Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

We really know that the 2016 Presidential Election cycle is underway.  Candidates are beginning to form their own PACs to get ready for a run, Rep. King held his Iowa Freedom Summit, and the Koch Brothers have announced that they plan to spend $900 Million on the 2016 campaign cycle.

Remember, the Koch Brothers and their PAC are not the only players in the game either.  There is of course Citizens United, Conservative Victory Fund, National Conservative Political Action Committee, the NRA, and a host of others.  I am sure that each of them will add significantly to the money to be spent.

All of these conservative PACs were invented to purchase politicians in the first place.  Now, they are even going so far as to say how much money is up for grabs well before the election cycle officially opens.

With all of this money around for Politicians to take advantage of, I thought it would be nice of me to offer some suggestions on how much conservatives should charge these groups for their votes.  After all, if we are going to be selling our elections why not have a Price Tag on each vote?

I have only included figures for federal elections.  The columns run House, Senate, President.  The House and Senate may be different only because of the length of their terms.

  • Support Anti-Abortion and Anti-Birth Control
  • $10M           $15M             $25M
  • Eliminate Minimum Wage
  • $11M            $18M            $30M
  • Allow Export Of American Crude Oil
  • $15M           $20M            $40M
  • Sign Pledge Not To Raise Taxes On Wealthy
  • $20M          $30M            $45M
  • Privatize Social Security
  • $30M          $40M           $50M
  • Privatize Medicare
  • $30M          $40M           $50M
  • Eliminate Obamacare Replace It With Nothing
  • $45M          $55M            $60M
  • Permanently Shut Down EPA
  • $65M          $70M           $75M
  • Permanently Shut Down Department Of Education
  • $45M          $50M           $50M
  • Permanently Shut Down OSHA
  • $45M          $50M           $50M
  • Eliminate Immigration For All Non-Whites
  • $60M          $65M           $80M
  • Eliminate And Privatize Public Education
  • $20M          $25M           $25M
  • Eliminate Food Stamps But Increase Farm Subsidies
  • $20M          $25M           $25M
  • Pass Law Banning Unions As Communist
  • $50M          $55M           $60M
  • Ban Same-Sex Marriage
  • $55M          $60M          $65M
  • Eliminate Need For Gun Licensing
  • $60M          $70M          $75M
  • Overturn The Civil Rights Act
  • $40M         $50M          $65M

I am sure that you can think of other issues that could be on this list like tougher voter suppression laws or outlawing and deporting all Muslims.  But this is at least a start.  Plus, PACs can pick-and-choose which issue needs the most support in a particular state or region.

Isn’t “Democracy For Sale” a wonderful capitalist concept?

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As you may have noticed, I have avoided talking about the uproar about the movie “American Sniper”.  In honesty, I have not seen the movie, and I really don’t plan on seeing it.  I did attempt to read the book, but I gave up because I thought it was poorly written and full of self-aggrandizement which does not help tell the story.

The movie is based on the book of the same title written by Chris Kyle.  You all probably already have your own opinion about whether or not Kyle is telling the truth in his book or making things up as he goes along.  I am not going to get into this fight.  I am not even going to get into the argument whether the movie is honoring war or is anti-war.  Especially since I haven’t seen it.

The thing that bothers me most about the arguments that have exploded over this movie, is the hero/anti-hero arguments that are going on.  I have written before that we vets are not heroes just because we are vets.  Those of us who have served our country have done so because we believed that we were doing something honorable and because we believed in what we were doing.

Our service does not make us heroes.  It makes us people who chose a profession, did our duty, and served our country.  In short words, we did our jobs.  There are true heroes, of course.  Those who go beyond and above the call of duty.  Those who abandoned self-interest for the good of their comrades.  Unfortunately, most of them were killed in action.  Some survived, and they deserve to be called heroes.

The rest of us do not.  That detracts from the meaning of the word and the actions of those who really went above and beyond the call of duty.  Kyle was a sniper.  He was credited with about 160 kills.  That, in and of itself, does not make him a hero.

Sorry, but as a vet, I find it extremely offensive when someone like Sarah Palin says something like “Hollywood leftists are spitting on the graves of freedom fighters who allow you to do what you do.”  Or, when Bill Maher said the film was about a “psychopathic patriot.” It is obvious to me that neither has any idea why we serve our country.  It is also obvious to me that neither has any idea of who we are.

Those of us who wear or have worn the uniform are just people.  There are a thousand reasons why we joined the service.  In the old days most were drafted.  Some join out of a desire to serve our country.  Some join because we see it as a way to get a college education.  Some join simply because it is the best way out of poverty by learning a lifetime skill.  Very few I know join because they want to be “heroes.”

We are people with all of the good and bad habits that comes with being people.  Kyle was no different.  In all of the hoopla over the movie, you will see good and bad things about him.  I don’t really care about that either.  But, from what I read in his book, I think that he probably fell into the last reason for why he joined.  That was his choice and I am not going to argue for or against it.

The real problem with this gala of stupidity, is that everyone on both sides of the conversation are arguing for or against Kyle.  That is not what the argument should be about.  The argument should be about whether there is a real need for war or not.  The argument should be about the justification to wage any war.

I joined the service in 1970 during the Vietnam War.  Times were different then.  We still had a draft.  Most of those who served in Vietnam were draftees.  Protests were raging against the war.  Trust me, very few people called us “heroes” back then.  Over the years the attitudes towards us have changed.  Even people who were against the Iraq war supported the troops.  The war was being protested, not those serving our country.

It was once said that war is the result of failed diplomacy.  Yet, I do believe that there are times when we must fight a war.  When we were attacked at Pearl Harbor, we were justified in fighting WWII.  I even believe that the war in Afghanistan was justified because that is where our attackers were.  The war in Iraq I opposed because there was no justification for it, other than that the junior Bush wanted to finish the job that he thought his father didn’t.

The other problem with the nonsense over this movie, is the thousands of vets who were wounded or suffer from PTSD as a result of their service are being forgotten, again.  The hero worshipers always forget them in their conversations.  If they were not forgotten, they would not be pleading for help as many vets are.

I love organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project.  They have helped thousands of our wounded vets.  But, once again I must ask the questions.  Why are such organizations necessary?  Why do private non-profit organizations have to fill the gaps to help our vets?  The answer to both questions is very simple.  Because the hero worshipers just want to use us a propaganda.  They don’t really care if our lives were ruined.  They don’t care about the surviving spouses and family of those killed in action.  They believe that is our problem.  Especially if they are asked to throw a few extra tax dollars in our direction to give us the assistance we have earned!

Shortly after 9/11 the far right opened the Cathedral of Hero-Worship in America.  They love to call vets heroes and praise us for their political gain while criticizing anyone who doesn’t join them at the altar.  In the meantime, they simply want to throw us to the curb when our service is over and forget our plights.  This brouhaha over the movie “American Sniper” is really about the False Religion of Hero-Worship.  Yet, we supposed “heroes” are always the losers by the actions of those who claim to worship us.

Unfortunately, veterans in this country have endured pain because we have a very long history of forgetting our veterans.  We are an unpleasant lingering fact of what war is really about.  Plus, we cost too much.  For me, the False Religion of Hero-Worship makes that pain even harder to endure.

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It has been less than one month since Republicans took control of both houses of congress.  When they opened the new session, both the Speaker of the House, John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they were going to “get things done.”  Since then, they had to backtrack on bills because of an uproar in their own party.  The latest was this week.

As usual, the House does not want to vote on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill that was passed with a bi-partisan vote in the Senate almost 2 years ago.  No, they want to do their piece-meal bills instead.  The first that was to come up for a vote this week is called the “Secure Our Border First Act.”

The first thing this Act does is throw a whole bunch of money at “finally completing that darn fence.”  This Berlin Wall style fence is supposed to stop those damn illegals from simply walking across the border.  That is nothing new for Republicans.  They have wanted that fence completed for years.

But, here is where it all gets just a little tricky.  According to the Bi-Partisan bill that passed the Senate, the goal is to arrest about 90% of those trying to cross illegally.  This bill makes that number 100%.  Of course anyone with only half of a brain knows that 100% is impossible.  The bill gives the Department of Homeland Security 2 years to gain control of the heavily traveled areas and 5 years to gain control of the entire Southwest border.

Besides being unrealistic in its number of defining “gain control”, the bill takes another twist with the penalties that the Department of Homeland Security will face.

The border bill would require DHS to have the southwest border under “operational control” in five years. If the department fails at that objective, the legislation dictates that political appointees at the agency cannot travel in government vehicles, be reimbursed for nonessential travel, or receive pay increases or bonuses.

Rep. Mike McCaul, the Homeland Security Committee Chairman, calls it the “the toughest border security bill ever before Congress.”

So far, so good for the Republicans.  But there is an oops!  The right flank is upset with the bill.  They think it is too namby-pamby for them.  Sen. Jeff Sessions, the most ardent anti-immigration member of the Senate thinks the bill leaves too much “wiggle room” for the President to release apprehended undocumented immigrants.  In response the National Journal said “Such objections have Republicans and Democrats alike privately musing that this is the exact reason leaders had sought to rework the immigration system in a comprehensive manner.”

Other conservatives think this bill is a “trap.”  They see it as a tool that Boehner will use to get them to vote for full funding for the Department of Homeland Security next month when its money runs out.  But the real secret agenda, according to these fine people is that this bill is the first step in granting that evil “amnesty” to illegals.

Conservative critics don’t trust GOP leaders and fear the border security bill would be used as an excuse to move other legislation allowing more immigrants into the country to work and providing legal status for those already here.

“Consider the title: Secure Our Border First. First before what?” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies. “Before we move on to the amnesty and expansion of guest worker programs that appears to be the real priority for top congressional Republican leaders?”

In their own words, “God forbid we let more immigrants into the country!”

As a result of this ongoing infighting in the GOP, the Secure Our Border First Act has been put on hold.  That also means that the funding the Department of Homeland Security needs by the end of the month may also be put on hold.  It makes so much sense to shut down the one Department in our government that is responsible to stop undocumented immigrants from entering the country.  I guess that would really show those “deportables”, as Rep. Steve King calls them, that we mean business.

I expect that at some point they will be able to pass this absurd bill.  I doubt that anything else will be done about immigration reform.  Plus, as I said before, what about all of those “socialist” Canadians who can cross the border and try to impose their “single payer” health insurance plan on us?  Shouldn’t we put a wall up between them and us too?  Remember, almost all of the terrorists we have caught came to us through Canada not Mexico.

I don’t know.  I believe that these “hiccups” the GOP has been facing just proves that they are incapable of governing in any way.  How in the hell to they expect the Democrats or the President to agree to anything they come up with if they can’t even come up with something they can get past their own caucus?

If this is the Republican definition of “governing” we are in deep doo-doo.


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Well, the 2016 campaign, at least on the Republican side, is officially on.  Many of the people who think they would make an excellent President went to Iowa last weekend for Rep. Steve King and Citizens United “Freedom Summit.”  This is the Tea Party’s dog-and-pony show for the most Conservative Candidates.  But the party was very limited in scope since Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Bobby Jindal, et al were not present.  As a matter of fact, King called the non-attendees “second stringers.”

One thing that all of the candidates railed against was Common Core.  Yes, they all went on about the “exceptionalism” of America, but they all seem to think that education is not part of that “exceptionalism.”  They are wrong.  Among the candidates were people like Scott Walker who is trying to kill unions in Wisconsin, especially the teacher’s unions.  Then there was Chris Christie who gutted $1 Billion from New Jersey’s education budget and laid-off thousands of teachers.

I believe there is an extreme weakness in the American Education Process.  It is what the right calls “local control” of our schools.  There was a time when I can see that “local control” of the schools was important.  But, as times have changed, local control of schools has actually hurt education more than it has helped.  In fact it my opinion that “local control” is killing education in America.

When America was young, people did not travel around much.  It was an agrarian society.  People went to school for fundamentals, but were expected to work the fields after they graduated.  As we moved into the twentieth century and urban centers more evolved, manufacturing became another place where people were expected to work.  As a result, global economics and even intra-state commerce were never considered in educating children.

Back in the 50s and 60s when I attended school, most people who graduated either went into the fields, factories, fishing boats, or other such occupations.  Yet, most children in those days could point to a map and tell you where Portugal was on it.  We all learned about reading, writing, and arithmetic, but we also learned about science, geography and history.  Everyone received an education that would make them eligible for college if that was their choice.

Many high schools also offered career oriented classes like shop.  If you were disinclined to attend college, you could learn a trade that would pay you a living wage.  Whether people want to believe it or not, there were national standards that had to be mastered.

With today’s global economy, it is not proper to let local communities determine the curricula for the schools anymore.  There are still areas in the country where people who graduate from school are still expected to work the fields, factory, or fishing boats, etc.  They have no concern about the global economy their children will be expected to live and survive in.

“American Exceptionalism” as the right likes to talk about is based on the ability of our citizens to be more productive and, basically, smarter than our competition.  Innovation, research, invention are all items necessary to continue to outpace the competition in the world.  With “local control” of our elementary and high school education, we are losing those competitive advantages.

The primary purpose of education is to prepare our children for the real world.  We must educate them in things like literature, science, math, history, and even geography.  Without these skills, they are at a disadvantage in the real world.  Besides, without these skills, they will never be able to critically think.  Critical thinking is what fosters innovation, research and invention.

It is time we stop the stupidity of “local control” of our education.  It is time that real standards be set so every student, wherever they live, get the same education as everyone else.  Common Core is not a federal government standard.  It is something that was put together by states.  Many states have adopted Common Core.  Many are fighting it tooth and nail.

The real reason this fight is going on is because of the “local control” aspect.  Local communities still believe they know what is best for their children.  But, they use education as a political football instead of something that is necessary.  They use “local control” to change science classes so things like evolution are not taught, but creationism is.  They go further to not teach climate change is real and that it is man-made even though all of the evidence proves them wrong.

But, if you live in an area that relies on coal mining, that is not something that you want your children to learn.  After they graduate, most are expected to work in the mines.  So, you have to teach that there is nothing wrong with coal.  Economically, it is a sound point since the whole economy of the region relies on the mines.  Educationally, it hampers those who decide to go on to college where they will be competing against students who were not hampered in science classes because of ideology.

Of course the biggest argument against Common Core is that the “feds” are running education.  That is always a fear for anyone who really doesn’t like the idea of a federal government.  But, as I mentioned above, Common Core is NOT run by the federal government, nor was it created by the federal government.

The paranoia the right-wing has created in this country is killing the very thing they like to crow about, “American Exceptionalism.”  You don’t have to look far to see I am right.  America used to lead the world in educating our children.  It has slipped to about 26th in the world.  If we don’t stop the attack on education by the right, we can see that standing slip even further.

Teachers are not the problem.  Teacher unions are not the problem.  Children are not the problem.  The real problem is “local control” of elementary and high school education.  Look at reality.  How many people on your local school board that determines the curriculum for your child’s education even have a college degree?  I believe that you will be amazed how many school board members never went to college.

Whether we keep Common Core, which I believe we should, or go with another version that is even more strict about standards, something must be done to remove “local control” from our education system.  If not, the only thing that will be “exceptional” about America is that we will be an industrialized nation with a third world education of our children.

Unfortunately, the attack on our education system by the right makes me think that is their true definition of “American Exeptionalism.”  As usual with their agenda, our country and our children are the true losers.

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Five years ago, The Supreme Court of the United States made one of its most outrageous decisions on campaign financing.  They ruled in favor of Citizens United.  Basically, as we know, they ruled that corporations were “people” and should not be kept from donating whatever amount they wanted to campaigns.

They further went with Citizens United that non-profit PACs could also donate to whomever they want at whatever amount they want.  This included unions as well a corporate non-profits.  The result has been that corporations have a bigger voice in our politics.  It has also triggered the biggest income inequality in our history.

The President has been on a crusade, recently, to change the rules that Citizens United forced in our elections.  As we might expect, the right-wing is against any changes to Citizens United.  They argue that the decision has “made our elections more competitive.”

Another thing that the Supreme Court took into consideration was that these contributions would naturally be transparent.  Yet, there are no formal rules requiring “transparency” in donating to these organizations.  Thereby, opening up the flood gates of “dark money” into our elections.  The President has stated that Citizens United has opened the door to foreign corporations or individuals being able to effect our elections.

Over at Fox News, Hans A. von Spakovsky argues that he is not telling the truth.  He states, rightly so, that rules in the federal election laws forbid foreign nationals or foreign corporations from directly, or indirectly influencing our elections.  Therefore, the claim of foreign influence is just not possible.

He fails to mention that the “confidentiality” of the donor lists of these non-profits keeps the names of donors secret.  Therefore, it is impossible to say how many foreign corporations or individuals are contributing, and therefore, influencing our elections.  Why must these lists be kept secret?

He further goes on to say, again rightfully, that the decision affected unions as well as corporations.  However, he fails to mention that unions must show “transparency” in their donations, while corporations and PACs do not.  As a matter of fact, unions must follow an “opt-out” for union members if they don’t agree with whom the union is supporting.

On the other hand, corporations are not forced to follow similar “opt-out” rules for any shareholders who do not agree with the candidates the corporations support.  As a result, if you own shares in a corporation and they support a specific candidate, you cannot tell them not to use your money to support that candidate.

Once a corporation or non-profit PAC supplies a candidate with millions of dollars, they expect a return on their investment.  Let’s take Americans For Prosperity as an example.  Yes, other PACs have similar sway over elected officials.

Americans For Prosperity is a PAC that was founded by the Koch Brothers, Charles and David.  They own Koch Industries — the petrochemical, manufacturing and commodity speculating conglomerate.  That is important to remember when you read further.

At the National Press Club yesterday, AFP president Tim Phillips and several officers with the group laid out their agenda. The group is calling for legalizing crude oil exports, a repeal of the estate tax, approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, blocking any hike in the gas tax, a tax holiday on corporate profits earned overseas, blocking the EPA’s new rules on carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants, and a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, along with a specific focus on the medical device tax.

If you are wondering, the AFP agenda is exactly the same as the Koch Industries lobbying efforts in Washington.  When everyone is screaming about “energy independence” why are the Koch Brothers asking for legalizing crude oil exports?  The only answer can be to further line their pockets.

The estate tax they are against, they call the death tax, only affects .15% of the population.  This tax only affects those who stand to inherit from family members with $5.43 million in wealth.  That takes in a very small portion of the population.

Their support for the Keystone XL Pipeline is due to the fact that Koch Industries owns a large chunk of Canadian Oil Sands.  Without the pipeline it will be difficult for them to get their dirty oil to the Gulf Coast to be refined and shipped overseas.

The Federal Transportation Highway Fund is about to go broke.  This fund comes from gasoline taxes.  With more efficient vehicles, and Americans driving less, this fund is about to dry up.  There is work being done in congress to fix this problem, or thousands of road projects will come to a halt and tens of thousands will lose their jobs.  That is why this tax is mentioned in the agenda of both Koch Industries and AFP.

The coincidence about all of this is that the Republican Right Wing agenda is also exactly the same.  Since AFP and Koch Industries spent hundreds of millions of dollars in an off-year election, I see a direct correlation.  As I said, they are not alone in this either.  In the 2012 election, Sheldon Adelson spent an estimated $150 million, $98 million through dark money channels.

In my opinion, there has been a direct correlation between what I have called “corporate socialism” on the right to the Citizens United Ruling.  The Supreme Court has swung the outcome of elections in favor of corporations and taken it out of the hands of the electorate.

The worst part of the decision is that “corporate agendas” have become public agendas that do not favor the working people of America.  Unless the rules are changed, we may be looking at renaming our country to the United Corporations Of America.  That is not a principle I served to protect.

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Senator Rand Paul wants to be President.  We all know that.  The Senator decided to give a “rebuttal” to the President’s State of the Union address.  Before we get into this little discussion, we must remember that the Senator is trying to walk in two different camps.  First, he claims to be a Libertarian like his father.  On the other hand, he is trying to walk in the camp of the far right-wing to ensure he gets enough primary votes to get the nomination.

The other thing to remember about the Senator is that he is a doctor.  Which is why he was glad to include that training in his rebuttal.  However, the “prescription” he is recommending as a cure, would collapse the economy and bring down the country as we know it.

Just after the President announced that the economy is recovering strongly, Rand Paul said  “I wish I had better news for you, but all is not well in America.”  He really never said what was “not well in America” but went on anyway.

He started by explaining how his medical training will help cure the problems he sees.  “As a physician, I was taught first, do no harm. To think before you act. To analyze the unintended consequences of your actions. I think America would be better off if all of our politicians took the same approach. First, do no harm.”

Hooray, finally a Republican who wants to “do no harm.”  So, Senator what is your prescription to make sure the country does no harm?

“It’s self-evident that the president and Congress are unable to do what every family in America must do: balance their budget. If Congress cannot, or will not, balance the budget, then we should amend the Constitution to make it mandatory.”

I do have one small question for everyone.  Do American families really “balance their budgets?”  I would think that if American families truly “balanced” their budgets, there wouldn’t be as much personal debt as there is.  I thought balancing your budget meant you only purchased things you could “pay for” when you buy it.  I believe that racking up credit card debt is not “balancing” your budget.  Or is that it just me?

Hmmm.  Still, the far right-wing of the Republican Party has been calling for a Balanced Budget Amendment for years.  It hasn’t happened, even when they had control of both Congress and the White House.  I wonder why it has been so hard to get something like this passed?

Well, reasonable people know that if we had a Balanced Budget Amendment it would handcuff the Federal Government when economic conditions shift.  Right now the economy is getting stronger.  Revenues to the government are rising.  But, just a few short years ago things were much different.

In 2011 the right-wing, including Paul, were clamoring for a Balanced Budget Amendment.  Then the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities said:

When the economy slows, federal revenues decline or grow more slowly and spending on unemployment insurance and other social programs increases, causing deficits to rise. Rather than allowing the “automatic stabilizers” of lower tax collections and higher unemployment and other benefits to cushion a weak economy, the amendment would force policymakers to cut spending, raise taxes, or both. That would launch a vicious spiral of bad economic and fiscal policy: a weak economy would lead to higher deficits, which would force policymakers to cut spending or raise taxes more, which would weaken the economy further.

Okay, so the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities is considered one of those leftist groups who just want to make socialism part of our society.  But  the American Enterprise Institute’s Jim Pethokoukis seems to think that a balanced budget amendment is “not a great idea.”

Again, why do we need to actually balance the budget at all, much less ASAP? Ryan’s original “Roadmap” plan, for instance, lowered the debt-to-GDP ratio by 30 points over two decades without a single year in the black. Of course, running surpluses would accelerate the process. But keep in mind how difficult America’s aging population will make it to cut spending.

Finally, National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru chimed in with:

The senators’ amendment would make the federal government a smaller share of the economy than it has been since the 1950s. The chief economic argument against it is that it would make recessions worse. When recessions hit, they increase deficits: Revenue falls while spending on unemployment benefits (among other things) goes up. A strict balanced-budget rule would force spending cuts or tax increases at times of economic weakness. The Federal Reserve could theoretically offset these effects, but you’d want to be pretty confident beforehand that it would do the right thing.

So, there you have it.  Everyone, left, right, center all seem to think that having a Balanced Budget Amendment is a bad idea.

It really boils down to this.  When the economy is booming, a balanced budget is probably a good thing and very achievable.  However, when the economy is bad, a balanced budget amendment would hurt the economy even more.  See when revenues fall because more people are out of work, the government will have a harder time balancing the budget.  That means one of three things will have to happen.

First, congress will have to raise taxes on everyone to fill the gap.  Republicans have already sold their soul to Grover Nordquist by signing his ridiculous “no tax hike” pledge.  So, the chances of raising taxes would be slim to none, especially under a Republican controlled congress.  Besides, taking away spending money from the populace would just make matters worse.  Demand would plummet, and the economy would tank completely.

Second, congress will be forced to slash spending.  But what would be slashed?  Recent history shows that unemployment would be capped.  Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would be cut.  Federal Pensions would be cut.  Food Stamps would be cut or eliminated.  The problem is that taking this money away from unemployed or hurting people would only make the economy even worse and not get better.  If people don’t have money to spend, the economy busts.

Third, congress would have to do both.  They would have to slash spending and raise taxes.  Since both of these are bad ideas on their own merits in a bad economy, we would be looking at the 1929 crash all over again.

That is why a Balanced Budget Amendment really has never gained steam.  Still, Senator, Doctor, Rand Paul thinks that is the prescription for what ails America.  It seems to me that he has failed to follow the third thing he was taught in medical school:  “To analyze the unintended consequences of your actions.”  Either that, or he doesn’t really care about any “unintended consequences of his actions” that he is just pandering to the far-right wing for votes.

In either case, based on his prescriptions, if my wife were seeing him as a doctor, I would make her change doctors.  I wouldn’t put my wife’s health in the hands of a doctor who doesn’t follow these three things taught in medical school.  I am not interested in putting the economic health of our country in such hands either.

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So, what do you think about the Presidents State Of The Union speech last night?  All of the pundits on both the left and the right have their take on what was said.  But, the real important people who need to digest what was said is the American People.  I can only give you my view of it, you will have to decide for yourself what you think.

There were some very interesting items he brought up.  This is the first time I really believe that the President threw down the gauntlet towards the Republicans.  Whether or not you liked his ideas, at least he laid out a plan to move the country forward.  For the last six years, the Republicans have done nothing.  Our economy has grown in spite of the Republicans not because of them.

They have been proven wrong time and again.  They say that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs.  Yet in areas that did raise the minimum wage, jobs are growing faster than next door where it wasn’t raised.  They said the ACA would cause health care costs to skyrocket.  Yet, the cost of health care has gone up at its lowest rate ever.  They claimed that allowing same-sex marriage would “destroy traditional” marriage.  It hasn’t.

So, now that our economy is getting better, the President offered some ideas that would actually “help” the middle-class.  Things like increasing the EITC, tax credits for child care, and free Community College education.  Not being a Republican, he actually laid out a plan to “pay” for his middle-class tax cuts.  But, we all knew what the Republican response would be to that plan since it calls for raising the capital gains tax and closing some inheritance loopholes.

According to the Republicans and their propaganda machine, the speech was nothing more than the “redistribution of wealth.”  After the speech I heard a Republican Representative from Illinois say something I have never heard a Republican say.  He said that the idea to raise capital gains taxes in order to pay for tax breaks for the middle-class was “redistribution of wealth.”  When was the last time you heard a Republican say tax cuts were “redistribution of wealth?”

To be honest, he is such an important figure I cannot remember his name.  But, when the President said “if you really believe you can work full-time and raise a family on less than $15,000 per year, try it.”  This gentleman tweeted, “it is just as hard raising a family at 10.10 per hour”.  See he is against having a minimum wage at all.  He also claimed in the interview, that those people who are making minimum wage are teens who are getting their first job.  Of course, statistics prove him wrong, but what is a lie between friends.

This is at the real heart of the matter on the tax proposals the President is making.  If taxes are cut for the top 1%, especially the top 0.1%, it is a good thing for America and it is being fair.  If taxes are cut for the other 99% paid for by capital gains taxes, it is “redistribution of wealth.” I think that more than anything else the Republicans have said over the years shows exactly what their economic plan is all about.

Here is something else that the right doesn’t want to talk about.  That 28% capital gains tax rate the President wants, is exactly the same capital gains tax rate under the sainted Ronald Reagan.  The rest of the money comes from closing loopholes in inheritance taxes.  See, rich people leave their portfolios to their children.  The children then use a loophole to not pay any taxes on those portfolios that they did nothing to earn.

The biggest reason that inheritance taxes were invented in this country was to make sure that America did not gain an aristocracy class.  It was determined that the “old money” of England was not good for society and that it would not happen here.  Problem is that Republicans believe they are the “old money” in America and America’s aristocracy.  Therefore, they shouldn’t have to pay any taxes on money they inherit.

The Republicans seem to think that we can lower tax rates across the board and not have to pay for it.  They like their voodoo budget tricks to show they are balancing the budget.  But, under Ronald Reagan, the budget deficit grew.  Under Bill Clinton, the budget was balanced.  Then, under George W. Bush, the budget deficit grew exponentially and the economy collapsed.  As a result of two unpaid wars and the collapse of the economy, our deficit grew to about 18 Trillion Dollars.  All of this from a budget that was a surplus when Bush took office.

Funny thing, both Reagan and Bush gave massive tax cuts to the rich and did not pay for them.  They may not like it, but at least the President said how he would pay for his middle-class tax cuts.  But, instead of looking at the proposal and working out a compromise, Mitch McConnell said it is “just another tax and spend plan” that the President has been proposing all along.

Look, we all know that “redistribution of wealth” has been going on for the last 40 years, at least.  The problem is that this redistribution of wealth has been going to the wealthiest people, not the working class people.  95% of all the wealth in this latest recovery has gone to the top 1% earners while the working-class pay has gone down.

The Republicans have brought up the cry that the middle-class is still struggling due to wage stagnation.  I agree.  But, whose fault is that?  Is it the worker’s fault?  No, it is the wealthy who own companies and pay out wages who is at fault.  While they line their pockets without paying taxes on the money, the rest of us are forced to struggle.

While the wealthiest get richer, Republicans across the nation have voted to take away the workers right to unionize.  They have made it impossible for workers to negotiate pay raises through union representation.  They have basically rigged the system against the 99 percent of the people they are supposed to represent!

That is why the Republicans are against any tax hikes.  They want the 99 percent to continue to redistribute their money to the top 1% earners.  They want the 99 percent to struggle just to make ends meet so the rich can get richer.  You cannot keep taking money out of the Treasury and expect to “balance the budget” as Republicans like to say.  Without revenue, the budget cannot be balanced.

As you can see, it isn’t necessarily what the President said in his speech last night.  It is what Republicans are saying in response.  These past Republican plans were “exceptional” ideas but are now socialist plans.  And, yes, the President’s plans are taken straight out of Republican ideas.  David Camp, a Republican was the first to suggest taxing financial institution stock transactions.  Ronald Reagan believed that 28% was a “fair” tax rate on capital gains.

While they wail against the President’s speech last night, they are mute about their plans.  We are still waiting for the Republicans to publicly state their economic agenda to ensure the middle-class gets pay raises.  They keep telling us they want to “repeal and replace Obamacare” but refuse to tell us what their plan to replace it is.  They keep saying they want a ‘fair flat tax plan” yet keep trotting out a plan that will save tens of thousands of dollars for the top 1%, and raise taxes for the 99%.

The next two years will be interesting at best.  They will be dangerous at worst.  The only thing we have to protect us from the continuing Republican’s radical wealth redistribution to the top 1% is the President’s veto pen.  Hopefully the 99% will wake up during these two years.  Otherwise, the future will be very bleak.

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