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I haven't made a political post in a long, long time.

I'd make one now, except just thinking about it depresses me. I was not happy about the results of the midterm, needless to say... and I am even less happy, if possible, about this "compromise" that Obama has made with the GOP on taxes. From where I sit, it smells more like capitulation than compromise. Give a lot, get almost nothing.

Obama is the most intelligent president we've had since Jimmy Carter... and, sad to say, he is looking more and more like Jimmy every day. A good man, but not a good leader. At least not so far. He doesn't seem to have the stomach for a fight. We need another FDR, another JFK, another LBJ. NOT Jimmy II. (And, yes, I know, Obama has accomplished some important stuff. But so did Jimmy. Camp David accords, remember?)

Yeats was writing about his own time in "The Second Coming," I know, but sometimes I think he was prescient:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

And could that rough beast whose hour has come round at least be... Sarah Palin?

No, please. Tell me that's just a bad dream. Somebody wake me up.



Dec. 16th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC)
Re: Actually
In my opinion, there is a great deal of intellectual dishonesty in this rant:

I have yet to see any credible source that states that revenues increased due to the Bush Tax Cuts. If you have such a source, I suggest you link it. As far as I can tell, we went from a balanced budget under Clinton to a record deficit in Bush's first year. Not all Bush's fault -bubble burst, 9/11- but revenues did not increase.

Bush did not impose, ask for, or suggest, a special tax when his country went to war. He is, to my knowledge, the only president who did not increase taxes when his country embarked on a long-term large-scale military campaign. This fact is consistently ignored by people who claim low taxes as a birthright. (the fact that Obama has been similarly spineless has not impressed me, though he is at least trying to draw down our committments)

The bottom 40% pay taxes into Social Security and Medcaid. These taxes are withdrawn only from the first 106K or so of income, so all of those bottom 40% pay it on their entire income, while high rollers pay it on a fraction. Do you realize that a person earning $2M per year pays NO SS tax on 95% of his income, while a person working 2 jobs for $50K gets taxed all ALL of his?

Corporations refusing to hire/loan so others can hire are currently sitting on tremendous cash hoards given them by the Government's grace. Washinton could have let the banks fall, and the bankers join the unemployed you callously dismiss (would that change your thinking I wonder?). In my opinion government has a right to demand that the money it gave away be used to help its citizens.

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. This is an economic disaster, and extended unemployment in light of the greatest financial meltdown in 80 years does not seem like overkill.

Tax cuts may well boost the economy in the short term. You know what hurts the economy in the long term? Government insolvency. You will no doubt say spending should be cut. Well, I can tell you that we can cut 100% of discretionary spending and not erase the defecit long-term. So please tell me, in light of no tax increases what gets slashed: Social Security, Medicare, or National Defense?
Dec. 16th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Actually
So far as what gets cut, I would say that we should start with programs that aren't provided for in the Constitution. Of the three you mentioned, Social Security and Medicare would be the ones to go.

Of course, defense spending should be cut as well, but at least the Constitution provides for the use of taxpayer money for national defense.
Dec. 16th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Actually
I never quite got this line of argument. The Sixteenth Amendment lets Congress tax income from whatever source derived, so the tax side of SS seems fine. And Article I, Sec. 8 Clause 1 of the Constitution allows Congress to "provide for the common defense AND general welfare of the United States."

It seems like social safety nets designed to help desperately sick Americans, or impoverished elderly, do promote the general welfare of the United States. Or at least, it's a close enougth call to be left to Congress' judgment.

If you want to go with the "wait, they didn't really mean that" route, then you're in the interpretation game, and there are 70 years of Supreme Court cases saying that Social Security is a legitimate use of authority under the Commerce Clause. Medicaid, meanwhile, is done under the spending clause, in partnership with the states. A state is free to opt out, if it wants to, as far as I know. I don't think any have.
Dec. 16th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Actually
Article 1, Section 8 has been used to justify a great deal of less-than-ideal legislation, some of which has been struck down previously. I will note, however, that "general welfare" could be interpreted as something that will help everyone. If the government takes $50 of my money to buy widgets for public use, everyone can use those widgets. My money has gone to promote "general welfare." If, on the other hand, they just write checks to constituents, no one else can make use of that $50. This is not promoting the "general welfare." It is nothing more than income redistribution.

Regarding the Supreme Court bit, all I'll say is that many, many longstanding laws have been struck down after decades of enforcement and opinions. I'm only using the principle (and thus am not drawing a direct comparison), but Brown vs. Board of Education is a solid example of this.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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