better option - especially if you're concerned about Wall Street malfeasance.  Do you think Romney would come into office and crack down on Wall Street?

 

(I realize you didn't explicitly state anything pro-Republican, but when someone says "a liberal mind is a waste" it's generally safe to assume they're not going to be voting Democrat, leaving the options Republican, or protest vote to try to pull the Republicans farther right.)

 

 

James080
James080

 @observist Coy? Not so. Obama is clearly a liberal. Republicans clearly have some stupid policies. Clear?

observist
observist topcommenter

 @James080  You're criticizing Obama for implementing Republican policies.  Are Republican policies stupid, or is Obama not liberal?  Which is it?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

 @Bremarks  @observist The Brits have a very schizoid approach to economics ... at one point they complain about the welfare state and then are leary of private property ownership.

 

They will extol the High Street shopkeeper and then demand cradle to grave security from the state.

 

The problem with the mines was that the central government was subsidizing the production of coal in order to keep the miners employed.  Additionally there were work rules that would make the instances of featherbedding seen here in the States look absolutely reasonable.

 

Then there is the British bureaucracy ... the best way to understand this is to watch the "Gas Cooker Sketch" by Monty Python.

Bremarks
Bremarks

 @observist  @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul

 Actually, Margaret Thatcher was only a conservative when it came to coal miners and the Soviet Union.  She was a strong believer in centralized (London) government and weak local authority.  And she loved the National Health Service. Today's Tea Partiers would consider her a raging socialist.  Source: Simon Jenkins' A Short History of England:  The Glorious Story of a Rowdy Nation.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

 @observist No, my idea of the far left is a government which through regulation and law controls all aspects of commerce and decided for me what I should do.

 

As far as Nixon who was responsible for the EPA and the CAA, don't forget that we had headlines for Love Canal and the Cuyahoga River catching on fire.

 

Nixon was quite far to the right.  His proposed national healthcare was an outgrowth of Johnson's Medicare and Medicaid plans which were intended originally only for the indigent.

 

Comparisons to communist era Russia don't count as it was not a representative democracy, but rather an oligarchy not much different from the absolute power of the last Tsar, Nicholas II.

 

I would compare a far left American government more to the Labor Government in the UK in the post WWII era.  Although one must take into account the fact that the UK was pretty much devastated in basic infrastructure, industrial output and loss of a significant amount of its workforce from WWII military deaths and injuries.

 

As far as health insurance exchanges go, please explain why when one of my doctor's practices was bought out by a hospital, the costs for certain in  office procedures went up by 4X yet I still go to the same location and have the tests run by the same people.  Also explain why I had an ER visit and the total hospital bill was ~$2,750 and the hospital gladly accepted a grand total of $850?

 

Cap and trade is actually a well thought our market place mechanism that has been successful in reducing the overall emission levels of certain air pollutants, most notably NOX and SOX.

observist
observist topcommenter

 @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  Starting with Obama, moving slightly to the left you'll find Richard Nixon, who instituted the EPA and proposed nationalized health insurance.  Moving farther left, you'll run into the pre-Thatcher UK, which, despite with various nationalized industries and healthcare was one of our staunchest allies against the still-farther-left Soviet Union.

 

If your idea of "far left" is health insurance exchanges and cap-and-trade, then you've lost perspective entirely.

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