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Political Reality Redacted

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  • Political Reality Redacted

    Political Reality Redacted

    Several months ago I watched Joe Hough, President of the Faculty and William E. Dodge Professor of Social Ethics at the Union Theological Seminary, speak on Bill Moyers "Now" and I was immediately impressed by both his passion as well as the following statement that he made:

    HOUGH: The growing gap between the rich and the poor which has become almost obscene by anybody's standards, and the stated intentional policy of bankrupting the government so that in the future there'll be no money for anything the federal government would decide to do.

    Now some of you may be thinking that the above statement is somewhat extreme, and I used to wonder about that myself. But the statement haunted me. The reality is that some of what our current government is doing only makes sense if you consider "bankrupting the government" their actual goal. Have they not reduced taxes for the top 1%? Have they not also run a record deficit? When is a tax cut not a tax cut? When you run a deficit.

    The bottom line is that it seems to be okay to run a deficit paying off federal war contracts to Halliburton, but god forbid they should run a deficit supporting job creation programs. And you'll forgive me if I don't consider the expansion of our military "true" job creation.

    So what are they really doing? Why are they doing it? You have to ask those questions because it would be a mistake to assume that anyone, esp. an apparent imbecile like Bush, acts without purpose. The appearance of the dolt just might be the mask of a sly con man.

    So who has the answers? There's this one guy that has it completely nailed. His stuff is so savvy, so on point that it is frankly scary in it's simplicity and clarity. So don't hesitate - go read it. If you can't handle it all at once, pace yourself - but read it, all of it. It's just four pages: two long, two short. And the rest of the site is excellent too if you still need more.





    What's all this about in a few short sentences?

    Labor is the true engine of any economy, wealth is not (it is the mere distribution of the results of labor). A boom economy benefits anyone that works for a living because labor is then scarce and labor is valued more highly. Those at the top require cheap labor to maximize their profits - so they hate boom economies. Everything our government is doing right now is intended to devalue labor. The unequal distribution of vast amounts of wealth into the hands of non-laborers makes democracy almost impossible (which is why the founders favored limits on almost everything that concentrated wealth into too few hands).

    Let it sit with you a while and you will begin to realize that it explains everything from bad schools, prisons as a growth industry, the offshoring of jobs, etc.

    When you are near the economic edge - you are owned. They own you where you work. They own you when you pay your bills. They own your children's bodies for the purposes of warfare.

    When will you start taking what is yours back again?

  • #2
    RIGHT ON, Foozle! I've been preaching the gospel of the Conceptual Guerilla for a while now. Good stuff, indeed.

    And I anxiously await some intelligent rebuttal from our illustrious conservatives on the things he says. Can't wait to see what kind of spin can be put on such plain and simple reasoning.

    People, keep trying if the links fail. The Conceptual Guerilla's site is pretty popular right now, so his bandwidth might be stretched thin from time to time. But keep at it; it's worth the read!
    "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
    --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars


    • #3
      Marx may yet have the last word. He, of course, famously said that labor, rather that capital, was the real engine of capitalism.

      I re-read the Communist Manifesto for class purposes, and i was struck by how timely some of the basic arguments were. I may have very large problems with the details, but the basic message resonated well.


      • #4
        To me, it seems that there has been a strange reversal in politicians' emphasis on economical responsibility. Maybe it has been more clear here in Denmark than in the US, but I think one can see traces of it in several Western countries.

        In the 1970'es, Denmark had a Social Democrat government than ran a huge deficit on the state's finances. Everyone can probably see that a country can't keep on doing that forever, and it was the one hard-hitting argument the rightish parties, Venstre (liberals) and Det Konservative Folkeparti (the conservative people's party) had against that government. And, I like to think, the main reason that the voters discarded that government. The 1980'es ensued, with a government headed by the conservatives who got finances back on track. The Social Democrats learned from this, and when they got back to power for the 1990'es, they continued the line of a sound econonic policy, and actually did better than the conservatives had in reducing the national debt.

        Seemingly, the poltical tides turn here for each decade, and the right wing is now back in power, albeit led by the liberals this time. And although we're not back to a deficit on the state finances, they're clearly taking the responsibility of making ends meet somewhat lighter than the Social Democrats did in the 90'es.

        Economical responsibility used to be one of the keywords for the right wing, but they're seeming ever more ready to send on the bill for their escapades on to the coming generations. What happened?
        "If the environment were a bank, we would already have saved it." -Graffitti.


        • #5
          An ownership society values responsibility, liberty, and property. Individuals are empowered by freeing them from dependence on government handouts and making them owners instead, in control of their own lives and destinies. In the ownership society, patients control their own health care, parents control their own children's education, and workers control their retirement savings.

          Most western nations have socialized medicine and pension plans, free education, and a whole host of other assistance. Be very afraid when they start talking about the ownership society that does away with all of those obvious benefits of our free society. Your neck is being measured for a collar attached to a chain - what they want to own in the "ownership society" is you! You are their intended cheap labor wage-slave.

          Let's try this another way:
          Can you afford to send your kids to private schools?
          Can you afford to pay for medical bills out of pocket?
          How much are you currently socking away for retirement?

          Cutting taxes sounds great up front; and then you find out that the programs they want to cut effect you the most. They aren't going to cut the $0.50 of every tax collected dollar that goes to the military or to paying off the national debt. They just want to cut your benefits.

          They want to abolish estate taxes, dividend taxes, and capital gains taxes. Property taxes are continually under attack (because you know how it is - the more real estate you own the more you pay in property taxes). Instead of a hefty luxury tax for buying $50,000 Hummers, they get a tax break of $38,000.

          The only thing they don't have any problem taxing is labor!

          Notice anything interesting about that set up? Owners and investors pay little or nothing. Wage earners pay continually. That's what they'd like to see. That's actually part of the stated agenda and I am sure that you've heard it.

          If you work for a living - and most of us wage earning middle-class americans do - why in the world would you ever vote for a party that would support that absurd social and tax cutting agenda?

          Let's try this another way:
          Are you now or will you soon be able to retire and live entirely off of your investments?
          Or must you labor every day to meet your financial goals?

          And finally, this simple question:
          Shouldn't investors and owners pay taxes just like you do?


          • #6
            Foozle, please go back and read the 100's of posts here, so I don't have to repeat myself in contradicting some of your more nonsensical parts. I am tired of repeating myself.

            But, as an aside, isn't it FUN blaming "them" and "The Man" for all the world's ills? :lol:


            • #7
              Jim Hightower on "Fixing" Social Security:

              B. S. ALERT, B. S. ALERT! Of all government programs - including the bloated, fraud-ridden Pentagon - Social Security is least in need of fixing. It's the most efficient program we have, requiring a mere one-percent of its total budget for administrative costs. And even the political mechanics who want to mess with the program admit that Social Security is perfectly sound and capable of paying full benefits to future retirees through at least 2042. What insurance company or bank can make that claim? And with only minor adjustment, the system is solid through 2075 - long after most of today's "fixers" will be dead.

              There is one fix, however, that would guarantee the soundness of Social Security in perpetuity: Raise the current $88,000 income cap so that the salaries, bonuses, stock gains, and other wealth of the elites are also subject to Social Security taxes - rather than keeping the burden solely on the wages of low-income and middle-class working folks.

              Please observe that we make exemptions for people BELOW a certain income level - but that's because they are practically starving. Why should there be an exemption at the top when that person is in the lap of luxury? See, that's the result of greed and successful lobbying.

              But where are your lobbyists? Why aren't your interests being properly represented by the people you elect into office? Are you voting for the right people?

              And finally, this simple questions:
              Shouldn't those at the top pay taxes just like you do?


              • #8
                Not too easy to search this place, sorry. Make your points or concede to the opposition.


                • #9
                  "And finally, this simple questions:
                  Shouldn't those at the top pay taxes just like you do?"

                  Good thing they do!!

                  "Not too easy to search this place, sorry. Make your points or concede to the opposition."

                  Ignorance is no excuse; I concede nothing, at least on this issue. Of course, this attitude explains a lot about your position. Even a cursory amount of research would refute most of your points (and again, it is all here already; i made the effort to put it here once; as I have said repeatedly, comes a time when you have to take a little responsibility).

                  See my poinit, Psychic and Adlerian?? I'm wrong and I have to concede because this person is too lazy to look at material that is already available? True, we're not talking life and death here, but given a choice of remaining in the dark or doing a modicum of research, this person chooses to remain in the dark. You don't think there is at least a reasonable percentage of people that, when faced with a free handout or working 40 (or more) hours a week aren't going to take the freebie??

                  Human nature?


                  • #10
                    Put up or shut up.

                    Other people have already refuted this assertion of yours that you have already addressed the subject matter. You have not.

                    The fact that you have no arguments to make is more telling than anything I could say about it.


                    • #11
                      "Put up or shut up."

                      Hey troll. No dice. The arguments are here. Whether they sway the liberals in the audience, that is hardly to be expected and if they don't, it is hardly a basis for dismissal.

                      "The fact that you have no arguments to make is more telling than anything I could say about it."

                      The arguments are here. I have plenty. Almost 1000 posts worth. There are several here, including Doc, Psychic, the host himself, who will disagree with my point of view, possibly vehemently, but will concede that it is not up for debate that the argument is in many cases consistent and valid. Quite frankly, you haven't gotten a direct reponse not becuase I don't have one, but becuase your "elitism" nonsense has already been put forth, marginally better, by Theadlerian before you and Krunky before him. So while you think it novel and fresh, it is as stale as used socks.

                      And by the way, your "search" excuse is lame-o. You can view the last x number of posts from a poster. Most of mine are political in nature, so there won't be a lot of other stuff to wade through. Failing that, you can look at the two "Current Events" threads under the Q&A, or the four or so active threads under "Political Pressures".


                      • #12
                        Then let me put it another way:

                        I am not going to argue your side for you by wading through dozens of previous messages to pick and choose your possibly strongest arguments. It would be idiotic to do so and I don't think it says much for your side of it for having suggested it. I might as well go play a game of chess by myself.

                        Furthermore, I doubt you have made precise enough statements to suit the purposes of this thread - that's why you either must respond or simply retire from this thread. I don't care either way.

                        The assertion that you have answered to the subject matter that I have raised in this thread doesn't wash with me. Present your arguments or concede - I am willing to accept your refusal to answer to the issues as a simple refusal to do so. I am willing to accept that you think you have suitable responses even if you decline to state them.

                        But if you won't state your case, no one will then know what you might have argued. It would certainly be unfair for the rest of us to have to pretend as if you did actually argue your points when you haven't. I sure won't.



                        • #13
                          "Forbes 400 Richest Americans: They Didn't Do It Alone"

                          In fact, says Responsible Wealth, everyone on the Forbes 400 owes their wealth partly to a taxpayer-financed inheritance of public research and contracts; public schools and universities; communications, transportation and other critical infrastructure, and myriad government institutions from the Federal Reserve and the courts to the Treasury, Defense and Commerce Departments.

                          "It takes a village to raise a billionaire. Every taxpayer deserves some credit for Forbes 400 wealth," says Mike Lapham, co-director of Responsible Wealth. "Yet while the Forbes 400 richest Americans are doing better this year ? their collective wealth rose $45 billion since 2003 ? the average taxpayer is not. Median household income fell for the fourth year in a row last year."

                          Billionaires Warren Buffett, Ross Perot and Google's Larry Page illustrate the myth of the "self-made" label. They are all featured in Responsible Wealth's report, "I Didn't Do It Alone: Society's Contribution to Individual Wealth and Success."

                          Warren Buffett, No. 2 on the Forbes 400, attended a publicly supported state school, the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, and is quite clear that his investment wealth depends on America's social and economic infrastructure. "I personally think that society is responsible for a very significant percentage of what I've earned," said Buffett. "I happen to work in a market system that happens to reward what I do very well ? disproportionately well."