Exactly What High Taxes?

Once again we head for the parallel universe!
The Tea Party Express Tour, starring Sarah Palin, is heading for downtown Richmond tonight. From 6:30 to 8 p.m., the “Taxed Enough Already” crowd will sling their bile at Big Government, Liberals and Big Taxes. They will flap their rattlesnake “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and call for an end to Barack Obama “socialism” and the huge taxes he is bringing.
Meanwhile, back on the home front, your faithful blogger of Gooze Views is quietly awaiting for his federal income tax return, despite the fact that 2009 was not exactly one of his greatest years, income-wise. We managed to pay our mortgages on time and balance other debt. But it was pretty bad. One wonders why, if all the hysteria is to be believed, why I wasn’t hung out to dry, tax-wise.
It turns out that a lot of Americans are wondering the same thing. According to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Americans have actually been paying less income tax, in fact, dramatically less.
The average federal income tax rate for a median-income family of four (which pretty much defines us) reached its peak of about 12 percent during the worst stagflation years in the late 1970s. It dropped under the Reagan Revolution to about 8.5 percent before plateauing at that level as Reagan’s Big Government spending, mostly for defense, finally caught up with the taxpayers. Then, under Democrat Bill Clinton, it really tumbled to about 5.5 percent. George W. Bush say an uptick before his tax cuts kicked in to the 4 to 5 percent level.
Tax credits of $800 for married joint filers under Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and other cuts will make the average American family pay about 4.6 percent in 2009. That’s about the lowest rate since 1955, according to the Center.
To be sure, payroll taxes are up and it is uncertain how much taxes will spike as more deficit spending bills come due. I am sure My Dear Baconaughts will have a field day pushing this particular idea, especially the Big Bacon Himself who believes his new Boomergeddon religion.
Whatever. I can’t predict the future as well as some of you all can. But I due wonder what the Teabaggers and Sarah Palin are doing out there wailing about excessive taxes when the rates are the lowest they have been since 1955, if you believe the Center.
Are we in a parallel universe? What was that big light in the sky over Iowa and Wisconsin and the big boom anyway? Maybe aliens have something to do with it.
Peter Galuszka

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109 responses to “Exactly What High Taxes?”

  1. Shaun Kenney Avatar
    Shaun Kenney

    So just to be clear — Americans have become more productive, more wealthy, more successful, and more prosperous since 1955.

    …and for this reason, they should be taxed more? That doesn't quite sound right. Mind trying this again?

  2. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Peter, the "average" tax is a meaningless number. And remember, that's the average for the "median" family, which, by definition, means 50% pay more and 50% pay less. New numbers show that 47% of all households pay NO federal income tax whatsoever — zero, nada. So, virtually everyone under the median pays nothing. They aren't the ones with the problem — it's the people over the median who carry the big load.

    As an analysis of the burden of taxation, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities sounds less than worthless.

  3. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Jim,
    Whoa, that's the fastest diss alive! My point is how the Teabaggers can say there are excessive taxers when — even by your admission — the tax burden on average Americans is not substantial. Are you telling me that such a point of view is irrelevant? ARe you saying that the 47 perent of households that pay no taxes should pay them? Don't tell me (gasp) that you are advocating tax hikes! Or, are your concerns related nly to the well-to-do?

    Peter Galuszka

  4. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Political calculations has a nice table showing the taxes for 176 nations and the tax rate as related to per capita GDP.

    The US in not particularly highon the list and most of the places lower on the list are places you wouldn't want to visit, let alone live.

    Anyway, if the American people have become more productive and more prosperous is ther eany reason why American government shouldn't be more prosperous as well?

    Assuming that government productivity is up to par, that is.

    If we are so much better off, what is the point of holding government down< unless you are conviced that government NEvER does nay good.

    RH

  5. Larry G Avatar

    from the tea party/no mo tax folks – it's the fact that there are taxes that riles them up.

    If actual facts can be misrepresented effectively – so much the better for the anti-tax cause!

    A recent survey of Tea Party folks on what the current tax rate is and how much people pay on average revealed abject ignorance of the facts … what a surprise!

    Don't get me wrong.

    I am in the corner of those who say that government is a voracious hungry beast when it comes to wanting more money.

    Even at the local level sometimes, we hear them talking about "responsibly funding" something – code for "we aint taxing you enough yet".

    but at the least – the most ardent of the anti-tax folks ought to have the facts.

    HOWEVER – I DIGRESS…

    I've heard that now that we have such a nice deficit – courtesy of 8 years of rule from the neocon tax & spenders, that we're probably headed inevitably toward a national VAT tax.

    I thought I'd throw that in to rattle the anti-tax cage…

  6. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    the study cited limits taxes to "federal income tax" only. Just because you don't pay income taxes doesn't mean you aren't paying any taxes at all.

    some common tax liabilities for individuals:
    federal income tax
    state income tax
    property taxes
    real estate taxes
    sales tax
    meal tax
    admissions taxes
    professional license tax

    -jason

  7. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Ranking the World's Individual Tax Burdens by Nation

    http://politicalcalculations.blogspot.com/

    Taxes per Person

    Some pundits, reflecting on the looming U.S. budget deficits, claim that Americans are vastly undertaxed compared with other major nations. I was wondering, to what extent is that true?

    The most common metric for answering this question is taxes as a percentage of GDP. However, high tax rates tend to depress GDP. Looking at taxes as a percentage of GDP may mislead us into thinking we can increase tax revenue more than we actually can. For some purposes, a better statistic may be taxes per person, which we can compute using this piece of advanced mathematics:

    Taxes/GDP x GDP/Person = Taxes/Person

    GReg Mankiw

    The political calculations table is sortable for 176 nations. If yuo sort it on taxes/GDP, it's pretty hard to make thecase that high taxes depress
    GDP or that there is any relation at all, although those countries with higer taxes per GDP than the use might have had even stronger economies with lower taxes.

    On the other hand if you look at the countries that have lower taxes/gdp than the US, many of them are places you would not want to visit, let alone live in.

    The oil rich nations have very low taxes per GDP which suggests that EMR is correct in thinking that they are burning through their natural capital.

    If Americans are more wealthy and more prosperous, how is that an argument that the American government should not be as well? Why would we choke to death a government that has been so successful at letting us become wealthy?

    To be in the top .01 of earners in 1979 you would have earned more than $1.8 million. To be in that bracket today, you would need to earn more than $8.9 million. You would pay more taxes in dollars but your tax rate would have fallen from the mid 40's to around 32% today.

    The rich pay more taxes today than ever, because they make (and keep) more than ever.

    You can make more money than 95% of the population and the 5% above you will still have 95% of the income, and almost all of the capital.

    The government is spending more money than it is taking in. If it needs more money it will have to take it from those that have it.

    Otherwise, it can stop spending on the safety nets, which amounts to the utterly brilliant idea of getting money from the people that don't have it.

    RH

  8. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Jason is right.

    Also medicare tax, social security tax, excise taxes on gas and luxuries, etc. etc.

    But what you pay is meaningless withut comparing what we get. You are a free rider on all government services until you get old enough to work. By then it is likely to take you 20 years to pay back for what you have already used.

    RH

  9. Larry G Avatar

    the biggest entitlement program in the history of the world is – publically-funded "free" education.

    and there's a bigger irony from the Conservative perspective who support "vouchers".

    Where do the Conservatives think the "vouchers" would come from?

    Taxpayers of course!

    So the Conservatives want to take money out of my pocket and give it to someone else?

    talk about your basic transfer of wealth!

    and that's their idea of "small govt"?

    I've yet to hear from any conservative much less any tea party activist their views on whether we should pay taxes for public education much less SS or Medicare or the free care for all at the ER law EMTALA.

    I give Ron Paul high marks. He's a principled conservative.

    His ideas don't change according to who is president.

    the rest … eh.. not so much…

  10. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Where do the Conservatives think the "vouchers" would come from?

    Taxpayers of course!

    =============================

    OK, so what? Isn't it a little like the Korean Business clubs whee everyone chips in until they have enough for one member to start a business? Once one has a successful business he is expected to contribute for those behind him.

    Public schools work that way.

    Let private schools compete for the dollars and minds of the kids parents. At least the conservatives introduce some market sense into things.

    Suppose you had a system of half public schools and half private voucher schools. As a parent you get the choice of sending your child to public school or getting a voucher and then having to pay the difference for private school.

    We keep the division evenly split by adjusting the amount of the voucher we offer.

    If parents really hate the public schools, they will accept a smaller voucher, and make up more of the rest themselves.

    The voucher schools will react swiftly to what parents want for. thier kids. Wouldn't the public schools have to follow suit?

    What is there to convince them to change now?

    or What if you allowed voucher schools but the teachers had to be union members?

    RH

  11. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    I'd like to see subsidies to businesses eliminated. We now have Til Hazel asking for another tax subsidy so he can serve the public by building more on the land he bought on speculation. He's a leader in a new group called Washington 2030. He and his cronies (all developers or academics looking for funding) tell us that the area will keep growing such that local governments need to cede some of their land use authority to an unelected regional government, along with some of their tax revenue, because too many infrastructure projects running right by the developers' landholdings are not being built.

    I guess they are still smarting from the rejection of the sales tax referenda a number of years ago.

    Also, after spending more than $5 billion to bring Dulles Rail part way there (to Wiehle Avenue in Reston), which was supposed to get drivers out of their cars, we now need to spend hundreds and hundreds of millions more to widen the Dulles Toll Road and cut through Wolf Trap National Park.

    Cut the subsidies to business. How many business subsidies are the HCR to hospital chains, drug manufacturers, etc.? Shut down this corporate welfare and then let's see how governments' coffers look.

    TMT

  12. Groveton Avatar

    Larry, Larry, Larry …

    Taxed enough already <> Pay no taxes.

    C'mon, dude … you know better than to write:

    "I've yet to hear from any conservative much less any tea party activist their views on whether we should pay taxes for public education much less SS or Medicare or the free care for all at the ER law EMTALA.".

    The question is whether taxes should go up not whether any taxes should be paid.

    In my opinion, both sides of the political spectrum are missing the real point. 47% of Americans pay no federal tax because 47% of Americans are not economically competitive. This has happened through a combination of:

    1. A systematic meltdown of the US public education system relative to other developed countries.

    2. Unfettered illegal immigration increasing the supply and decreasing the price for labor – especially at the lower end of the economic food chain.

    3. Excessive corporate influence over the federal government resulting in Congress being unwilling to protect American jobs in any way, shape or form.

    4. Increasing penetration of technology into day-to-day business processes eliminating jobs – especially at the lower end of the food chain.

    These problems have been building for some time. They will only be catalyzed by the demographics issues Jim Bacon has documented on many occasions.

    The US federal government lacks the competence and courage to effectively address any of these challenges.

    We the people need to reclaim our government from those presently in power. This will not happen through federal elections. Both parties are utterly corrupt and will endlessly pander to the same special interests which transfix them today.

    The only lasting solution to the problem will be a complete re-structuring of the political system in the United States. This will have to occur with the direct reisitance of the ruling national political class. Fortunately for us, the founding fathers all but predicted this outcome. They left us many quotes about the inherent risks of government incompetence and over-reach. Better yet, they left us a process whereby we can totally bypass the federal government and amend our constitution with our without the permission of the ruling federal elite.

    History may well remember Ken Cuccinelli in the same way that it remembers Winston Churchill. An oft-ridiculed back bencher ranting about a seemingly imaginary crisis ready to occur. Of course, after the crisis became obvious Mr. Churchill went from clown to clarvoiant.

  13. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Grovteon,
    I find your comparison of Winston Churchill and Ken Cuccinelli most amusing.
    Peter Galuszka

  14. Larry G Avatar

    " The question is whether taxes should go up not whether any taxes should be paid."

    OH VEY!

    so you think as long as taxes don't go up that the tax dollars currently collected are being spent ….. to good effect?

    and you think the current taxes collected are being spent to good effect on public schools?

    seems like I've heard a complaint or two from you on that issue… before, eh?

    I actually do agree with most of your points and you make an important point about global economic competitiveness and global educational competitiveness.

    But you made my point also in that of the wide variety of folks who resent taxes spent for different "do gooder" things, there are those who believe that money spent on education is a humongous black hole not spent to good effect AND …THEIR solution is to let the parents decide what is a good eduction – no ?

    and their "good idea" is to take the tax dollars already being collected away from the public schools and give it to parents to decide how to spend.

    now… call me a skeptic.. on that idea… as we, as a society seem to have no fire in our belly to actually promote a national competitive education curricula much less truly test it.

    Instead, we want our kids to enjoy school and get good grades for their college resumes… gawd forbid we require them to get good grades on the subjects that our overseas competitors are cleaning our clocks on.

    All the while we have co-opted our schools to become college-prep glide ramps, the non-college bound have been traditionally – literally left behind until NCLB and now the conventional wisdom is that by trying to provide those kids a truly good, world competitive non-college education that we have "dumbed down" our curricula.

    My point here is that we as a society are full of doo doo when it comes to this whole idea of taxing and spending and now we've turned it into a political blood sport.

  15. Larry G Avatar

    …….. continued………….

    we, as a nation, cannot agree on how our taxes should be spent for education.. then why blame the elected who basically reflect our views – and our lack of consensus?

    I could say the same about the other 2 big entitlement programs – SS and Medicare.

    I do not see any principled conservatives "standing by their man" with regard to …what is it .. 2/3 of our national budget?

    Do we want to keep SS and Medicare but have the guts to insist that premiums must match benefits or not?

    or do we lack faith that govt can actually accomplish this fiscal goal and should get out of the business and let our seniors be responsible for putting aside enough money for their retirements and medical care?

    I think, as a society, we are hypocrites.

    we use double standards when it can be used to explain away things we don't like.

    We truly refuse to confront the real issues but instead pick whipping boy proxies to direct our anger.

    we don't care if health care costs us twice as much as any other industrialized country because our HC "is the best in the world" and we would have to start "rationing" and send granny to death panels … forget the fact that the best health care in the world – has the lowest life expectancy in the industrialized world.

    I'm not sure what metric we use to sustain the claim of "best" in the world but we seem, as a society, comforted by that idea, even if there are no metrics to actually confirm it.

    and schools.. what a laugher.. the world rankings are crystal clear and our response?

    we simply don't believe them.

    end of problem, eh?

    in fact, as a society, we chose to not believe anything we don't really like these days.

    so I don't really blame the politicians because they really do reflect us – and we do not agree on the way forward – do we?

    I notice that Groveton has sworn off the clown show label for Richmond but I could feel it on the edge of his tongue for it to be used with the Tea Party Movement who clearly believe that we have a Clown Show in Washington.

    Across this country – it's clear – we do not agree – and we won't take responsibility for us – as a society – to make compromises and agree – on a way forward.

    We're split ..divorced and screwed.

  16. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    The question is whether taxes should go up not whether any taxes should be paid.

    I know pwople who believe that no income taxes should be paid. The think that the progressive income tax is a socialist scan to steal their money and give it to others.

    They believe that government should essentially be disbanded and paid for with a flat consumption tax.

    They are opposed to anything and everything that does not work in that direction.

  17. Larry G Avatar

    I think those folks are fine with that attitude and seeking to elect those that would make those changes they desire.

    But to blame this particular President as the cause of a very long-standing policy of all that proceeded him in office is just plain idiotic.

    We had 8 years to do something about deficits and taxes and all we did was run this country into an economic ditch and now we want to blame the new guy for not doing what?

    If he seeks to actually deal with the deficits, they're going to hammer him for being a socialist tax&spend fiend.

    If he does not seek to deal with it then he's responsible for deficits as far as the eye can see.

    I'm not sure I see a path that the tea party people actually support other than they're mad as hell and don't want to take it any more.

    these folks are clueless…in terms of realities…

    they don't like where we are as a country right now – and they don't like this President.

    other than that – they are clueless as to going forward.

  18. Groveton Avatar

    The Bulldog and the Pooch: Part 1

    Winston Churchill was born into the British aristocracy in 1874. His father was a distant man and a habitual philanderer. He died of syphillis contracted from a house maid at age 45. Churchill's mother was an American who was a serial adultress. She ignored Winston leaving him to be raised by his nanny.

    Churchill was a poor student early in his life. He was sent to boarding school where he wrote pleading letters to his mother asking her to come see him or to allow him to come home. Consumed with her many love affairs the letters went largely unanswered.

    It took Churchill three attempts to pass the entrance exam for Sandhurst, the British military academy. He applied to be in the cavalry because the academic requirements were easier than the infantry – especially in math, which he disliked. He graduated 8th of 150 and qualified for transfer to the infantry which he declined in order to stay in the cavalry.

    His early military career was a combination of using his family connections to get good postings, begging his mother for more money and episodes of extreme personal bravery.

    He fought in Sudan, India and South Africa. During the Second Boer War he was taken prisoner and escaped from a Boer POW camp walking 300 miles to freedom via a Portugeese colony.

    He lost his first try for public office.

  19. Groveton Avatar

    The Bulldog and the Pooch: Part II

    He subsequently was elected to parliment from two different districts. He was asked to join the Asquith government as President of the Board of Trade.

    During World War I Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty until the epic failure at Galliopli which he masterminded. He resigned his position as First Lord of the Admiralty and volunteered to serve in the Army where he was appointed as a batallion commander. During this time he demanded to be at the front lines, in the trenches. Some saw this as personal heroism. Others believed that Churchill preferred the front because headquarters was dry and booze was allowed in the trenches.

    Churchill was well known for his heavy drinking often starting with glasses of champaign at lunch.

    After the war he became Chancellor of the Exchequer and led Britian back to the gold standard – a disasterous move that is seen by many as the most important single action in starting the worldwide Great Depression. He made the decision to return to the gold standard after consulting with John Maynard Keynes.

    Winston Churchill was regarded as a poor public speaker with what has alternately been described as a stutter or a lisp.

    Having failed in two cabinet posts Churchill went on to oppose Gandhi saying at one point that the British should let him die from his hunger strike.

    In 1929 Churchill was a disgraced 55 year old former politician ostracized by even his own conservative party. It seemed certain that his political career was over.

    Churchill flirted with personal bankruptcy despite earning a considerable sum from his writings.

    Starting in 1932 Churchill began agitating against the military buildup in Germany. By 1937 he was sounding a strong voice of opposition against the sitting British government. Known for having written many great speeches, one of his best is one from this period. Criticizing Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, Churchill said, "The Government simply cannot make up their mind or they cannot get the Prime Minister to make up his mind. So they go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful for impotency. And so we go on preparing more months more years precious perhaps vital for the greatness of Britain for the locusts to eat."

    Churchill's opposition to Britian's pacifist policy toward Nazi Germany continued after Neville Chamberlain became Prime Minister. After Chaimberlain's decision to appease Hitler, Churchill said, "You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour, and you will have war."

    On September 1, 1939 Germany invaded Poland. On Sept. 3 Britian declared war on Germany. Churchill was almost immediately named to his erstwhile position of First Lord of the Admiralty.

    On May 10, 1940 Neville Chamberlain convened a small meeting to ask King George VI to name another participant in the meeting to replace him as Prime Minister. That other participant was Winston Churchill. Later that day the Germans began their invasion of France. Churchill's first act as the newly installed Prime Minister was to write Neville Chamberlain a note thanking him for his support.

    Churchill assumed the role that would immortalize him at the age of 63. Prior to assuming that role he had been an emotionally abandoned child, a poor student, a failed politician, a failed cabinet minister, nearly personally bankrupt, a heavy drinker and the laughingstock of Britian for his "hysterical" rantings against Nazi Germany.

    Arguably at least, America speaks English today because of what one washed up politician accomplished in the years after his 63rd birthday.

  20. Groveton Avatar

    The Bulldog and the Pooch: Part III

    Ken Cuccinelli is a driven man. He has a core belief that the federal governmnet has been over-reaching its constitutional limits for years. He see that over-reach only increasing under the Obama Administration and he is going to try to stop it.

    While Cuccinelli's anti-federal bias is a far cry from Churchill's lonely warnings about the Nazi menace, I see some important parallels. Churchill was willing to take an unpopular stand for years on end enduring insult and ridicule along the way. Cuccinelli is willing to do the same.

    Churchill made some pretty major mistakes during his political career, Gallipoli for example. Cuccinelli has made some mistakes too, the letter to the colleges for example.

    Yet both Churchill and Cuccinelli are guided by a stongly held belief in freedom. Churchill saw a threat to freedom in the rise of fascism in Europe. Cuccinelli sees a threat to freedom in the abandonment of the US Constitution by our elected representatives in Washington.

    Churchill was more than willing to accept extreme political risk in the courage of his convictions. Cuccinelli has demonstrated some of that same courage. In Churchill's case, a crisis exploded and he stood firm from the the gathering storm through the triumph and tragedy of WWII. Cuccinelli seems willing to stake his political future on the unlikely cause of forcing Washington to adhere to the to constitution and reign in its power mad expansion. Personally, I think this is a cause which will come to the fore in the mid term future. The federal government's gross incompetence and culpable negligence will precipitate a crisis that will require vast restructuring of our overall governance process. When ths history books are written about that restructuring they will cite the actions of Ken Cuccinelli as one of the sparks which lit the flames of reform.

    That's my story and I am sticking to it.

  21. Groveton Avatar

    As a long time resident of Fairfax County, I consider this to be a sensible approach to the budget. I'd be interested to hear the views of TMT or other interested parties.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/15/AR2010041505764.html

  22. Groveton Avatar

    Ken Cuccinelli could have further endeared himself to the far right (i.e. people like Bob Marshall) by claiming that the Virginia constitution forbids the embedding of fees and taxes into the budget under the rule which requires legislation to have only one purpose. Instead, he basically tells Bob Marshall to go back and re-read the Virginia Supreme Court decision which upheld the practice in a 2008 case. The plantiff in that case? Bob Marshall.

    Cuccinelli has been criticized as an idealogue. I am not so sure. In fact, I am begining to like Cooch the Pooch more and more.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/2010/04/just_in_time_for_gov.html#more

  23. Larry G Avatar

    Cuccinelli = Churchill = GAWD!

    I do not subscribe to the idea that we have overrun the Constitution with the Obama administration.

    I do not believe that the health care that passed is much different than the laws that require ss and medicare payroll contributions.

    In fact, all they've done is allow folks to make their own arrangements but.. just like Medicare and SS – you gotta set money aside for what are for virtually all of us – inevitable needs that if we don't set aside that money – we'll be expecting the govt to take care of us.

    If we are serious about entitlements then we need to stop the blather and choose a direction.

    Right now, we sound like a 10,000 bird turkey house right after the door is opened.

    We have two choices.

    We can let people collect what they paid into it plus interest and then shut the program down and let everyone become responsible for their old age

    or.. we can increase premiums and/or cut benefits to keep the program solvent and sustainable.

    The 3rd option now in play is basically extreme bi-polar blather from the disaffected… who are more interested in blowing smoke that actually doing something..making some choices and putting that together in a platform.

    Let's assume Cuccinelli succeeds.

    what will he have accomplished with respect to the deficits and the unsustainability of SS, Medicare, and Health care?

    nothing… zip.. nada..

    the problems are just as stark as they were before…

    and to me that's the problem.

    We did not like Hillary-care and we promised to do it right once Clinton was gone and Bush and the Republican in charge.

    and what did they accomplish ?

    well they cremated a surplus.

    ran two wars and Medicare part D off budget and ballooned the deficit – and spent 8 years "warning" the Republican Congress about Fannie/Freddie (as opposed to actually doing something to rein in those yahoos).

    I don't know Cuccinelli very well.. but so far I'm not impressed.. but I will allow him to make his mark – on the oft chance that Groveton is on to something.. but I'm learning here that Groveton is one fickle guy… when it comes to politicians… he trades them in pretty quick it seems.

    But we got his huge deficit – and we have to do something about it – and I don't see any way out other than tax increases.

    If Cuccinelli has a better idea.. perhaps I will sign on to his Shtick but I have to hear more …… and to be honest.. I'm pretty skeptical.

  24. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    "Do we want to keep SS and Medicare but have the guts to insist that premiums must match benefits or not?"

    Joe Six Pack is an average guy, working an average job. Some years were good, some not so. By the time he was ready to retire at 62, he and his employers had paid 144 grand in SS taxes. He is eligible to receive about 1300 bucks a month. If he lived 20 more years he would get a total of 312000. A real windfall right?

    Larry thinks that conservatives should advocate that he only get what he paid in. About 600 bucks a month. But what Larry leaves out is the compounded interest that should have been paid on 45 years of use of our money.

    How much would Joe have earned if he had simply invested in savings bonds for 45 years?

  25. Larry G Avatar

    no.. I think they get the interest also.

    Make it equitable and take away the reason why folks would object.

    This is the problem.

    People do not want to make a choice but instead want to make a career out of complaining about it.

    Do we or do we not want SS?

    If we don't want it – phase it out and compensate fully and fairly but shut it down.

    If you don't want to phase it out then get off the "it's going to fail" kick and agree to the changes that will be required to keep it solvent.

    We are playing both sides of the street on this… and I do have to question folks motives if they won't choose but they want to continue to complain.

    and we blame the politicians for this? Heck.. look at US – the American people are all over the map on this..

    I've yet to hear the TEA Party folks give a definitive view on what we should do – besides complain…..

    we blather on and on about personal responsibility and the welfare state but when push comes to shove.. we ourselves have no path we want to advocate for…

  26. Groveton Avatar

    "I do not subscribe to the idea that we have overrun the Constitution with the Obama administration.".

    Me either. It started with Roosevelt and continued with every president since. Obama has just accelerated a process which was already well in place.

  27. Groveton Avatar

    WWJD?

    What would Jefferson Do?

    A few quotes from the American Sphinx:

    Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.

    The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.

    The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.

    To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association—the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.

    I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.

    When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

    I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.

    What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?

    The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all.

    The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.

    Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.

    The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

    It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings, collected together, are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately.

    Liberty is the great parent of science and of virtue; and a nation will be great in both in proportion as it is free.

    I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

    I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.

    To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

    In a government bottomed on the will of all, the…liberty of every individual citizen becomes interesting to all.

    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

    Most bad government has grown out of too much government.

    Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.

    The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.

    A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.

    Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?

    A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.

    An elective despotism was not the government we fought for.

    History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.

  28. Larry G Avatar

    Jefferson said a lot of things… and I'm sure Groveton would not want to just cherry pick, eh?

    " I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

    so look.. that guy Jefferson.. he says the Constitution SHOULD CHANGE… right?

    I wonder how folks will interpret a Cuccinelli quote a couple hundred years from now?

  29. Groveton Avatar

    In answer to Darrell's question …

    Assumptions:

    1. The individual in question worked from age 22 through age 62 – a total of 40 years.

    2. The individual will retire at age 62 and live another 20 years.

    3. The individual and his employer pay $3,600 per year into the fund. That's a total of $144,000 over 40 years.

    4. After-tax interest rates are 4% prior to retirement and after retirement.

    5. This investment flow would create an annual payment of $25,171 per year for the individual from age 62 – 82.

    6. The total payout over 20 years would be $503,420.

    Any lower payout for this individual can only be seen as a tax that was imposed over the individual's working career.

  30. Groveton Avatar

    "so look.. that guy Jefferson.. he says the Constitution SHOULD CHANGE… right?".

    Yes, the constitution should change. But it was not changed by Roosevelt nor (substantially) by any president since. However, in the last 90 years only 8 amendments to the US Constitution have been passed. Of these, only 2 are meaningful – presidential term limits and prohibition of poll taxes.

    Meanwhile, the Congress and US Supreme Court have vastly changed the nature of the federal government over the past 90 years. They have done so without changes to the Constitution. This is both horrendously unwise it is also contrary to both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution.

    Cuccinelli's suing of the federal government which will be one of the first steps in a process which will result in a constitutional convention called by the states to rewrite the constitution limiting the illegal over-reach of the federal government.

    Just as Jefferson would have wanted.

  31. Larry G Avatar

    if you believe that SS is the wrong program then advocate phasing it out – and make those currently in it – whole.

    or .. advocate for changes to make it solvent..

    but fence-sitting is cowardly.

    and blaming politicians when you yourself won't take a stand… worse.

    this was the situation Obama was in..

    there was no agreement, no concurrence on what to do .. despite everyone and their dog admitting that "something" needed to be done but of course no one could agree …so the man stepped up and did the deed..

    All the naysayers have done nothing – zilch – but blather…

    and it's clear – that's all they are prepared to do now.

    cockle doodle do….

  32. Larry G Avatar

    we have a failure to communicate my man….

    " but LAWS and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.

    Jefferson supported CHANGES in both LAWS and the Constitution.

    Our country was expressly created with the explicit expectation that LAWS would be created.

    but we seem to have this disagreement as to what laws are Constitutional or not.

    and …that this problem started way back with Roosevelt and that despite a half dozen Republican administration and Congresses that the problem was not fixed when they had the opportunity to do so?

    I'm so confused.

    The Conservatives have played a dominant roll in our governance over the last 20-30 years and yet all they do is complain that unconstitutional laws are being passed… as if they are powerless to stop it unless some good old boy from Va emerges victorious from a whack-a-mole game?

  33. Larry G Avatar

    There's an interesting NYT/CBS poll on the Tea Party:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/04/14/us/politics/20100414-tea-party-poll-graphic.html?ref=politics#tab=0

    or

    http://goo.gl/9Wpa

    and I learned this:

    Question:

    "Are the benefits from government programs such as Social Security and Medicare worth the costs of those programs?"

    Worth it 62
    Not worth it 33

    I find that interesting.

    these are by far the two biggest entitlement programs in the history of this country and not only a substantial portion of the total budget – far bigger than Defense and central to the current and projected deficits but 2/3 of the Tea Party folks want to keep them.

    Now.. another part of the poll on govt says this:

    Question:

    "If you had to choose, would you rather have a smaller government providing fewer services, or a bigger government providing more services?"

    Smaller government, fewer services 92%

    In an interview with one of the Tea Party folks – this response was given:

    " “That’s a conundrum, isn’t it?” asked Jodine White, 62, of Rocklin, Calif. “I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security.” She added, “I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind.”

    to me – this pretty much sums up the Tea Party Movement because at the end of the day, will they actually agree as a movement as to what things now done by the govt – they will agree to do away with?

    In other words, we have strong perceptions but when the questions become factual – the responses do shift.

  34. Groveton Avatar

    we have a failure to communicate my man….

    Yes – perhaps a good starting point would be for you to read the US constitution. It's not very long.

    " but LAWS and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.

    Jefferson supported CHANGES in both LAWS and the Constitution.

    Of course he did.

    Our country was expressly created with the explicit expectation that LAWS would be created.

    Of course it was.

    but we seem to have this disagreement as to what laws are Constitutional or not.

    Yes – see my first point about needing to read the constitution.

    and …that this problem started way back with Roosevelt and that despite a half dozen Republican administration and Congresses that the problem was not fixed when they had the opportunity to do so?

    Correct. The problem is notthe Republicans OR the Democrats, it is the Republicans AND the Democrats. Sometimes you find a dececnt politician from either side. However, most from both sides are corrupt.

    I'm so confused.

    I'd guess that's the story of your life.

    The Conservatives have played a dominant roll in our governance over the last 20-30 years and yet all they do is complain that unconstitutional laws are being passed… as if they are powerless to stop it unless some good old boy from Va emerges victorious from a whack-a-mole game?

    Hard to see Clinton as a conservative but … yes, a good old boy from Virginia has to play whack a mole. In fact, he needs 32 good old friends to really play the game.

    As Jefferson said, "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.".

    Go Coochie… Go Coochie…

  35. Larry G Avatar

    more to the point – from Reagan to Clinton to Bush – the Conservatives have had ample opportunities to roll back the laws they considered over the line from Ronald Regan's EMTALA to Johnson's Medicare to Clinton's SCHIP to Bush's Medicare Part D.

    The confusion my good friend is well-earned from examining the simple facts of history verses constructing one's own version of what he would like history to be – to fit his current views.

    What happened to all the Coochie's that preceded this one?

    The Bush Congress had complete control to roll back govt and insist on fiscal responsibility.

    If not them, who? Coochie?

    you guys kill me.

    you live in an alternate universe so totally separated from history and current reality that it does…leave me confused in trying to understand what you are really advocating for.

    Name the top 3 govt entitlement programs that those who now hate the govt would agree to get rid of (not counting the latest "outrage").

    or just give YOUR top 3 that you think someone like Coochie and/or you would advocate.

    we have lots of fire and fury and almost ZERO substance so the disaffected latch onto ….celebrity – personalities.. like Palin and Coochie but apparently not principled and pragmatic Conservatives like Ron Paul and Mitt Romney.

    I'm confused – yes – but you have contributed to it – not clarified because I don't think you can clarify… other than latching on to the current celebrity favorite de jure.

    Coochie has virtually no track record.

    Name his top 3 achievements…..

    Tell me if he supports Medicare and SS like 2/3 of the Tea Party folks do…

    I bet you can't..

  36. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Groveton wrote: "As a long time resident of Fairfax County, I consider this to be a sensible approach to the budget. I'd be interested to hear the views of TMT or other interested parties."

    I'm in general agreement with that statement. Dealing with this level of budget problems is difficult, and reasonable people can disagree over priorities. The mobilization of all elected officials, citizens groups and even parts of the business community to persuade McDonnell to overturn Kaine's proposed freeze of the Local Composite Index (LCI) helped. It was amazing to see the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce do something that wasn't designed just to benefit a few big landowners. (I could write volumes on how badly Bill Lecos damaged the Chamber and its credibility for the benefit of the Tysons landowners, but that's for another day.)

    Having said all this, Fairfax County and the Schools still need to look at setting priorities by funding the most important programs and not those that are of lesser value or don't produce results; force more consolidation of support functions (e.g., FCPS has an outstanding HR department – it should handle HR for both the Schools and the County. On the other hand, the County's IT group is much better than FCPS'.); stop subsidizing real estate development; etc. Addressing inconsistency is also important. E.g., Jerry Gordon from the EDA argues that, without his organization, the county would not do well attracting businesses. Stephen Fuller from GMU argues that businesses are coming anyway so we need to get ready for them. Both cannot be right. Which is it? We need to find out and fund that approach and defund the other.

    Fairfax County also needs to fight any approach that would have the state play a larger role in darn near anything because that sends more tax dollars south for pennies in return. Progress is being made. I notice that more and more of my good friends of the liberal persuasion are sounding just like me about Richmond and the folly of our own representatives aiding and abetting this.

    So, on the whole, the proposed Fairfax County budget is reasonable. Not good, but reasonable. That is progress.

    TMT

  37. Larry G Avatar

    down here in good old Spotsytucky, the BOS has been urging citizens to chew on our state elected for not fully-funding our schools and deputies, in other words – lobby them to increase state taxes.

    Now, you'd think that RoVa would also lobby for tax increases if they think the prospect is to get more than a dollar back for each dollar given but things are so bad in many other parts of Va that any tax increase at all is considered the kiss of death.

    so you see.. things DO work in favor of Fairfax/NoVa and I would submit that, in fact, if NoVa's own would join RoVa in opposing state level tax increases that they'd probably not happen near as often.

    I think NoVa sometimes is their own worst enemy when they go to the GA looking to fund some of their projects and RoVa agrees to give money up front in exchange for taking NoVa to the cleaners on related trades.

    I still say that the NoVa economic engine is more the result of proximity to the money belts of Uncle Sam than raw, entrepreneurial prowess.

    and thus… an easy target for those who claim that all of Va should share in that largess.

    by the way TMT, I know that I probably hacked you off in the exchange that we had about Barney Frank and Fannie/Freddie and I do apologize if I did.

  38. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Groveton,
    Thanks for the Tri-O-gy on Churchill. But other than the fact that he and the Cooch are hardheaded, I fail to see anything whatsoever the two have in common.

    Peter Galuszka

  39. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    "The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits."

    The mathematical expression of this is to seek the lowest total cost where

    Total Cost = Production Cost + External Cost + Government Cost

    If either raising or lowering government costs raises the other costs then someone is being restrained or aided.

    RH

  40. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Larry wrote "I think NoVa sometimes is their own worst enemy when they go to the GA looking to fund some of their projects and RoVa agrees to give money up front in exchange for taking NoVa to the cleaners on related trades."

    Absolutely, in my view. I don't blame state delegates and senators from RoVA from trying to pick my pockets (expecting my support in a general election (ala Creigh Deeds) is something else). I do blame NoVA delegates and senators who enable the pocket picking; the half-witted business community, who is clueless on public policy issues; generally complacent citizens who are too self-absorbed or too lazy even to ask questions; and the out-of-touch media for giving anyone who proposes more spending or higher taxes a pass.

    I'm not arguing my view and my priorities are the only truth. Reasonable people can draw lines in different places. But there's a point where it stops being a matter of one being a liberal or a conservative. There's a point where it becomes just general incompetence.

    NoVA actually did well on getting state funding for the Wilson Bridge and Springfield interchange projects. It's probably fair that we not expect that trend to continue, although one could make a good argument that, given how we get screwed on aid to K-12, RoVA ought to fund our transportation needs that permit us to subsidize their public schools and real estate taxes.

    There's also a matter of political power. At some point, elected officials of both parties tend to sacrifice their constituents' needs for power. Vince Callahan never pushed as hard as he could have done for increased funding for FCPS and other projects probably to keep control of the House Appropriations Committee. Dick Saslaw is opposing legislation that would rank transportation projects by their effectiveness in order to keep power over appropriations from the General Fund. He's also opposing legislation to put a share of off-shore oil royalties (if any) directly into transportation in favor of the General Fund allegedly for the same reason.

    Pogo's great quotation fits Fairfax County residents well. "We have met the enemy … and he is us."

    TMT

  41. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    But what Larry leaves out is the compounded interest that should have been paid on 45 years of use of our money.

    How much would Joe have earned if he had simply invested in savings bonds for 45 years?

    Corrected for inflation, he would have earned about 1.25%.

    http://cpsinsurance.com/annuity/client_handouts/Real%20Rate%20of%20Return%20BW.pdf

    This graph shows the return to be even less, but it assumes 31% tax which is untrealistic.

    The other problem is tha when yu are just starting out you cannot afford to save as much, so you do not get the full amount of long term gain on the major portion of your investment.

    The other problem is that social security it part savings plan and part insurance: you spouse continues to collect after you work yourself to death.

    Buying insurance is relatively cheap compared to buying an annuity, so you have to break out the various costs and benefits for different portions of the plan.

    If you get rid of social security, where would you buy your annuity to replace it, asuming you don't trust the government? Lehaman Brothers? Bernie Madoff?

    RH

  42. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    But what Larry leaves out is the compounded interest that should have been paid on 45 years of use of our money.

    How much would Joe have earned if he had simply invested in savings bonds for 45 years?

    Corrected for inflation, he would have earned about 1.25%.

    http://cpsinsurance.com/annuity/client_handouts/Real%20Rate%20of%20Return%20BW.pdf

    This graph shows the return to be even less, but it assumes 31% tax which is untrealistic.

    The other problem is tha when yu are just starting out you cannot afford to save as much, so you do not get the full amount of long term gain on the major portion of your investment.

    The other problem is that social security it part savings plan and part insurance: you spouse continues to collect after you work yourself to death.

    Buying insurance is relatively cheap compared to buying an annuity, so you have to break out the various costs and benefits for different portions of the plan.

    If you get rid of social security, where would you buy your annuity to replace it, asuming you don't trust the government? Lehaman Brothers? Bernie Madoff?

    RH

  43. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    RoVA ought to fund our transportation needs that permit us to subsidize their public schools and real estate taxes.

    TC = PC + EC + GC

  44. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

    That is why we require compensation be paid when property is taken for public use.

    Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.

    How do we reconcile that one is entitled to the fruits of his labors with the idea that government is provided for the common good?

    If a majority are capable of preferring their own private interest, or that of their families, counties, and party, to that of the nation collectively, some provision must be made in the constitution, in favor of justice, to compel all to respect the common right, the public good, the universal law, in preference to all private and partial considerations… And that the desires of the majority of the people are often for injustice and inhumanity against the minority, is demonstrated by every page of history… To remedy the dangers attendant upon the arbitrary use of power, checks, however multiplied, will scarcely avail without an explicit admission some limitation of the right of the majority to excercise sovereign authority over the individual citizen… In popular governments [democracies], minorities [individuals] constantly run much greater risk of suffering from arbitrary power than in absolute monarchies…

    What is the useful meaning of this when the minority have a majority of the income, a majority of the capital, and the majority of government expense on their shoulders?

    RH

  45. Groveton Avatar

    Larry:

    You see a battle between the Reoublicans and the Democrats at every level of government. I see a battle between the federal government and the state government – regardless of party.

    The question for me is less about what programs should be funded and more about who should make those decisions. Given transparency, I have far more faith in legislators closer to the voters than I have faith in those farther from the voters. For these reasons, I would like to see the federal government as small and unempowered as possible.

    I do not believe social security should be mandatory if you can demonstrate that you are managing your own retirement accounts adequately. If I were allowed to opt out of social security that's exactly what I'd do. I would much prefer that any contributions toward my retirement be directed to my 401(k). I neither need nor want the government's help. You should be forced to save your own money in your own account for your own retirement. If you are legitimately too poor to save for your own retirement then the government should be willing to pay welfare for those people once they are too old to work. I certainly understand that the government will have to tax me in order to have those funds available. However, I also understand that there are very few people who are too poor to save anything toward their own retirement.

    Social security is not a retirement plan it is a wealth transfer mechanism. I don't need it and I don't want it. And I want my state to allow me to manage my own retirement funds rather than depending on the provably undependable federal government.

    When states are given autonomy over decision making the winners and loser become apparent. Compare conservative Texas with liberal California. Which state do you think is better run? Which has higher unemployment? Which has the bigger deficit? Which has the higher tax rate?

    Once the federal government takes over everything there will be no more states like Texas or Idaho. It will be one big California. Then, where will you move when you are sick and tired of the idiotic policies which created California, New York and Nevada?

    This is a question of states' rights and people's choices. LarryG – if you want to live in the liberal utopia of New York – you can go ahead and do so. As for me – no thanks. If you want universal heath care you can move to Mass. If you want to marry your boyfriend you can move to Hawaii. I don't have a problem with any of those policies. I just have a problem with the federal government trying to force them on everybody.

    I want the federal government to respect the constitution. I want the states to have the lattitude to create the legislative environment which their citizens want. I want choices for all Americans. You want central planning. You want a politburo. You want 5 year plans and cultural revolutions.

    That's where we differ.

  46. Larry G Avatar

    Oh I think you misunderstand Groveton.

    I do not support a system that encourages people to expect entitlements from the govt but it's tempered with some pragmatism.

    You said that you'd be okay with SS if the govt would let you responsibly do your own – right?

    Isn't that the way the just-passed HC works that Cuccineli has objected to?

    In my mind.. if we don't require SS & Medicare – we end up with these folks expecting the govt (other taxpayers) to help them – right?

    Isn't that the premise behind EMTALA? That is someone does not have health care – that the rest of us will pay for their health care – and actually do so in the most expensive way possible?

    That's the way I see these entitlements.

    Unless we are actually going to let these folks die on the steps of the ER – our goal should be system that REQUIRES them to pay into a fund that will be needed inevitably.

    The choice is to make them pay into a fund ..or ..for us to pick up the tab – right?

    My agnst with the Republicans is they have traditionally been the party of personal responsibility and fiscal conservatism and, as a party, they have not only abandoned those principles but have proceed to hew to an even more idealogical-driven philosophy in concert with an obvious incompetence to truly govern except by fiat when they can get control.

    I respect principled and pragmatic conservatives who recognize the realities and work toward improving the system to push people into more responsible behaviors – as a simple remedy to others having to pay for their entitlements otherwise.

    The last thing in the world that I want – is 15-year olds who drop out of high school to have kids that they are incapable of raising as anything much beyond a copy of themselves.

    We have turn this around or else we're going to have an entitlement sub-class (perhaps already have).

    but we're not going to get there with Tea Party/Cuccineli type politics.

    it's not going to happen.

    You actually have to engage those to the left of the tea party to have them become part of the solution.

    I thought making health care mandatory was not that different from making social security and Medicare mandatory – for those who will not save.

    Because..like I said, unless you and I and enough other people are actually willing to walk away from the helpless even though they contributed to their situation.. unless we are willing to walk away – then we've bought into that safety net..

    and now the job is to make the folks who are the beneficiaries contribute to it BEFORE they spend their money on cell phones, McDs and game boys – while their kids are flunking out of school.

    you and others here mistake me for a liberal.

    Yes I think the Republicans are dumb as a stump .. hypocrites .. but it does not mean I support the tax&spend types.

    My IRE is directed at the party that USED to be an effective counter-balancing force to the entitlement lovers… and now they've turned into an ideologically-driven .. permanent minority.. for all intents and purposes.

    If the Republicans under Bush has just done their job, we'd not be here at this point right now.

    Because they abandoned their principles, the entire country has suffered and sorry, Cuccineli and the tea party is not going to be the rescue force.

  47. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    I do not believe social security should be mandatory if you can demonstrate that you are managing your own retirement accounts adequately. If I were allowed to opt out of social security that's exactly what I'd do. I would much prefer that any contributions toward my retirement be directed to my 401(k). I neither need nor want the government's help

    That's easy to say now, but when I first started saving I was able to invest more aggressively than I might have wiothout the bacdrop of social security.

    It is easy to say we could have done better (and did) than SS, but without SS a prudent investor would still have to park more of his funds in more secure and less gainful investments.

    Besides, what if your retirement plan had an ending date of March 2009? Regardless of how well you did you would have been out roughly half of your retirement plan.

    I even heard one bloke say, "I'm capable of consistently beating the market, so why do I need SS"

    Even if what he says is true, by definition it can't be true for everyone in the market.

    RH

  48. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    Groveton says he doesn't want SS, that he wants to control his own retirement. Isn't that what IRA's and the 401k were supposed to be about?

    You and your employer pump money into SS, and when you need it you find there are more fingers in the jar than there are SS cookies.

    The days of a gold watch and livable pension went away when companies dumped defined benefit plans in favor of individual contribution schemes subject to the whims of the market. And at the end of it all, just when you think you are ready to sneak off to Panama and live a life of leisure on your prudent investments, the government reminds you that your money is not really yours.

    http://www.401kplanning.org/auto-annuity/

    The name of the game these days is to impose 'behavioral strategies' through administrative means, rather than go through the uncertain process of law making the Constitution mandates. It's not your individual behavior that is important, but the psychobabble determinations of some anonymous board.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1889153,00.html

    The whole basis of Change we can believe in directly depends on Behavioral Science to form government policy behind closed doors. But the experts have forgotten to include moral hazard in their scripts.

    They wonder why people take SS at 62 and cash out their IRA/401k as early as possible? The answer lies in the recent citizen behaviors of Walkaways, buying gold, and the formation of the Tea Party.

  49. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Social security is not a retirement plan it is a wealth transfer mechanism.

    How can that be when your benefits are pegged to what you pay in?

    "Retirement benefit calculations are based on your average earnings during a lifetime of work under the Social Security system. For most current and future retirees, we will average your 35 highest years of earnings. Years in which you have low earnings or no earnings may be counted to bring the total years of earnings up to 35."

    RH

  50. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    They wonder why people take SS at 62 and cash out their IRA/401k as early as possible?

    Regardless of the age you take social security, you will recieve roughly the same total benefit. The onlyu way you get mroe is if you live longer than the actuarial average.

    RH

  51. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Because..like I said, unless you and I and enough other people are actually willing to walk away from the helpless even though they contributed to their situation.. unless we are willing to walk away – then we've bought into that safety net..,

    Yup. Go look at the history of poor houses to understand how we got where we are today.

    RH

  52. Larry G Avatar

    well like I said.. unless we are REALLY willing to walk away from those who are irresponsible in planning for their life needs then we have to have a mandatory defensive (for other taxpayers)approach.

    Now, if we REALLY ARE willing to have a country with even more homeless – like many 3rd world countries – to let people (and their families) suffer he consequences of not saving for their future – then the current Tea Party/Cuccineli/Palin/Beck idea .. will work.

    But the current threatened/dreamed approach – cut off the entitlements to the "leeches" while red meat for those with passion – ain't going to happen in my view.

    Ron Paul – he would let them die in the streets..right? Form what essentially are charity services that no one in their right mind would aspire to.

    finally, personalizing this issue to a particular man mixed in with racial innuendo and other ad hominem will NOT recruit others to the left of the Tea Party to the cause.

    Bomb throwing feels good but at it's essence, it's governing vandalism that further polarizes and further divides even those who do believe we have a problem with the way we do entitlements.

    Simply state – the movement has to display a potential to GOVERN and starting with George Bush – the Republicans, the conservatives an now the Tea Party folks – have essentially thrown down the gauntlet in a kind of a culture war.

    As a cause – it is potent and may well end up like it's vociferous counterparts in Europe but as a movement actually capable of governance reform.. they're moving further and further away because the harder they draw the lines – the more folks to the left are repulsed – not drawn in.

    This all goes back to us an individuals and whether or not you can stand to live in a Democratic Republic with all it's flaws and problems – or not.

    Isn't it interesting that the those who say they are strict constructionists of the Constitution sound a lot like Timmothy McVeigh at times?

    …water the tree of liberty…"don't tread on me" and all that rot.

    .. the tea party is …defining themselves although I read in the RTD that they have now put together a "code" to discourage nasty public displays… CNN-fodder, if you will .. even though they say that FAUX pulls in 3-1 in viewers.. apparently they still fear that CNN will hurt them.

    Do you want to Govern?

  53. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Darrell,

    Good stuff, I had not seen that before.

    I can see the rationale for a system that requires one to opt out of contributing to a 401k, otherwise it is automatic.

    And I assume you would be told that before you accept the job.

    But then, having collected momney from you all that time, it ought to be yours to do with as you please, even if bad things result.

    To (later) require you to convert it to an annuity would seem to have the same problems that forcing you to buy health insurance has.

    WHOSE annuity would they force you to buy? Bernie Madoff? I might rather prefer the government, bad as it is to any bank.

    RH

  54. Larry G Avatar

    I too enjoyed the links provided by Darrell.. informative – thank you.

    The Federal Employees have what is known as a Thrift Savings Plan and there are a range of options from Govt securities domestic and overseas funds, and what are known as Horizon funds targeted to future target retirement dates.

    The folks in the "C" stock funds have had a wild ride and a bunch of them moved their money to govt securities when things got tough.

    With mandatory SS – do you remember Dick Armey and George Bush and others who wanted to "invest" these monies in the stock market?

    Note also the formal name of Social Security:

    " the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program.
    The original Social Security Act[1] (1935) and the current version of the Act, as amended[2] encompass several social welfare and social insurance programs."

    everyone pays into the system – and it was designed explicitly as a type of insurance – for those who ultimately would need it – more than others.

    the Tea Party POLL shows that 2/3 of them SUPPORT This program.

    and we go back to this question:

    do you want to do away with the program or do you want to reform it to keep it solvent?

    All of this Tea Party stuff is very, very healthy IMHO – because it's making people think and challenging people to consider if the programs are still wanted or it's time for them to go.

    What's not on the table – is a simplistic determination of whether or not these programs are "constitutional" in my view.

    They will be – ultimately -what the majority of Americans want them to be… the laws written to conform to the Constitution.

  55. Larry G Avatar

    Nowhere in the Constitution is the idea of public education but none other than Jefferson supported the govt playing a role in education:

    " Jefferson is widely recognized for his architectural planning of the University of Virginia grounds, an innovative design that is a powerful representation of his aspirations for both state sponsored education and an agrarian democracy in the new Republic. "

    " The University was designed as the capstone of the educational system of Virginia. In his vision, any citizen of the state could attend school with the sole criterion being ability."

    this guy sounds like a flaming liberal to me……

    Interesting how – now days – we have folks referring to PARTS of what Jefferson said while totally ignoring other things he also supported – including change to laws and constitution – and the concept of using govt to provide education to citizens.

  56. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    That's right. And we have people referring to parts of the constitution instead of considering it as a whole.

    I argue that you start with the preamble which tells you what it is all about, Liberty, General Welfare, Defence, and Domestic Tranquility, and the rest merely describes an organization to achieve those goals, in the context of 1787.

    The exteme right seems to think that only liberty mattters and the extreme left seems to think that only the general welfare matters.

    The constitution describes a system of checks and balances to make it difficult for either to "succeed" in the sense of gaining power for itself.

    Yet, if you listened to the speeches at the sourthern republican leadership convention, they were primarily about winning and gaining power —- all the while quoting the constitution which is expressly designed to prevent such a thing.

    RH

  57. Groveton Avatar

    "Nowhere in the Constitution is the idea of public education but none other than Jefferson supported the govt playing a role in education:".

    Oh Larry … you are sooo close to getting it. This might actually be the exchange that bolts the truth into your arguments.

    Public education is addressed in the Constitution with the following sentence:

    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.".

    Which is why Jefferson founded the University of Virginia instead of the University of the United States.

    Education is not a power vested to the federal government by the constitution. Therefore, by default, it is a power vested to teh states. Period.

    So, let's shut down the Department of Education since the federal government has no legitimate power whatsoever in regard to education. And let's lower the federal tax rate since we will insist that the federal government respect teh constitution and get out of the education business. Then, some states will raise their taxes because education is important to them. They will build better and better education systems. Different states will try different things. Some will succeed, some will fail. The failures will be shuttered and the successes will be emulated. More experimentation will occur and more progress will be made.

    Or, we can ignore the constitution and wait for Dubya or Dear Leader to figure everything out for everyone and dictate our behavior.

    Why is it that liberals consider evolution a proven fact of nature but support the intellectual equivalent of creationism in government?

  58. Larry G Avatar

    Groveton – I think your answer illustrates an important distinction about the way that people feel about the Constitution and Jefferson.

    Jefferson is often quoted by those who want a small govt
    but often overlook his other views with of expecting govt to change and EVOLVE …ADAPT to the needs that are central to change.

    Jefferson was not a person who would say "let's see what the RULE BOOK says" He is the kind of person who would have said.. "if this thing is broke.. do what is necessary to fix it and make the appropriate changes in the "rule book" – like any right-thinking CEO of ANY ..ENTERPRISE would do if their primary job was the sustenance and survivability of the institution who was responsible for.

    My take away is that Jefferson was a man of his times – not ours – but he did recognize that times do change – AND govt must change also – and that would include their operating instructions.

    That's the problem with the Constitutional bean-counters.

    Did our forefathers ACTUALLY INTEND for the Feds to be telling us how much saturated fat is in locally-butchered hog products as differentiated from the same extract product produced in another state?

    what does common sense say here?

    that the same company would set up multiple state operations and that ONLY when they cross state lines do we care whether or not their product has E COLI ?

    this is dumb Groveton.

    Think long and hard about what you are saying in terms of if we actually applied it to ALL things that are now part of modern society.

    Want to go back and say that E-Coli ONLY is important IF a hog crosses a state line?

    Want to have that bottle of aspirin be anything the producer of it wants it to be and still call it aspirin as long as he makes it in the basement of his town house in NoVa?

    Jefferson made clear – "don't be stupid" – "change and adapt per the need".

    is a National Education Standard necessary for the health and welfare of this country when competing economically with other countries?

    is it a national imperative that our citizens grow up educated enough to get a world job or should we just agree to pay entitlements to any/all who fail to get an adequate education because that's primarily a State Responsibility?

    What would Jefferson say?

    Would he say that it's a "liberal" idea to "violate" the Constitution if this country would be the worse off i it did not change?

    We have some very ignorant Conservative people on the issue of "liberalism" – as if those perceived to be liberals do not care about the the health and welfare of the country but are so blind in their do-gooding inclinations that they'd let the country go down the tubes in the name of do-gooding rather than do what is necessary to keep the country strong and resilient.

  59. Larry G Avatar

    it all goes back to this simple concept.

    Are you willing to let people live on the streets if they fail to get an education and fail to set aside money for their future?

    If you ARE willing to do this as part of your inviolate Conservative principles – like Ron Paul – then I applaud your Conservatism.

    But if you are NOT willing to stand back and do nothing then you've crossed that line.

    We know what you are – and it's only a question of how much you've really corrupted your own self-claimed principles.

    2/3 of the hardest right folks in this country support the govt taking care of those who don't or won't take care of themselves – Constitutional "rules" or not.

    If you are over 65, the Constitution be hanged.. we don't care what it says.. we provide Medicare.

    If you are under 65, it's Constitutionally "forbidden", eh?

    these are how conservative minds process this?

    are conservatives basically one gigantic arbitrary double standard where want they want – they want and what they don't want is Constitutional verboten?

    What was Jefferson judged according to modern-day standards of Conservatism and Liberalism?

    The answer is simple.

    The man did not defend the status quo.

    He understood the inevitability of change and the need to adapt.

    The "rule book" was a living document – and changes to it – expected.

  60. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Larry,

    I think that your argument is logical, but I also think it's inconsistent with the basic structure of government in the United States. We have different roles for the national, state and local governments set forth in the several constitutions and related statutes.

    If we read out various portions of the U.S. or state constitutions that we don't like (and liberals, conservatives and moderates have all done so), how do we justify retaining the other ones? If the commerce clause can be extended to cover purely intrastate matters, how do you prevent someone from extending or contracting some other clause?

    If you can do this, so can I. If I can do it, so can you. Sooner or later, it comes down to who has the most guns and bullets. We tried that in 1861-65. It didn't work.

    TMT

  61. Larry G Avatar

    TMT – I do not consider the Constitution inviolate so I am not bound by strict readings of it.

    We have laid out – in my view – NOT strict divisions of govt and my view is backed up by more than 200 years of variances to it.

    I don't feel the need to "defend" a word or a phrase as much as I feel the need to deal with a problem that needs a solution.

    I feel quite confident that Jefferson would not have dwelled long on the e-coli dilemma.

    He'd recognize it as a problem that needed to be addressed and not likely through a Constitutional Convention.

    Do you want 50 different state standards for baby seats?

    Do you want baby seats in WVA to have zero standards and the ones in California so tough that they cost 3 times as much?

    What does the Constitutional say about this?

    Did the writers of the Constitution think about this ?

    How about the Conservatives in Congress – those strict constructionists – when they started writing national standards for everything from trans fat to medical codes?

    Our history if we look at it in a true light – is wide and deep with "violations" of the Constitution if we use the criteria NOW being advocated by those who – have been just fine with similar violations – for the ideas they supported.

  62. Larry G Avatar

    here's the basic problem with Groveton's Constitutional Conservatism.

    Where in the Constitution does it say that govt health care if fine if you are over 65 but totally unacceptable for those under 65?

    Where in the Constitution is Medicare Part D a legitimate Federal Govt program voted on by the strict Constitutional constructionist conservatives in Congress but a similar effort for other U.S. citizens not covered is "socialist" shredding of that sacred document?

    Conservative George Bush and his buddy Tom Delay were "misguided" in their support of Medicare Part D but Obama is a socialist trying to destroy America by ignoring the same Constitution that the Conservatives had no problem with – with their agenda?

    The whole thing REEKS of a double standard.

    And when we say "okay", let's roll back the socialist programs – get rid of them…

    the answer is "no, we can't do that… but NOW.. we must stop any more of it".

    and who decided when NOW was the time?

    Ron Paul / Dick Armey do not suffer from this moral and constitutional relativism… nope.

    They're opposed to social programs – PERIOD – no matter when they were voted and no matter what President signed them into law..

    In fact, their sole focus is on the issue at hand – the Constitution and socialism.

    They do not need personalities to demonize nor do they need personalities to idolize because what they are about – is the issue.

    In my view, people who call themselves Conservatives but stake out the areas that they want to assert their conservatism but then run and hide in the closet on entitlements that they like – are not really conservatives at all but hypocrites who basically want what they want and don't want what they don't want and they seek refuge in the Constitution as a matter of convenience rather than a bedrock philosophy.

    I believe in Conservatism for SOME issues but not in other issues but I make no claims that I am a Conservative – nope but because I'm honest about my views and do not pretend to be what I'm not – that apparently makes me a socialist liberal?

    I consider myself a pragmatic person – who dislikes, agrees with any policy that seeks to not provide entitlement to those who are scamming the system – but it applies to all income levels whether it's a 15 yr old on welfare or Goldman Sachs selling toxic investments to the unwary.

    you won't find me arguing against regulating Wall Street any more than you'd find me agreeing to pay welfare without to the undeserving.

    I'm not sure how you'd classify that as Liberal or Conservative but I have no problem with it because I am not claiming conservative or liberal credentials anyhow but rather a pragmatic approach that recognizes that for those who claim to be "strict constructionists" that – that path is ultimately a minefield of hypocrisy.

    Mr. Jefferson, to his credit as a founding father – knew that.

  63. Groveton Avatar

    "We have some very ignorant Conservative people on the issue of "liberalism" – as if those perceived to be liberals do not care about the the health and welfare of the country but are so blind in their do-gooding inclinations that they'd let the country go down the tubes in the name of do-gooding rather than do what is necessary to keep the country strong and resilient.".

    Pretty much the case in California today.

  64. Groveton Avatar

    "The whole thing REEKS of a double standard.".

    For the record (and about the 10,000th time) I think both parties are corrupt.

  65. Groveton Avatar

    LarryG persists in the false argument that the constitution can be ignored because of "democracy". In my opinion, continuing to ignore the constitution is the surest path to lose what limited democracy still exists in the United States.

    The founders ultimately wanted the states to decide how the country runs because they rightly believed that the state governments were closer to the people than the national government. This is not a complex thought. So, they wrote a constitution with a strong slant towards states' rights. They spoke and wrote extensively about their conserns about an overly powerful central government. No honest person could misinterpret their state of mind as they wrote the constitution.

    However, the framers also understood that times change and the governance structure must change with the times. Therefore, they included a process whereby the constitution can be amended. In keeping with their belief that the government which governs closet to the people governs best, they forced approval at the state level of any constitutional amendment. This was done to minimize the possibility of ending up where we are today – with an arrogant and insular federal government driven by special interests and operating against the best interests of the majority of people in the United States.

    Fringe elements from both the liberal and conservative sides hate the prospect of taking their agendas to the states via a constitutional amendment. Unfortunately, both Bush and Obama are idealogues who want their agenda enacted with or without the benefit of the constitution. Fortunately, there is a groundswell of opposition to this pattern of governmental abuse. Ken cuccinelli is but one instance of that groundswell taking form.

    Virginia has rewritten its constitution eight times. The United States never. The pigs at the trough on Washington will only be reformed through an aggressive and concerted constitutional attack by the states. We have voted for supposed corporate-style competence with Bush and change we can beleive in with Obama. We have gotten neither.

  66. Larry G Avatar

    both parties are corrupt? Then why the different treatment of them?

    Why is one side "misguided" and the other side Marxists?

    the double standard is not in the assessment that both sides do the same thing but how we view it differently and how we still believe that one side will do better.

    but the other double standard has little to do with the R/D dust-up but more to the point of one's personal philosophy of government.

    Who believes the Constitution finds healthcare for those 65 and over – not something that a guy like Cuccineli would/should challenge as clearly unconstitutional but the same deal for those under 65 has "violated" the very same Constitution?

    what kind of philosophy is that?

    Like I said. There are those who do not pick and choose what social entitlement they like while claiming Constitutional rape for the ones they don't want.

    govt health care is (or is not) unconstitutional socialism?

    this is a simple concept.

    what do you really believe – in your words – and do they match what you advocate in actions?

    if both parties are corrupt and equally violate the constitution – then your path is clear.

    The liberals want govt healthcare.

    So do the conservatives but they lie. (except for Ron Paul & company)

    I'll take the truth-tellers myself.

  67. Larry G Avatar

    Are Republicans like Cuccineli – a member of an "equally corrupt" party?

    you forgive the Cucci Republicans but NEVER the "equally corrupt" Dems?

    Do you think Cucci will disavow the Republican Party and join up with Ron Paul/Dick Armey or do you think he'll hang his hat with the Republican Party?

    just trying to fathom the "equally corrupt" concept….

    let's see.. they were bad under Bush but now they're good?

  68. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.".

    Which is why Jefferson founded the University of Virginia instead of the University of the United States.

    Education is not a power vested to the federal government by the constitution. Therefore, by default, it is a power vested to the states. Period.

    That is apparently true, however

    "Congress often seeks to exercise its powers by offering or encouraging the States to implement national programs consistent with national minimum standards; a system known as cooperative federalism. One example of the exercise of this device was to condition allocation of federal funding where certain state laws do not conform to federal guidelines. For example, federal educational funds may not be accepted without implementation of special education programs in compliance with IDEA. Similarly, the nationwide state 55 mph (90 km/h) speed limit, .08 legal blood alcohol limit, and the nationwide state 21-year drinking age were imposed through this method; the states would lose highway funding if they refused to pass such laws."

    Wikipedia.

    States can have their own education system but they would hae to give up all federal education monies. For example:

    "Maine has stepped out of the collection line of states getting federal money to help subsidize sex education, joining California and Pennsylvania in saying, “No, thanks.”

    Citing a potential conflict with a 2002 state law that mandates teaching teenagers everything from self-restraint to contraception, Maine declined about $160,000 in federal money for fiscal 2006.

    Maine would have had to pitch in about $120,000 had it accepted the federal money, and it would have had to focus sex education programs financed by the money on abstinence exclusively.

    The state also refused to allow Heritage of Maine, a nonprofit, abstinence-education group, to put on its programs in Maine public schools. Heritage’s programs, which are financed with a three-year, $1.5 million federal grant, are instead being conducted only in private schools."

    http://www.stateline.org/live/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=136&languageId=1&contentId=70529

    It is hhard to imagine that the Tenth amendment can be taken literally concerning federal control over things that did not exist or were not known of at the time, like radio waves.

    During the second world war the commerce clause was held to apply even to goods produced and consumed by a single person or family, the argument being that if enough people witheld the fruits of their own labor it would affect interstate commerce.

    Therefore, you could argue that when Warren Buffet eventually accumulates all the wealth there is, it would affect interstate commerce.

    This is just what my friend Jesus said when describing the economy in Mexico, "What good all that money, it no go round and round?"

    And this is a guy who is illiterate in two languages.

    A similar situation applies to medical marijuana, leaga in some states but prohibited by the feds, so even if you grow your own for your own use, the feds claim it could wind up in interstate commerce.

    RH
    RH

  69. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    The current state of the matter does seem to be up in the air. The supreme court has said that

    "…we need go no further than to state that we perceive nothing in the overtime and minimum-wage requirements of the FLSA … that is destructive of state sovereignty or violative of any constitutional provision."

    Which pretty much leaves open the question of what state sovereignty is. We seem to have backed ourselves in to a situation in which the states can do anything that the feds don't tell them they cannot do.

    This has led to a lot of empty gestures like the states having medical marijuana laws, or laws that outlaw gun control or forced participation in health insurance.

    Once enough states agree on an issue sufficiently they can call a constitutional convention and enforce their wishes.

    Given the current state of disagreement on almost everything, we are yet away off from that occurrence.

    RH

  70. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Why is it that liberals consider evolution a proven fact of nature but support the intellectual equivalent of creationism in government?

    Huh?

    It seems to me just the opposite. Conservatives call for strict interpretation of the constitution. That was the topic of several speeches at the Southeren Republican Leadership Conference.

    It is the Liberals who support the idea of the constitution as a living document, subject to broad interpetation in the light of modern realities.

    It is conservatives who are concerned that its ideals are fading away as surely as the ink on the original parchments.

    RH

  71. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    What I'd like to know is why conservatives use the word "liberals" as an epithet but liberals seldom treat the word "conservative" the same way?

    What is it that makes them seem so angry?

    I know, I know, it cuts both ways, liberals march in the streets, too, but it seems to me that their ATTITUDE is more often dismay or even incredulity more often than anger.

    Conservatives, by definition like to keep the status quo, and limit change, hence the party of "no".
    This has got to be an eternally frustrating position to be in since change is the only known universal constant.

    Liberals, on the other hand only need to nudge change in the direction they want, which is a far easier task than trying to deny absorb, and prevent all political momentum.

    RH

  72. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    "We tend to believe our political views have evolved by a process of rational thought, as we consider arguments, weigh evidence, and draw conclusions. But the truth is more complicated. Our political preferences are equally the result of factors we're not aware of—such as how educated we are, how scary the world seems at a given moment, and personality traits that are first apparent in early childhood. Among the most potent motivators, it turns out, is fear."

    "Most people are surprised to learn that there are real, stable differences in personality between conservatives and liberals—not just different views or values, but underlying differences in temperament. Psychologists John Jost of New York University, Dana Carney of Harvard, and Sam Gosling of the University of Texas have demonstrated that conservatives and liberals boast markedly different home and office decor. Liberals are messier than conservatives, their rooms have more clutter and more color, and they tend to have more travel documents, maps of other countries, and flags from around the world. Conservatives are neater, and their rooms are cleaner, better organized, more brightly lit, and more conventional. Liberals have more books, and their books cover a greater variety of topics."

    " Multiple studies find that liberals are more optimistic. Conservatives are more likely to be religious. Liberals are more likely to like classical music and jazz, conservatives, country music. Liberals are more likely to enjoy abstract art.

    Liberal men like romantic comedies more than conservative men. Liberal women are more likely than conservative women to enjoy books, poetry, writing in a diary, acting, and playing musical instruments.

    "All people are born alike—except Republicans and Democrats," quipped Groucho Marx, and in fact it turns out that personality differences between liberals and conservatives are evident in early childhood. In 1969, Berkeley professors Jack and Jeanne Block embarked on a study of childhood personality, asking nursery school teachers to rate children's temperaments. They weren't even thinking about political orientation.

    "Twenty years later, they decided to compare the subjects' childhood personalities with their political preferences as adults. They found arresting patterns. As kids, liberals had developed close relationships with peers and were rated by their teachers as self-reliant, energetic, impulsive, and resilient. People who were conservative at age 23 had been described by their teachers as easily victimized, easily offended, indecisive, fearful, rigid, inhibited, and vulnerable at age 3."

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200612/the-ideological-animal

    Obviously written by a liberal.

    RH

  73. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Want to go back and say that E-Coli ONLY is important IF a hog crosses a state line?

    My interpretation of Groveton's comments is that he would say exactly that. Because different states would evelove different appraoches to the problem, and this experimentation would result in more answers.

    By default those states with the worst answers would gravitate to adopt those with the best answers, or be out of the hog business.

    There is a certain attractiveness to the scientific or Darwinian aspects of this if it werent so inefficient. Thousands could die while we slowly gravitate to a common acceptable solution.

    RH

  74. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    And when we say "okay", let's roll back the socialist programs – get rid of them…

    We considered that when we considered privatising social security. What we discovered was that the cost of the transition was greater than any savings we could hope to achieve in a reasonable amount of time.

    If you allowed (forced) the younger crowd to contribute to their own accounts they would not be supporting the Ponzi scheme that social security is. You could not very well back out of the promises made to current or soon to be retirees, so you would have to go borrow the money.

    The borrowed money would have to be paid off by the younger genrations, in addition to funding their own accounts.

    It was a nice idea, but you can't get there from here.

    Besides, speaking of hypocrisy, it would have required that we force people to buy a retirement plan which is what the grief is all about concerning health insurance.

    RH

  75. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Virginia has rewritten its constitution eight times. The United States never. The pigs at the trough on Washington will only be reformed through an aggressive and concerted constitutional attack by the states.

    Huh? Again.

    If Virginia has re-witten ist Constituion eight times, is it because they could not get it right (gong show), or because they believe the document is a living document that needs to change over time?

    Are the pigs at the trough liberals or conservatives, or both?

    If the answer is both, doesn't that explain why the federal constitution has never been rewritten (except by the Supremes, and after all, that is their job.)

    The states are pigs at the trough, too, and given their propensity to change their own constitution, I don't see conservatives getting their wish for strict interpretation that way.

    RH

  76. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    "America's Comeback Story: Welcome to the Economic Expansion; U.S. Destined to Stay on Top

    Daniel Gross in Newsweek on how America pulled itself back from the brink—and why it's destined to stay on top:

    "The long-term decline of the U.S. economy has been greatly exaggerated. America is coming back stronger, better, and faster than nearly anyone expected—and faster than most of its international rivals.

    The Dow Jones industrial average, hovering near 11,000, is up 70 percent in the past 13 months, and auto sales in the first quarter were up 16 percent from 2009. The economy added 162,000 jobs in March, including 17,000 in manufacturing."

    From Carpe Diem

    If this keeps up, what will the conservatives blame Obama for?

    RH

  77. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    It's all about the DEBT! In Canada, it is quite common when we want to compare our numbers/ourselves to the US to just multiply the Can. number by ten….This roughly works for everything from population to GDP to cars, houses etc. Any wide deviation from this rough "rule of 10" would normally be a cause for concern. As of last week US debt stands at 12.8 T while the Can. debt is at 0.517 T !!! One would have to multiply the Can. number by 24 to approach the US number!!!! WOW That's the elephant in the room and it ain't going away.

    From Carpe Diem

    RH

  78. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    "The supply of medical school graduates has remained basically flat for the last 30 years (data here). At the same time, the demand for physicians' services has increased over time because of a population that is both increasing and aging. So we've now got more people with more serious end-of-life medical problems demanding more medical care from a limited supply of physicians – and that's a sure prescription for rising MD salaries."

    Once again, from Carpe Diem

    Are we going to blame Obama for this, too?

    RH

  79. Larry G Avatar

    What I give this President credit for – is addressing the issues – acknowledging that there is a substantial disagreement on HOW they need to be addressed…

    those complaints PRIMARILY coming from those who had 8 years to deal with those issues and chose not to and in fact were a party to the creation of those problems.

    People mistake the sentiment above for partisanship.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    If you wanted to characterize me fairly – I'm probably an advocate of the now unacceptable RINO – in that I cannot stand the ideologically-driven especially when mixed with religious crappola and revisionist history (like McDonnells thinking on "remembering" the Civil War) but I'm pretty clearly anti-subsidy, anti-tax-break, and anti-welfare without work.

    I DO believe in welfare for kids .. I believe that every child no matter where they live geographically or what their parental circumstances is – deserves a chance to escape their circumstances but I think we waste enormous amounts of money in the name of education by catering to the wants of the more vocal of the parents for things that are 'quality of life' for them and college-prep but low achievement levels so they can keep their QCA up to get into a "good" college.

    To George Bush's and some Conservatives credit – they did realize the repugnant policies of our school systems to leave children behind – both – morally and economically repugnant because ultimately I don't pay substantial taxes to feel good about disadvantaged kids but rather I want them to grow up, get a job, become a taxpayer and NOT receive entitlements.

    In the end, if they could/would grow up and not need Social Security and Medicare – so much the better and each of us should expect to get what we get by hard work not by entitlements and not by subsidies, tax breaks and gaming our system.

    Hard work is how one achieves in school and life. There are no shortcuts but lots of folks looking for them.

    Too many of us live far, far above our means. We simply are ignorant and arrogant yahoos by spending our money on things we truly cannot afford … should some disaster befall us (not an unreasonable prospect), many folks are one paycheck away from not paying their bills – which seems to be a perfectly acceptable idea to some of us.

    At the same time, we read every so often about how a "poor" janitor who worked hard all his life – set aside a couple hundred thousand dollars – that in death he leaves to a homeless shelter.

    People like Warren Buffet (Bill Gates, and others) have shown that hard work and smarts and some luck in their entrepreneurial activities can bring great rewards and the man has shown unlike some hard-hearted – that he considers it his responsibility to give some back.

    One of the bigger problems tha we have with many of us is that we seek "safe" jobs and let others take on the risky world of entrepreneurship where all they assets they own in the world are – in play – as they try to build a business while the govt is almost fiendishly trying to undo them with it's policies, regs and rules.

    What I cannot stand most of us is hypocrites.

    Stand for what you believe in and don't apologize – work on your philosophy to keep it consistent.

    Confront the parts of your philosophy that don't jive with realities or not self-consistent with your other views.

    My view on SS, Medicare and Healthcare is totally consistent (in my view) – they are necessary but regrettable but we made the decision to need these programs when we decided that we would not walk away from those unable or unwilling to be personally responsible for themselves and thus we have agreed to take care of them and now our job is to do that job as cost-effectively as we can – because it's just plain dumb to pay twice as much for HC as other countries do while at the same time we rank dead last on health statistics like life expectancy and newborn deaths.

  80. Larry G Avatar

    rant continued……

    Nowhere can I find a supporting statistic for what is claimed to be "the best Health Care in the world". We cannot produce metrics that back up this assertion.

    Is govt health care socialist?

    It can be if it operates like some countries but Germany and a few others basically have a private system much like the Federal Employee system where there are a wide variety of private plans to choose from but no one company can turn down anyone nor charge them higher rates – and in Germany – everyone has to buy health care for the same reason why everyone in this country has to pay into SS and Medicare.

    These are practical realities that I'm quite sure that Jefferson would recognize and support and would have little patience with those who seek refuge in "rules" they want to use against things they are ideologically opposed to but more than willing to ignore for the things they are in favor of.

    That's a corrupt philosophy in my view – a hypocritical philosophy and it's the reason why as important as our founding documents are – that we have enough intelligence to recognize that the challenges that we have today were not envisioned when those documents were written.

    All I ask is – if one wants to claim strict constructionist credentials then walk the walk.

    When you claim to be a strict constructionist on health care but not on SS or Medicare or Medicare Part D – then you're not a strict constructionist at all but rather an unprincipled fair-weather "constructionist" who uses the founding documents only when convenient or suits your views but at other times … forget it.

    Consider the same folks who now opposed HC – supported not only Medicare part D but they supported a law that allows the govt to listen to your phone calls and paw through your private and electronic correspondence.

    So they violated the constitution twice in both directions… but then 8 years later these same yahoos including Mr. Cuccineli are crying "foul" for the same deed they were more than willing to commit – over and over ..easily.. without one whimper or misgivings…

    and NOW.. NOW.. the Tea party and supporters including none other than longtime Republican Dick Armey, Newt Gingrich, and a host of other constitutionally corrupt politicians are telling us that the "solution" to the Obama Presidency is to give the country back to them.

    I'm thinking…here..

    we could not wait to get rid of these yahoos after 8 years of what has to be one of the incompetent and irresponsible legislative periods in our history and now.. 18 months later.. they've "recovered" know the way ahead?

    …AND… we've got folks that either believe them or don't care.. want them back in charge by essentially pretending that the are not the same Republicans they were 18 months ago?

  81. Groveton Avatar

    "govt health care is (or is not) unconstitutional socialism?".

    IS

    And the Patriot Act is unconstitutional fascism.

    IS

    Both parties are corrupt.

    There are individuals in each party who exhibit positive traits and proper behavior. However, on balance, both parties are corrupt.

  82. Groveton Avatar

    "just trying to fathom the "equally corrupt" concept….".

    Not a hard concept.

    Let's try a sports analogy.

    The Washington Redskins and St Louis Rams are equally bad football teams.

    However, Chris Long (of the Rams) and London Fletcher (of teh Redskins) are both good players.

    Bad teams can have good players. Corrupt parties can have uncorruptable members.

  83. Groveton Avatar

    Are Republicans like Cuccineli – a member of an "equally corrupt" party?

    See my prior post on Rams / Redskins and good players.

  84. Larry G Avatar

    I would agree with the idea that both parties are substantially CORRUPTED by money in politics.

    But we also know that any team like the Redskins cannot succeed when the majority of the team and the owner is suffering rot.

    and because of that.. individual rays of hope (depending on one's point of view) are doomed in their efforts.

    It takes a majority to prevail in legislative and constitutional endeavors and as long as our system lets corporations and wealthy decide we are doomed.

    Now I wonder what Jefferson would say about "free speech" and the right of corporations to charge you a little extra for their products and services and then use that money to "buy" a bigger vote than you have?

    Do you think Jefferson would consult the old rule book and pronounce it perfectly legit and the explicit intentions of our founding documents?

    My view on this is that we know our system is broke but I cannot agree with those that think one or two handsome guys are going to overcome it.

    I think it's sad that we have degenerated to the politics of celebrity in hopes of a solution.

    If Cucci made a principled stand against Corporations having votes, I would not care if he was left, right, up or down, or purpose, I'd support because I know that as long as our system is this broke…

    that one or two bright stars are not going to fix it and instead be absorbed into it.

    Over and over, principled people elected to office have got out citing the totally corrupt necessity of them personally getting on the phone to beg money from corporations so they can be competitive against the corporate-financed opposition.

    Cucci will end up either one of them or he will get out.

    Groveton is focused on the idealistic hope rather than the pragmatic realities – which seems to be the leanings of many who are frustrated now days.

    I'm frustrated but not ready to latch on to personalities – yet.

  85. Groveton Avatar

    "But we also know that any team like the Redskins cannot succeed when the majority of the team and the owner is suffering rot.".

    Correct. Their record in recent years demonstrates this. However, they were a once mighty team and can become so again.

    and because of that.. individual rays of hope (depending on one's point of view) are doomed in their efforts.

    True unless there is a systematic change in approach. The New Orleans Saints were long the doormat of the NFL. Last year they won the Super Bowl. Over the years the Saints have had many fine players – Archie Manning, George Rodgers and Morton Anderson come to mind. However, these "rays of light" were never enough to create a good team. Last year, the Saints were great. But it was more than just a change in attitude that made them great. They also had many great players including Drew Brees and Darren Sharper.

    Sustained success in any endeavor requires the combination of an effective approach and individual talent. The federal government today has none of the former and too little of the latter.

    Winston Churchill didn't defeat the Nazis. Neither did the British Empire. However, Churchill was the catalyst who rallied the British to Their Finest Hour and beyond. And, without the UK in allied hands, it's debatable how WWII would have ended.

    Cuccinelli is a catalyst for change. By himself, he will accomplish little. However, in combination with the growing realization that the federal government has been out of control for decades he may well ignite a storm of overdue reform.

  86. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    while at the same time we rank dead last on health statistics like life expectancy and newborn deaths.

    I don't think this is a correct statement.

  87. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    he may well ignite a storm of overdue reform.

    I think Conservatives are being overly optimistic in considering their comeback situation.

    On Satellite radio there are two talk stations: America Left and America Right.

    America Right seems to be supported by a wide variety of what I characteriz as scam advertisements. These are thing like companies that promis to get you relief from IRS tax bills, cut your credit debt in half by having the card company "forgive" your debt, herbal supplements for prostate health, and get rich quick schemes like international currency trading for amatures.

    The advertisers must see the American right as a bunch of poor, old, irresponsibles, in dire need of financial magic that will get them something for nothing.

    American Left radio als has ads for the reduce your credit card debt scams, but the rest is normal advertising for real companies like Subway, True-Value Hardware, Travelocity, and Amazon.

    The advertisers must characterise the Left as busy industrious people who eat on the go and like to travel and read.

    So, based on the quality of the companies that put money down, it looks to me like the Right is in deep trouble.

    RH

  88. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    "Obviously written by a liberal."

    So according to these studies, I'm either a Liberal Conservative or a Conservative Liberal.

    Gee, no wonder I get ticked off at this new behavioral science way of governing, or the Tea Party profiteers.

    By studying genealogy I've found I'm a political misfit spawned from generations of misfits that date back to the 1700s. These poor dirt farmers named their kids after founding fathers and fought against fat cats, slavery and tyranny. Mostly they just wanted to be left alone, a trait many in today's alienated political realm would criticize.

    I'd like to think that my study is more accurate than the one from a bunch of shrinks. They seem to believe political thought starts at childhood, while I believe generations long past have a major influence. Otherwise there would be no explanation for having a Confederate Month or even routine religious holidays. It explains why the political parties serve only their own interests instead of the people's.

    It also helps explain why as time goes by I feel increasingly like the pivot man at a circle jerk.

  89. Larry G Avatar

    dead last in the industrialized countries that offer universal health care to their citizens.

    We rank just below Cuba.

    As Groveton says, facts are troublesome things.

    but.. if you feel there are other as yet unmentioned metrics (not anecdotal) – evidence to demonstrate how our system out ranks others, have at it.

    I can find none so far.

  90. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    Here's a question for ya, Larry.

    If we do get universal health coverage, will your employer share their windfall by giving you a raise? Or will it be just another benefit lost without compensation?

    Will your employer give a rat's ass about your safety if they no longer have an interest in your health? You might ask Massey about that one.

  91. Larry G Avatar

    the pivot man…. er… um…

    but I do "get" it. 🙂

    The question has always been for the last decade give or take to those who want to rein in govt – do you want to "rule" or do you want to "govern"?

    Last time the Republicans were in, they chose "rule" then they got justifiably dumped and the Dems decided to rule.

    and now we're at the point where the Republicans are just dying .. but what are they dying to do – "rule" or "govern".

    Now.. they cannot rule even if they take back both houses but they can sure implement chock-a-block if they want.

    So.. you guys tell me.. assuming they get back in .. will they work on compromise approaches seeking a bi-partisan approach (that they currently blather on and on about) or will they just lock down everything?

    What does the bsse want? Well, their base wants the modern day equivalent of Massive Resistance..

    and Cucci?

    well Cucci is in for a short run methinks even if he has success because let's assume that he does…. and the R's win back the Congress – then what?

    any thoughts on this?

    I sure wish Groveton would get off this celebrity kick because it runs counter to his fickleness about politicos in general.

    first he was for… then.. who.. then next.. now cucci?

    GAWD!

  92. Groveton Avatar

    LarryG's arguments remind me of the movie Ground Hog Day. Liberal vs. Conservative, Republican vs. Democrat. And on and on and on.

    Then, he calims he can't understand me because I won't easily fit into either one of the political ideologies he has been brainwashed into accepting.

    LarryG, consider this:

    1. The Fairfax County BoS is substantially more liberal than the Virginia General Assembly. Yet I have consistently called for political power to be shifted from Richmond to Fairfax. Why? Because it's not about liberal or conservative – it's about decentralizing the decision making process.

    2. Washington (today) is considerably more liberal than Richmond. Yet I call for political power to be shifted from Washington to Richmond. Why? Well, first, it's what the constitution requires. Second, because it's not about liberal or conservative, it's about decentralizing the decision making process.

    A few examples for the record:

    1. I am totally opposed to the death penalty – for any reason.
    2. I believe strongly in school vouchers.
    3. I think Virginia should have stronger gun control laws than it presently has.
    4. I believe that the entitlement system has run amok and needs to be capped.
    5. I think gay people have a right to be legally married.

    I give up LarryG – am I a conservative or a liberal in your black and white world?

    I can't remember an election where I voted for all the candidates from either party. The only candidate to whom I have contributed money is a Democrat.

    I give up LarryG – am I a Republican or a Democrat in your black and white world?

    LarryG's arguments are no better than the arguments put forth in great volume and with great vigor on the Black Velvet Bruce Li site. They are stilted, one sided, party politics as usual tripe.

    One of the best aspects of BaconsRebellion has been the "Peter and Jim" show. Two different people with very different perspectives both contributing to the same blog. Compare that to almost any of the other political blogs. BVBL? Arch-conservative. That blog spawned the anti-bvbl blog which is (you guessed it) arch-liberal. Even most blog all but require you to register as a conservative or a liberal, a Republican or a Democrat. Let's hope BR never gets to that point even if LarryG would like to use such a registration of ideology as a litmus test.

  93. Larry G Avatar

    re: will your employer care?

    I dunno. Do they not care in the other industrialized countries?

    Do YOU care if the cost of your premiums keep going up to cover the costs of the uninsured who go to the ER for their care?

    let me ask this – do YOU CARE if your neighbor's kid has to rely on coin jars at the 7-11 to save his life?

    for me – the issue is a moral and economic imperative where your choice is NOT "none of the above".

    I simply think it's wrong for people that are employed and do work hard for a living to not have equal access to health care.

    The one's that the opponents talk about are the non-tax paying … welfare leeches but the reality is that many, many people do not have access to good health care and I feel the rest of us should care about that.

    But even if you don't care about them you ought to care about your own pocketbook because the current system we have is on track to consume more than 25% of our GDP and the insurance companies will control their costs by dumping more people and changing the benefits (less) of the folks who are lucky enough to keep theirs.

    People with health care can and do work at a number of different jobs to earn a living and do not have to pin all their hopes on that one job that does have benefits.

    Small businesses can directly compete against bigger businesses because they can offer decent health care whereas before many could not.

    There's still a chance that Cucci can kill this version and that the votes for a re-do won't exist and we'll be back to square one.

    I'm starting to suspect that a lot of people will be happy with that outcome.

    it strikes me as pretty stupid but I've also become convinced since the housing meltdown that more than a few people do stupid things and never look back anyhow as long as they are not too badly dinged themselves.

    To be honest with you darrell,I'd like to see the employers OUT of the Health care business.

    they receive huge subsidies from the govt (taxpayers)(because premiums are not taxable benefits) for providing HC and you know what – if you worked for an employer and could get a better deal – through a spouse or separate plan – you DON'T get the money instead.

    We could have had a Republican plan.. I probably would not have liked it but those zeros are zeros… right?

  94. Larry G Avatar

    gee Groveton – did I not just make the point that I am not the liberal you say I am and gave several examples of conservatism similar to yours (but certainly not an exact match)?

    I still think that you and others take so many things for granted done by the Feds that you do want and the proof in the pudding is that I did ask you to name the top 3 entitlements that you feel are not warranted and that Washington has overstepped the boundaries on and your answer was pretty flabby – no?

    how about the top 3 that should be kept?

    can we get you better calibrated?

    I'd get rid of the home mortgage deduction.

    I'd NOT give vouchers to welfare moms… but instead offer boarding school and tutoring… and a guaranteed 5-year paid education if the kid got a 3.0 or better.

    I'd pay off the deficit with a VAT tax.

    I'd put a sunset on the Health care so that it has to be reauthorized after a trial period.

    and I'd outlaw ANY corporate contributions of ANY kind to any politician or political party.

    and I'd REQUIRE an open appointment book for each elected and their staff as to who they meet with.

  95. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    From a purely political perspective, the health care reform situation can be be viewed as a case of creating too many losers and too few winners. Rightly or wrongly, FDR and LBJ sold Social Security and Medicare as a new social contract. You pay more taxes while you are working in exchange for some benefits when you retire. Quid pro quo! Everyone who pays will benefit someday and everyone who pays will get something that they didn't have before. Neither program was sold as a social welfare program. Indeed, they would not have passed Congress if the average citizen viewed them as constituting income redistribution. In national politics, perception is reality.

    Now Obama (and others) propose a new program that coupled health insurance reform with income redistribution (i.e., covering people who are not covered today), based not on payroll taxes from everyone who will be covered someday, but based on increasing taxes, shifting money from the existing quid pro quo social contract and misc. savings.

    Obama didn't (and probably couldn't) present HCR in the same way FDR and LBJ could present Social Security and Medicare. Obama was stuck with a redistributionist program (at least in perception) and was not proposing anything new for most people. Most people have health care coverage for most of their working careers. They don't get anything new. But they sure as hell perceive they are paying for something. Obama's lot was made harder because of the baggage the Stimulus Bill carried, IMO.

    Once you open the door to argue the morality of it all (we have a moral obligation to see that all Americans have health care coverage), you open it for others to argue their own brand of morality. Abortion, illegal aliens, anchor babies, etc. It's one big reason that I try to keep my moral views to myself and don't get too fired up about those types of issues in the public arena. I just don't like it when side A thinks its moral views deserve recognitions, but side B's don't.

    TMT

  96. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    They seem to believe political thought starts at childhood,

    Childhood traits were observed according to some standards, and they were observed and recorded by more than one person.

    Twenty years later it turned out those observations had a statistical correlation to the prior observations.

    How do you figure that had anything to do with what the scientists previously believed?

    Do you think they planned for twenty years to deceive the public?
    How could they know in advance what political persuasion these kids would adopt when older?

    I'm not saying I agree with the research findings, but I'm pointing out that peopel are looking at these kinds of things and eventually they will come up with some measurements that are as generslly accepted as the weight of a gallon of gasoline compared to the weight of a gallon of diesel.

    And like the debate over the hazards of smoking, the descent of man, or global warming some people will refuse to see the truth because it clashes with their preconceived notions.

    Suppose the psychologists are right. Then we could grow a conservative party from scratch by using the school system to brainwash the kids into submission.

    Which is pretty much what some right wingers accuse the liberals of doing now.

    Sooner or later those shrinks will measure something and we may not like the results. What do we do then? Isn't denial of reality one form of paranoia? Talk about a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    RH

  97. Groveton Avatar

    An excellent article by Ken Cuccinelli in the National Review…

    http://article.nationalreview.com/430829/unconstitutional-mandate/kenneth-t-cuccinelli-ii

    I think the best paragraph in the article concerns the real focus of Obamacare and involves a direct, on the record quote from Max Baucus:

    One of the drafters of the health-care legislation acknowledged that it uses the Commerce Clause to redistribute income. Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, admitted during the Senate reconciliation debate, “This is also an income shift. . . . This legislation will have the effect of addressing . . . mal-distribution of income in America.”.

    Interesting that a lifelong limosine liberal born with a silver foot in his mouth would accidentally tell the truth about Dear Leader's real intents. One can only imagine Rahm Emmanuel shouting a profanity laced set of instructions at the good senator from Montana, "The value of lying increases geometrically with the consistancy of the lying. You must lie more consistantly, Max. There is no room for admitting that Obamacare is socialism in public. No room.".

    It is also interesting that a trust fund phoney like Max Baucus only focuses on income redistribution. I guess when you are born rich it's better to talk about income distribution than wealth redistribution. Just ask the Kennedys.

  98. Groveton Avatar

    Dear Leader's Good Freind Sen. Baucus sounding very drunk on the Senate floor. Maybe you have to get drunk in order to live with yourself when you are robbing the country blind…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5Y9X5ggxzA

  99. Groveton Avatar

    Sen. Baucus: Ummmm …. did I forget to mention that I am sleeping with the woman I nominated for US attorney?

    At least that's what he should have said.

    These are the people LarryG wants making all the decisions:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1209/30228.html

  100. Larry G Avatar

    MAN! am ..I taking a beating today!

    so much for "equally" corrupt, eh?

  101. Groveton Avatar

    Not wanting to be outdone by guys like Max Baucus, the right wing nutjobs "gun up" and go marching in two urban parks. Super, just super.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100419/ap_on_re_us/us_second_amendment_rallies

  102. Larry G Avatar

    the key phrase for those who want a viable alternative to Obama and the Dems is this:

    DURABLE MAJORITY

    that's how you move away from the chaotic political pendulum swings.

    Since the Clinton election, the primary strategy of both parties has been to energize their bases – and then to work to win enough of the people in the middle in hopes of implementing the base's agenda rather than collaborative governing.

    The biggest indication of this from the right is the virtually banning of RINOs from their ranks.

    In the past – a core collaborative bipartisan group would have been the Blue Dog Dems and the RINOs but no more.

    Groveton continues the foolish idea that folks like myself are essentially liberals.

    I can show you a liberal and believe be they are far, far to my left.

    But I DO FAULT the Republican Party for essentially morphing into a " you cannot be with us if you don't sign our loyalty pledge" group.

    The bottom-line assessment is – do the Republicans want to govern with a durable majority?

    Is that what Cucci is about?

    is that what the Tea Party about?

    E.J. Dionne Jr. makes the point that when you look at the Demographics of the Tea Party that they are, in fact, the same old 20% right wing of the Republican party that has ALWAYS held those views – for that Demographic.

    In other words, they are, in fact, the Republican party doing what they've always done – trying to attract to the Tea Party – folks in the middle except this time more and more folks in the middle are just plain disgusted with Congress than ever before and are so seriously disaffected that even if the current system has to be damaged in order to reform it then do it.

    That has virtually nothing to do with building a durable majority as polls also show that even people who claim Tea Party affiliation – a strong majority of them want to keep SS and Medicare.

    Ron Paul Libertarians they're not.

    How many other big govt entitlements do they also not want killed?

    How about the health care perk that allows them to get employer provided health care without it being taxed as taxable income?

    How about the mortgage interest deduction?

    How about the government letting Toyota design whatever kind of fly-by-wire accelerator they wish without "interference" from Big Govt?

    or how about the Feds get out of the Car safety business all together and let each state have their own standards?

    California tried that – and guess which party was totally opposed to the idea of California setting their own auto air quality standards?

    That's right. None other than those "no mo big govt States Rights" Republicans who said that States Rights only counts when you're outlawing abortion and putting up the 10 commandments in Courthouses or digging mines in WVA but in other areas of States Rights, especially with regard to California States Rights?

    Nope.

    You see States Rights is not about states at all.

    It's about what those who rule that state have in the way of Conservative values.

    If a state is run by liberal loons.. there is, in fact, no valid State's Rights concept.

    this describes the hypocrisy of the Right Wingers and answers the question as to whether or not they want to achieve a durable majority to govern or not.

    they are as much about trying to achieve a durable majority as the man in the moon.

    their goal is to rule – by hook or crook.

    and that's what the hoopla is all about right now.

    They've been thrown out of office – rejected as a party – and instead of dealing with that issue – they've created a diversion – the tea party – who is going to do what?

    seek a durable governing majority?

    Cucci is the leader of a movement to seek to Govern?

    rule or govern?

  103. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Groveton,
    I am worried about you. First, there's your Tri-O-gy that tries to link WInston Churchill to the Cooch. Then you hawk this National Review piece by Cooch on the commercial clause. His efforts won't last three minutes in an appeals court.

  104. Larry G Avatar

    Groveton is clearly a desperate (and fickle) man…

    Cucci is virtually duty-bound to ultimately mouth some horrendously stupid idea that will allow him to occupy his ultimate place of destiny and send Groveton off on a new quest.

    Cucci would have done fine until Groveton conveyed the kiss of death by invoking Cucci and Churchill in the same sentence.

  105. Larry G Avatar

    TMT said: " Once you open the door to argue the morality of it all (we have a moral obligation to see that all Americans have health care coverage), you open it for others to argue their own brand of morality. "

    Do we consider Public Schools or ER medical care or SS or Medicare to place us on that same moral slippery slope?

    also… some clarity on one the FORMAL name for Social Security is:

    " Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, or the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund"

    Notice the word "insurance".

    and then this:

    " By dollars paid, the U.S. Social Security program is the largest government program in the world and the single greatest expenditure in the federal budget, with 20.8% for social security, compared to 20.5% for discretionary defense and 20.1% for Medicare/Medicaid.[5] Social Security is currently the largest social insurance program in the U.S., constituting 37% of government expenditure and 7% of the gross domestic product[6] and is currently estimated to keep roughly 40% of all Americans age 65 or older out of poverty"

    so just imagine that 40% of our senior citizens would be pushed into poverty by health care costs – if not for Medicare.

    So I'll ask the question.

    Is Medicare Moral?

    if 40% of the rest of American citizens were pushed into poverty as a result of health care – would it THEN be moral to do something about it?

    Bonus Question – Did Republicans support and embrace Public Schools, Social Security and Medicare?

    Would you expect the Republican party to seek meaningful health care reforms given their history – both recently and long ago?

    Did the Republicans produce meaningful reform when they last held the Presidency and both houses of Congress?

    So the facts are troublesome things here…

    Do we believe what the Republicans are saying now or do we believe their record?

    so you guys that hate Obama's approach.. what did you actually support before he took office and who did you support to make those reforms?

    My view. You basically supported doing nothing.. just like the Republicans have demonstrated over the years…

    so NOW you complain?

    about. "corruption", and corporate influence money and drunken politicians" as what.. ?? proof that the Dems did not do health care "right"?

    amusing…. very amusing…

  106. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    "Once you open the door to argue the morality of it all (we have a moral obligation to see that all Americans have health care coverage), you open it for others to argue their own brand of morality. "

    This is essentrially the same long running argument that I have had with Larry over environmental issues. Once you open the door to morality (we have an obligation to protect the sanil darter at any cost) then (an infinite number of) others will make their moral arguments, and we do not have an infinite amount of money to fix things with, whether it is a polluted liver or polluted river.

    RH

  107. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Re Morality. Most everyone brings his/her moral position into the political arena. My issue is that when one uses a personal moral position to justify a new law, regulation, repealing same, etc., it becomes perfectly fair to expect others to do so on the same and other issues.

    If I were to argue morality requires X, it seems legitimate to have someone else argue morality requires Y. If you can stand the heat, stay in the kitchen.

    TMT

  108. Larry G Avatar

    We have an Endangered Species program that works the same way whether it is an eagle or a snail darter.

    People argue about the program itself in terms of whether it's cost-effective but for the most part, the program is self consistent in it's goals and does not find itself hoisted on double standard petards.

    Not that people don't claim that snail darters are not as important as eagles but the smarter folks know that once you cross that line – from that point on – EVERY decision will be an arbitrary political voting contest.

    The basis for the public education entitlement to ALL kids (not some) is what?

    Is it not a moral and an economic imperative?

    The basis for the social security entitlement (to ALL over 65) is what?

    How about Medicare?

    the only slippery slope is the one we create when we say if you are 65 or over you're "entitled" and if you are under 65 you are not.

    is that not a totally arbitrary double standard ?

    and some homework for youse guys… go find out why we have arbitrarily set this magic number at 65.

    HINT: it has to do with that old moral and economic imperative.

    You could "fix" social security and Medicare in one fell swoop if you moved the eligibility age from 65 to 70 and fixed it permanently for the future by indexing it to life expectancy.

    Presto.. Changeo we've move UP that slippery slope on the economic imperative of keeping that program solvent and sustainable.

    But we're still in trouble on the moral imperative.

    A senior is "entitled" to a life-saving operation but a child with the same exact condition may not be… EXCEPT…and UNTIL

    he goes to the Emergency Room after the condition has worsened and now threatens his life and THEN he will be given very expensive, late stage "heroic" medical care paid for by you and me.

    I ask – is this moral? is it economic?

    So we have this situation where we SAY "tough cookies" to those without insurance but we really don't mean what we say because we agree to give them care (rather than refuse it as per our pretend policy) but that care is not Primary care but end-stage care not at a clinic or doctors office but at the most expensive medical care facility that exists.

    That's been our policy.

    The proof is in the costs.

    Our health care costs in this country are twice what they are in any other industrialized country.

    This has been our policy folks until we passed health care.

    we have two types of people in this country on this issue.

    The kind who have said – ever since Hillary Care was proposed – that we did have a problem that did need to be fixed but not the way Hillary and the Dems wanted it fixed.. there were BETTER WAYS

    and the other kind of people who basically said – "you've had quite some time to do fix this and you've done nothing so now we do it our way".

    And the response?

    Well.. Obama is an illegitimate foreign-born Marxist hater of white people and the Dems are corrupt politicians who engage in sneaky back room deals, take corporate money and engage in drunken and other immoral behavior (which has never been a problem with their Republican counterparts in their legislative activities).

    and THAT's the reason why health care reform is wrong..

    and the "fix" is what?

    get Cucci & company to knock down the law.. then have the Republicans and Tea Pots take control of Congress and then……

    what?

    repeal and replace?

    I see no plan folks. I see a bunch of personal ad-hoc ideas but the only true Conservative "plan" belongs to Ron Paul.

    The rest of the louts are basically defenders of a system that is wrong and broke and have no spine to stand up for what needs to be done.

    They have no articulated agenda for fixing the entitlement problem.

    the only guy who showed up ready to play was this President

    and the rest of them grabbed their rule books to argue about whether he should play or not.

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