Ken777
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The American Oligarchy

Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:16 pm

Just finished an interesting article in the NY Times by Paul Krugman that is worth sharing with those who might be interested.

On the Wisconsin situation he writes:

Quote:
The bill that has inspired the demonstrations would strip away collective bargaining rights for many of the state’s workers, in effect busting public-employee unions. Tellingly, some workers — namely, those who tend to be Republican-leaning — are exempted from the ban; it’s as if Mr. Walker were flaunting the political nature of his actions.

Why bust the unions? As I said, it has nothing to do with helping Wisconsin deal with its current fiscal crisis. Nor is it likely to help the state’s budget prospects even in the long run: contrary to what you may have heard, public-sector workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere are paid somewhat less than private-sector workers with comparable qualifications, so there’s not much room for further pay squeezes.

So it’s not about the budget; it’s about the power.

In principle, every American citizen has an equal say in our political process. In practice, of course, some of us are more equal than others. Billionaires can field armies of lobbyists; they can finance think tanks that put the desired spin on policy issues; they can funnel cash to politicians with sympathetic views (as the Koch brothers did in the case of Mr. Walker). On paper, we’re a one-person-one-vote nation; in reality, we’re more than a bit of an oligarchy, in which a handful of wealthy people dominate.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/opinion/21krugman.html?hp

The shift of his thoughts are clearly moving towards the concept of an Oligarchy in America. The rich do have tremendous power, especially after the US Supreme Court opened the flood gates for corporate donations to politicians.

And the buying power for Middle America has shrunk since the start of this century.

And a lot of people who used to be in the middle class are looking at something far worse than they planned and worked hard for.
 
PPVRA
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:32 pm

Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. Not exactly fair, is it? Now the wolves are complaining about the sheep's tactics of using their only advantage - their resources - to persuade the wolves not to eat them for dinner!

Poor wolves!

NOT!
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
Klaus
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:12 pm

The technical term would be plutocracy (the rule of the wealthy). And yes, the US system seems to be particularly geared towards it.
 
pelican
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:40 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 1):
Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. Not exactly fair, is it? Now the wolves are complaining about the sheep's tactics of using their only advantage - their resources - to persuade the wolves not to eat them for dinner!

What else can I say as quoting Churchill:
"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."


There is no alternative. You can and should strive for improvement and justice, but democracy is the only way to go.


pelican
 
pacificjourney
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:52 pm

Mr. Krugman is being somewhat disingenuous claiming that public sector workers are not part of the solution to any budget issues.

While their actual pay may indeed be less than relavent private sector workers (I don't believe this correct but I'll give him this one) it is the conditions of their employment which are often out of step with the rest of us, namely defined benefit pensions, excessive sick pay, holiday and maternity entitlements, a lack of accountability (they can't be fired), etc.

Such is the case in Wisconsin and most places in the world.
" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
 
Mir
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:15 pm

Quoting pacificjourney (Reply 4):
While their actual pay may indeed be less than relavent private sector workers (I don't believe this correct but I'll give him this one) it is the conditions of their employment which are often out of step with the rest of us, namely defined benefit pensions, excessive sick pay, holiday and maternity entitlements, a lack of accountability (they can't be fired), etc.

And he mentioned that they've agreed to cuts in those areas. His point is that getting rid of collective bargaining rights has little to do with the budget, and yet it's what the governor keeps pushing for. Which moves the issue beyond a mere budgetary one into a power grab.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
BMI727
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:17 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 1):
Now the wolves are complaining about the sheep's tactics of using their only advantage - their resources - to persuade the wolves not to eat them for dinner!

If I were wealthy, I would be using whatever resources and string pulling I could to keep the government from using me as their piggy bank.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
windy95
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:36 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 5):
His point is that getting rid of collective bargaining rights has little to do with the budget

It has everything to do with keeping cost under control in the long term. Keeping costs tied to inflation like Social Security would help those costs. Collective bargaining is just a nice term for extortion. He is making wisconsin a right to work state and this is one step in that direction. Remember elections have consequences...
 
Ken777
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:38 pm

Quoting pacificjourney (Reply 4):
namely defined benefit pensions, excessive sick pay, holiday and maternity entitlements, a lack of accountability (they can't be fired), etc.

My wife spent time in a local school systems, working as a therapist. Each spring the teachers would receive their contracts for the next year. A new contract was not guaranteed. Sick days were, fortunately, cumulating, meaning it could be carried forward into future years - a wise program to reduce "sickies" as well as help when major illness hits. Teachers could also "gift" sick days to others who had been hit with major medical conditions and used up their sick days.

Fortunately the system she worked in actually respected their teachers and there was a lot of good work done in the system because of it.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
If I were wealthy, I would be using whatever resources and string pulling I could to keep the government from using me as their piggy bank.

Including using the middle class as the government piggy bank.  Wow!
 
BMI727
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:44 pm

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 8):
Including using the middle class as the government piggy bank.

They should be paying their share too and the share of the wealthy should not be disproportionately large. All this wealth redistribution stuff is crap.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
windy95
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:54 pm

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 8):
Including using the middle class as the government piggy bank.




Nobody is stopping them from becoming rich also. They have the same opportunities as everyone else. The only thing that is using anybody as a piggy bank is the looters from the left who continue to drown us in social obligation's. It is the spending not the taxes that we have to blame.
 
Ken777
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:01 pm

Quoting windy95 (Reply 7):
It has everything to do with keeping cost under control in the long term.

Bull. First he passed a tax cut that would INCREASE the deficit, then he went after the teachers to pay for the tax cut. But that's not what he really wants. Both laws are just part of an effort to bash unions.

Quoting windy95 (Reply 7):
Remember elections have consequences...

And we might be seeing one unhealthy consequence March 5th.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 9):
They should be paying their share too and the share of the wealthy should not be disproportionately large.

Which is why Warren Buffett said he is embarrassed that his admin assistant pays a higher total tax percent than he does.

Which is why, when you add in user taxes, like sales tax, the tax percentage burden shifts even more to the poor and middle class.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 9):
All this wealth redistribution stuff is crap.

Especially when it is going in the opposite direction than your think it is.
 
windy95
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:16 pm

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 11):
First he passed a tax cut that would INCREASE the deficit




No he passed two tax cuts that would help with job growth. Do you know what they are nd who received them? I will give you a hint, it was not the rich.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 11):
Quoting windy95 (Reply 7):
Remember elections have consequences...

And we might be seeing one unhealthy consequence March 5th



Yes that would be the sequel to Obamacare and Porkulus

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 11):
Which is why Warren Buffett said he is embarrassed that his admin assistant pays a higher total tax percent than he does.



On his investment income not on his salary. Sorry but that is another untruth. If he had a base salary it would be far higher than her'.s But like any smart rich guy he is avoiding taxes by not receiving a salary and living off his investment income which is taxed at a lower rate. And if he feels so bad why does he not then volunteer more money to the treasury to save his embarrassment. Why not because liberals are hypocrites when it comes to taxes.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 11):
Quoting BMI727 (Reply 9):
All this wealth redistribution stuff is crap.

Especially when it is going in the opposite direction than your think it is.



The difference is they have earned it..Do not be jealous
 
dxing
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:12 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 5):
etc.

And he mentioned that they've agreed to cuts in those areas.

They were unable to reach an agreement with the previous administration and State legislature, both democratic party controlled. They only agreed now to try and forestall the loss of their collective bargaining rights. Meanwhile some of them have been video taped committing fraud by accepting sick excuses while actually being at the Capitol picketing. If this isn't a PATCO moment I don't know what qualifies. Meanwhile the democratic legislature members have abandoned their responsibilities and fled the State. They too are practicing fraud and should be recalled in a special election vote.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 8):
Each spring the teachers would receive their contracts for the next year. A new contract was not guaranteed.

After three years that is not a problem with Wisconsin teachers as they achieve tenure. By the looks of this website, its not a bad gig.

http://certificationmap.com/states/wisconsin-teacher-certification/

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 11):
Which is why Warren Buffett said he is embarrassed that his admin assistant pays a higher total tax percent than he does.



He doesn't have to employ the army of accountants that allow him to find all the loopholes he uses. He could just total up his income and pay the appropriate tax if he wished too. Very hypocritical statement by him.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 11):

Which is why, when you add in user taxes, like sales tax, the tax percentage burden shifts even more to the poor and middle class.

Meanwhile, in another thread, this is exactly what you are advocating so you can keep your precious SS benefits intact.   
Warm winds blowing, heating blue skies, a road that goes forever, I'm going to Texas!
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:29 pm

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 11):
Bull. First he passed a tax cut that would INCREASE the deficit, then he went after the teachers to pay for the tax cut.

If the State's tax burden is too high, then it's too high. They must simultaneously set a competitive tax rate and then learn to live within that level of revenue.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 11):
Which is why Warren Buffett said he is embarrassed that his admin assistant pays a higher total tax percent than he does.

I would wager heavily that you do not actually know what this means or implies.

[Edited 2011-02-21 15:34:12]
 
thegreatRDU
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:52 am

All we need to do is have universal health care, Australian or Dutch style....removing the burden off the backs of employers making labor more competitive.....
Next cut the military/defense spending by 60-70% and reinvest the savings in the social safety nets which do need some slight re-tweaking...eliminating the need for pensions maybe.....
Our Returning Champion
 
zalemam
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:13 am

Quoting thegreatRDU (Reply 15):
All we need to do is have universal health care, Australian or Dutch style....removing the burden off the backs of employers making labor more competitive.....
Next cut the military/defense spending by 60-70%

  

Especially on military spending! I can't think of a country that can attack the US and not suffer a horrible defeat. Cutting the defense budget is the #1 thing we should do, then reinvest the money into health care, education and Jobs. We don't need to be fighting wars when we cant sleep at night because of the fear of losing a job or getting sick.

Wisconsin's governor shouldn't be cutting vital needs at times like this!
Patience is Virtue
 
Flighty
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:04 am

Public unions are an oligarchy too. Many cities (including mine) are run by the union workforce of the city. More than 75% of city revenue goes to those workers. Who campaigns for Democrat mayors? You guessed it.

This is called "state capture" which is a form of corruption. The beneficiary of the government is the political leader and his pals. The kicker is, they have taxation power, which is a legal way to take money from people -- whatever the City Council / mayor decide is reasonable.

It's not like your average work group union. The fiduciary duty of a CEO is to the shareholders. He will bargain hard. A mayor only wants to get elected. He doesn't care about fiduciary duty. Nor does he pay the cost. A mayor can get re-elected by stealing money from 1 group to pay another (his friends).

Cities and states rarely go bankrupt (again because of their tax power). So, public unions need not fear bankruptcy. Corporate unions are tempered by the fact a new competitor could launch and bankrupt them, should their wages get too far out of line with American norms. But public unions have no such failsafe mechanism. A NJ cop can make $250k in salary and benefits, and no competing police force can launch to replace him (think of airlines). Instead, the process is much slower in public service, and the (corrupt) rewards to unions much larger.

Anti-tax capitalists are oligarchs, but so are the tax-loving public workers. The two do not balance each other out; regular people get screwed by both groups. They are both examples of anti-public sentiment.
 
ltbewr
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:18 am

Many hate that government workers get pensions and minimal cost to them health care. They forget 3 critical reason for them:

1) Low pay and crappy benefits get you low people who may not stay with the job, especially when the private sector could have paid a lot more.
2) You cannot have people who decide on how the public's money is spent influenced by the stock market or bribes if they are poorly paid.
3) Government workers do not gain credits of contributions into Social Security. That means a pension will be, except for personal savings, their only or near only monies for retirement and their health care in retirement may be their primary and maybe only place to get health care as may not be qualified for Medicare.

As to the severe limits on collective bargaining in the Wisconsin bill, yes it does set a dangerous precedent to all Americans. It is an attempt of the 'oligarchs' or more exactly the plutocrats to take more money for their selfish selves. It opens up the door for more jobs to be subject to abuse by politicians as people may not want to piss the bosses off asking for their reasonable work rights, those politicians making sure their contributing friends get the 'cushy jobs' or extorting staff to make political contributions, or do work on government time or money.

I think what should be done in Wisconsin would be to have a progressive contribution plan for health care. If you work part time, or are an elected state official, you pay the full fees and higher deductibles. You work in a job as a clerk making $35,000/yr, full time, maybe you pay 5% max, if making $100K, you pay 60-75% of your benefit costs and over $100K, you pay 100%. A like policy with pensions, the more you make, you have to contribute a higher % of the costs.

Some other ways to cut state costs: Go after the political cesspools of regional and local commissions. As much as I despise our Gov. Christie in NJ, one good thing he did recently was to dissmiss most of the commissioners of a large regional sewerage commission, had dismiss leading to the arrest of a number of employees who were having there underlings do stuff at their homes and that of relatives, fired a lot of useless jobs holders who often got big pay and top bennies.
Make major cuts in the sports programs at Colleges. Why should a college football or basketball coach get millions and college in state monies when the professors are on tiny pay and no benefits, or charging students more in tutitions and fees while 'student-athletes' that are not much as students get a free ride. The deans and other college executives all need a major cut in their pay and bennies as well. Go after those that get state contracts, to make sure their rich owners don't get so rich doing government projects. End 'pay to play' as to those seeking contracts with the state, that is putting in severe limits on campaign contributions and goodies going to the politicians who vote on those contracts. Go after those businesses that use illegal persons as day workers instead of using those the state is paying unemployment to.

Beyond the govt' workers unions losing their rights, what will happen next? More rich people finding new ways to make it more difficult to register to vote or vote itself, cutting more benefits to the poor and middle class, raising fees, limiting access to the courts for civil and criminal matters, cramming more kids in each school class. it is a slippery slope and I hope some of those rich people get caught in the downhill slide and become impoverished due to their greed.
 
cargolex
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:21 am

Quote:
While their actual pay may indeed be less than relavent private sector workers (I don't believe this correct but I'll give him this one) it is the conditions of their employment which are often out of step with the rest of us, namely defined benefit pensions, excessive sick pay, holiday and maternity entitlements, a lack of accountability (they can't be fired), etc.

You know, you could look at this two ways.

The first is, I think, what you are saying - which is "Public workers have it better than everybody else because of these unions and that's out of step with the current world."

The other way, I think, is this:

Public workers are the last workers that are defending the ground gained by all workers in the late 19th and early 20th century. Other workers seem to have become okay with getting less and less for their work - and I include myself in that, since I'm not a member of a union and in just the 12 years in which I've been working professionally I've seen everything get cut and wages, while mine have personally risen, not keep pace with inflation or the cost of living.

If the public sector workers in Wisconsin are the last bastion of organizing to get better working conditions and more for your work, then we should back them up and demand more for our work. People in Wisconsin fought and died for the right to collective bargaining and the working conditions we take for granted today (like the idea of weekends).

I take it as an examination of the P&L ratio - the average worker seems content to get less for their labor, why is that? Is it not a very capitalist idea to want more money (or if not money, then benefits like vacation and healthcare, which equate to additional wages) for what you do?

Quote:
If this isn't a PATCO moment I don't know what qualifies.

To my mind, it looks a lot more like Frank Lorenzo making Continental bankrupt when it really wasn't so that he could void union agreements and break those employees.

It's pure union busting. If the governor doesn't actually care about the financial gain - and he literally stated he did not - then there is nothing further to discuss.
 
thegreatRDU
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:32 am

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 18):
especially when the private sector could have paid a lot more.

How are we in this situation in the first place?

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 18):
2) You cannot have people who decide on how the public's money is spent influenced by the stock market or bribes if they are poorly paid.

Nobody said eliminate their pensions....and they are not poorly paid...

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 18):
3) Government workers do not gain credits of contributions into Social Security. That means a pension will be, except for personal savings, their only or near only monies for retirement and their health care in retirement may be their primary and maybe only place to get health care as may not be qualified for Medicare.

Nothing wrong with that....paying 0% or next to nothing and leaving everything at the expense of a hard working private sector employee is wrong...
Our Returning Champion
 
Ken777
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:38 am

Quoting windy95 (Reply 12):
I will give you a hint, it was not the rich.

Ya gotta be kidding!         

The Republicans delivered big time for the rich when W got into office.

Quoting windy95 (Reply 12):
Yes that would be the sequel to Obamacare and Porkulus

Lack of health reform before Obama was elected had a big impact on increased medical bankruptcies. Even with W's candy to the financial sector with "Bankruptcy Reform" medical bankruptcies have been a huge problem.

As far as the stimulus money goes, your preference was obviously to let the "market make its adjustment".

That would have been called a depression. Might still be, now that the Tea Party has the Republican Party by the testicles.

Quoting windy95 (Reply 12):
living off his investment income which is taxed at a lower rate.

So we need to re-look at the lower investment income rate?

Or bought it?

Contributions to RepublicansTea Party Candidates who will support lower taxes to the top rate was pretty substantial. The more money you have the more you can "motivate" politicians.

I have no problems with avoiding the double taxation of dividends, but believe the tax break be on the corporate side, not the individual side. That puts the decisions on the companies as to investing more money into growth (like R&D, new plant or equipment) or in delivering cash to shareholders.

One look at Apple shows that the tax rate of investment income has no relation on either dividend decisions or share price.

Quoting windy95 (Reply 12):
And if he feels so bad why does he not then volunteer more money to the treasury to save his embarrassment.

He's actually joined with Bill Gates to encourage the wealthiest to give half of their wealth to philanthropic programs, and has committed to do so himself.

Quoting dxing (Reply 13):
that is not a problem with Wisconsin teachers as they achieve tenure

And that might not be an issue if the best teachers there get picked off by other states that want them. I would call that head hunting heaven. Find out the schools that perform the best and see who their teachers are.

Quoting dxing (Reply 13):
so you can keep your precious SS benefits intact

And why am I surprised that you're still working hard to take them away?

Or are you worried that the politicians will start noticing that tax free ride you are getting on your 401K?

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 14):
I would wager heavily that you do not actually know what this means or implies.

Don't wager more than your excess weight, I do understand taxes a bit, learned both the US and Aussie tax issues when I had a business down there while living here.

So, yes, I understand various tax issues, like the difference between GST and sales taxes. I understand user fees.

And I do understand how to look at taxes as both dollars and percentages.

Quoting zalemam (Reply 16):
I can't think of a country that can attack the US and not suffer a horrible defeat.

Not a country, but our own upper class seem to be doing pretty well.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:10 am

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 21):
Don't wager more than your excess weight, I do understand taxes a bit, learned both the US and Aussie tax issues when I had a business down there while living here.

Then step up to the plate tax guru. Explain the implications of Warren Buffet's claim.
 
PPVRA
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Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 7:48 am

RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:22 am

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 19):
Is it not a very capitalist idea to want more money (or if not money, then benefits like vacation and healthcare, which equate to additional wages) for what you do?

Bargaining is indeed capitalistic at its core, which is why I don't have a problem with the idea of unions. However, any negotiations with the state is not a capitalistic one. Nor is it capitalistic for us to pass laws that tilt the bargaining power in favor of unions or companies or states. That is simply corrupt or criminal at worse, regardless of which way you choose to tilt bargaining power.

Justice is blind, it should not look at your wallet to make decisions.

[Edited 2011-02-21 19:26:25]
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
Superfly
Posts: 37735
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:25 am

How about a flat tax?
A true flat tax with NO homeowner's tax deduction, no child tax credit, no charitable donations tax credits, etc.?
Renters, single people and those with no children are punished under the current tax system.
Bring back the Concorde
 
Ken777
Topic Author
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:40 am

Quoting dfwrevolution (Reply 22):
Then step up to the plate tax guru.

You don't need to be a guru to understand what he was trying to say.

Just like it doesn't take a PhD to understand him when he said he can afford to pay "more taxes" while a lot of people were trying to coddle the top tax rate payer.
 
BMI727
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:24 am

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 11):
Especially when it is going in the opposite direction than your think it is.

Taking from the rich to give to the poor is a great way to run a charity, but it's a piss poor way to run a country.

Quoting zalemam (Reply 16):
Cutting the defense budget is the #1

That's the last thing that should be cut.

Quoting zalemam (Reply 16):
...and Jobs

And the best way to create jobs is to slash the defense budget. And then we can all stand on street corners and lament about how America is falling behind in math, science, and technology and isn't generating enough high paying jobs for educated people.

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 18):
Why should a college football or basketball coach get millions and college in state monies

Because those groups bring in millions for the colleges. Major college sports is big business, and the revenue sports are responsible for subsidizing the rest of the athletic department.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
Mir
Posts: 19093
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:34 am

Quoting dxing (Reply 13):
They were unable to reach an agreement with the previous administration and State legislature, both democratic party controlled. They only agreed now to try and forestall the loss of their collective bargaining rights.

And it's to Walker's credit that he was able to get them to agree to that by playing hardball, which I doubt the Democrats were willing to do. But now that he's gotten the concessions that he needs, he needs to do some compromising of his own and let them keep the collective bargaining rights instead of letting this drag on and on.

Quoting dxing (Reply 13):
Meanwhile the democratic legislature members have abandoned their responsibilities and fled the State.

As far as I know, they're not doing anything illegal, so that's for the voters of their respective districts to decide next election cycle. And if I were such a voter, I'd have no problem with what they're doing now the unions have agreed to the necessary benefit cuts.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
seb146
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:36 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 26):
Taking from the rich to give to the poor is a great way to run a charity, but it's a piss poor way to run a country.

Why were all these right-wingers screaming and crying because of the fear of the "death tax" being raised? How many people does that effect, really? How much would it have been raised? How many middle and lower class people would be effected by the "death tax" or a tax on transfer of weath? Why was that such a big issue?

Back on topic: I have heard for a week now from liberal talk radio about taking away collective barganing in Wisconsin. They have all been asking the same thing: How does that save the budget? They have also been asking why the governor gave away millions of dollars to special interests that could have plugged this budget shortfall? No one seems to be asking that question, either.
Life in the wall is a drag.
 
Superfly
Posts: 37735
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:45 am

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 18):
Why should a college football or basketball coach get millions and college in state monies when the professors are on tiny pay and no benefits, or charging students more in tutitions and fees while 'student-athletes' that are not much as students get a free ride.

Aren't those deciscions made by the colleges themselves? Doesn't the Associated Student Body and board of regents determine how their funds are divided?

Quoting zalemam (Reply 16):
Especially on military spending! I can't think of a country that can attack the US and not suffer a horrible defeat.

Well no single 'country' can attack the US but there is certainly a religious/political ideology that has already waged war with the US as well as the rest of the world that don't follow their religious/political ideology.
The money that goes to the military is to develop technology to go after our enemies with fewer troops and thus saving our own lives and sparing the lives of innocent people behind enemy lines.
Sophisticated high-tech weaponry prevents the need for a military draft. Therefore some college aged students can avoid combat and have the freedom to be indoctrinated with anti-US propaganda by tenured professors that can never survive in the private sector.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 26):
Taking from the rich to give to the poor is a great way to run a charity, but it's a piss poor way to run a country.

The Bush/Obama tax cuts hasn't seem to be working for the poor nor is it working for the government either.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 26):
then we can all stand on street corners and lament about how America is falling behind in math, science, and technology and isn't generating enough high paying jobs for educated people.

They can be community organizers.  

[Edited 2011-02-21 20:46:30]

[Edited 2011-02-21 20:47:42]
Bring back the Concorde
 
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WarRI1
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:35 am

[quote=dxing,reply=13]Meanwhile the democratic legislature members have abandoned their responsibilities and fled the State. They too are practicing fraud and should be recalled.


I provided a link to a story about the Republican Senators abandoning their posts in Rhode Island in 1924, and fleeing to Vermont for 6 months to avoid a voting rights issue. I wonder why I have have not seen a condemnation of those fine folks. It was in the Thread titled Wisconsin Governor threatens to use National Guard. We are talking 2011 now, this other incident was in 1924. I would have to say the Republicans have no right to condemn 2011 legislators, when they did the same thing in 1924. I still have to wonder why my link was ignored by the Republicans on here. Let us be fair, attemped denial of voting rights in 1924, sounds a lot worse than legislators trying to defend workers benefits now.
It is better to die on your feet, than live on your knees.
 
cargolex
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:55 am

Quote:
Taking from the rich to give to the poor is a great way to run a charity, but it's a piss poor way to run a country.

Virtually all evidence points to the fact that over the last decade, tax structure has shifted wealth away from the poor and middle class to the wealthy. While the wealthy have gotten more wealth and the super-wealthy have gotten ALOT more wealthy, most people who aren't wealthy have basically been treading water or falling behind.

I hear the right wing crow alot about how bad "redistribution of wealth" is, but it seems like they don't mind as long as it's distribution upward. There's got to be a huge hole in logic somewhere around here, since there are millions of Republicans who aren't wealthy and it seems like they are the most likely to yammer on about socialism and redistribution of wealth.

[Edited 2011-02-22 00:00:17]
 
Superfly
Posts: 37735
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:08 am

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 31):
Virtually all evidence points to the fact that over the last decade, tax structure has shifted wealth away from the poor and middle class to the wealthy. While the wealthy have gotten more wealth and the super-wealthy have gotten ALOT more wealthy, most people who aren't wealthy have basically been treading water or falling behind.

I hear the right wing crow alot about how bad "redistribution of wealth" is, but it seems like they don't mind as long as it's distribution upward. There's got to be a huge hole in logic somewhere around here, since there are millions of Republicans who aren't wealthy and it seems like they are the most likely to yammer on about socialism and redistribution of wealth.

  
Very true.
Would have been even worse if Cap & Trade had passed. All of those rich frauds that were co-sponsors and their friends at Goldman Sachs would have became ultra-wealthy at the expense of the poor with higher larbor rates. Taxing goods & services at every stage of production hurts the poor the most.
Bring back the Concorde
 
dxing
Posts: 5859
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:41 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 24):
Renters, single people and those with no children are punished under the current tax system.

While I agree with your flat tax proposal I have to ask how renters are punished, or don't you believe that a renter gets a better deal by just being able to pick up the phone and get a repair made without any extra cost? How is a single person punished? The child deduction doesn't even begin to cover what it costs to raise a child on an annual basis.

Quoting Mir (Reply 27):
nd let them keep the collective bargaining rights instead of letting this drag on and on.

They are being allowed to keep their collective bargaining rights for pay in the agreement on hand. It is collective bargaining for perks that is being stripped. Perks like:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/08/06/health/main6748776.shtml


(AP) With the district in a financial crisis and hundreds of its members facing layoffs, the Milwaukee teachers union is taking a peculiar stand: fighting to get its taxpayer-funded Viagra back.

should there be any wonder why the teachers union does not enjoy broad support for their current stance?

Quoting Mir (Reply 27):

As far as I know, they're not doing anything illegal,

If they accept pay for the period of time they are absent without cause, that would be fraud.

Quoting WarRI1 (Reply 30):
I would have to say the Republicans have no right to condemn 2011 legislators, when they did the same thing in 1924.

You're not serious? Do you hold desendants of slave owners just as responsible for slavery in this country?
Warm winds blowing, heating blue skies, a road that goes forever, I'm going to Texas!
 
windy95
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:29 pm

Quoting WarRI1 (Reply 30):
I provided a link to a story about the Republican Senators abandoning their posts in Rhode Island in 1924, and fleeing to Vermont for 6 months to avoid a voting rights issue. I wonder why I have have not seen a condemnation of those fine folks.
Quoting WarRI1 (Reply 30):
I still have to wonder why my link was ignored by the Republicans on here.




It was ignored because it was ludicrous to compare 1924 to now...If it makes you feel better I will condemn those dead Republican Senators from 1924..Get back to work .  
 
cargolex
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:42 pm

Quote:

It was ignored because it was ludicrous to compare 1924 to now...If it makes you feel better I will condemn those dead Republican Senators from 1924..Get back to work

Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.
 
Ken777
Topic Author
Posts: 9046
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:10 pm

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 31):
Virtually all evidence points to the fact that over the last decade, tax structure has shifted wealth away from the poor and middle class to the wealthy.

  

Quoting dxing (Reply 33):
They are being allowed to keep their collective bargaining rights for pay in the agreement on hand.

They would be able to "negotiate" a pay increase up to, and only up to, the cost of living increases. that would mean that the Republicans would be able to give themselves a COLA increase and then "negotiate" with other state workers for a lower rate.

The business community is probably licking their lips over this. Their ability to reduce private employees needs to start with government workers "to lead the way".

And you'll notice that benefits are the prime focus here. What is paid and how it is negotiated.

You might want to follow that trend with extra care if you get expensive benefits.


Quoting dxing (Reply 33):
The child deduction doesn't even begin to cover what it costs to raise a child on an annual basis.

That's not how it works.

You have two tax issues per child.

The first is the traditional tax exemption, which is about $3,650 per exemption. You use your total exemptions to reduce your taxable income before calculating your tax.

And then there is the Chile Tax Credit. That is basically a $1,000 cash handout from the government that was used to help Newt become Speaker of the House some years back. If that $1,000 hand out was in Australia it would be called something like a Child Endowment and would be sent to the mother of the children. But Newt was a Republican and couldn't have a socialist leaning name for his handout so he called it a tax credit.

It would be interesting to know just how much this handout has cost since it was put into law.

Quoting dxing (Reply 33):
that would be fraud.

Not as long as the complete their contract and teach the required number of hours for the school year. Schools are flexible in that regard.

And, in reality, a lot of teachers take their pay for the school year and spread it over 12 months - meaning that the state would be ahead of the game right now.
 
BMI727
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:59 pm

Quoting seb146 (Reply 28):
How many middle and lower class people would be effected by the "death tax" or a tax on transfer of weath?

A lot. The estate tax is a load of crap. It is taxing money that has already been taxed but has not created any value. As for who it affects, look no further than family run farms. Such businesses are capital rich but cash poor, and many farmers may be millionaires on paper with assets like land and equipment. Then, when dad dies, the estate tax kicks end and the family has to pay to keep the farm they already own or else sell the farm to pay the death tax on it.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 31):
While the wealthy have gotten more wealth and the super-wealthy have gotten ALOT more wealthy,

How is that any of our problem? What gives any of us the right to decide that they are too rich and they owe us some of their fortune?
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
cargolex
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:19 pm

Quote:
How is that any of our problem? What gives any of us the right to decide that they are too rich and they owe us some of their fortune?

The rich have gotten richer because they have the means to influence policy - in particular, tax policies enacted by the Republican party, which have overwhelmingly favored the rich over the past decade. In essence, they've been helped to get rich at the sacrifice of everybody else. You're suggesting that it should only work one way - that the rich should not have to sacrifice anything but it's okay for everybody else to have to sacrifice.

Basically, what you're saying is that you're okay with a "landed gentry" in America.

Why is this our problem? I'll give you an example. Art Robinson and Citizens United.

Who is Art Robinson? He was a candidate running for the US House of Representatives in Oregon against Democratic incumbent Peter DeFazio. Robinson is a nutbar, espousing theories about how radiation is actually good for people and the like. Robinson would have had absolutely no chance of contesting that seat if it were not for the billions of dollars poured into helping his campaign by one single billionaire living in New York State.

That's right. One guy - who does not live anywhere near the district that Robinson and DeFazio were contesting, poured millions and millions of dollars into campaigning for Robinson - often anonymously.

When President Obama criticized the Citizens United Decision in the 2010 State of the Union as giving individuals and corporations the unchecked ability to buy elections by pouring money on them, Justice Alito mouthed "That's not true."

But it is true. And it was true in 2010. Justice Alito was completely wrong - the decision did indeed open the floodgates for corporations and wealthy individuals to spend spend spend until they get their way politically.

Now it happens that Art Robinson is just so crazy that even with all that help, he could not defeat DeFazio. Even with a boatload of money, you can only get so far. But it did help, say, Alan West - who bragged during his campaign that he had a security clearance higher than that of President Obama, among other absurd things he said.

Allowing the wealthy to dominate all aspects of American life leads to effective disenfranchisement for people who are not wealthy. If you have the means, you effectively can influence elections and decisions at the highest level - meaning that you may be one man, but you get more than one vote.

The very title of this thread is "The American Oligarchy" - because that is what we are becoming. A Country where the middle class and poor are sort of spat upon by the Republican Leadership while the wealthy get to do whatever they want and change the rules if they cannot.

Our country was founded and structured the way it was so that there would be no nobility, no upper classes. Although our founding fathers were a product of a class system, they were rejecting the traditional English Economic classes when they declared our independence - because colonists were always at the bottom of that food chain.
 
windy95
Posts: 2658
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:23 pm

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 35):
Quote:

It was ignored because it was ludicrous to compare 1924 to now...If it makes you feel better I will condemn those dead Republican Senators from 1924..Get back to work

Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

So I guess the Dems in WI and IN now had not learned anything from History.
 
cargolex
Posts: 1201
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:20 pm

RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:34 pm

Quote:
So I guess the Dems in WI and IN now had not learned anything from History.

I think what they learned is that you have to make personal sacrifices to earn things for your constituents. I suppose your point, and it's hard to tell since you always make such nonsensical "points," is that they haven't learned that they should shut up and take it.

That's not how it's done in Wisconsin.

In 1886, seven people were killed by police because they were marching (peacefully) for the right to an eight hour day. Those struggles mean something to people in Wisconsin and they should mean something to you. Just because something didn't happen five minutes ago doesn't mean it isn't very, very relevant.
 
PPVRA
Posts: 7878
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 7:48 am

RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:48 pm

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 38):
The rich have gotten richer because they have the means to influence policy - in particular, tax policies enacted by the Republican party, which have overwhelmingly favored the rich over the past decade. In essence, they've been helped to get rich at the sacrifice of everybody else. You're suggesting that it should only work one way - that the rich should not have to sacrifice anything but it's okay for everybody else to have to sacrifice.

The middle class and the "poor" have made some people rich by their own choice, because the now "rich" produced highly desirable products that improved the lives of those people. Nobody "sacrificed" anything whatsoever!

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 38):
When President Obama criticized the Citizens United Decision in the 2010 State of the Union as giving individuals and corporations the unchecked ability to buy elections by pouring money on them, Justice Alito mouthed "That's not true."

But it is true. And it was true in 2010. Justice Alito was completely wrong - the decision did indeed open the floodgates for corporations and wealthy individuals to spend spend spend until they get their way politically.

Buying elections is what the Democrats do when they promise welfare and other "goodies" to the bottom 51%. That is flat out buying elections.

Spending money to persuade voters is never, EVER the same as "buying" elections.

This is elementary logic.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 38):
Our country was founded and structured the way it was so that there would be no nobility, no upper classes.

No nobility, sure. No upper classes? Where the hell did you get that idea from?

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government.


"...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 the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government." -- Thomas Jefferson

Yes indeed, Thomas Jefferson refused the traditional "English Economic" classes. Too bad it didn't last!
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
cargolex
Posts: 1201
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RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:51 pm

Quote:
Buying elections is what the Democrats do when they promise welfare and other "goodies" to the bottom 51%. That is flat out buying elections.

You mean to suggest that providing social safety nets is buying elections while lowering tax rates for earned income and pouring money into campaigns is not?

Irrational. I feel like I'm listening to you chant "Kill, kill, kill, kill kill the poor..."

[Edited 2011-02-22 12:55:32]
 
windy95
Posts: 2658
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:11 pm

RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:03 pm

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 40):
I think what they learned is that you have to make personal sacrifices to earn things for your constituents. I suppose your point, and it's hard to tell since you always make such nonsensical "points," is that they haven't learned that they should shut up and take it.

That's not how it's done in Wisconsin

Yes they should shut up and take it..They lost the House and the Governers office. They are doing what they told voters and taxpayers they would do and now the Dems are going against the will of the voters in order to save their piggy bank the unions. Suck it up take your loses and live to fight another day. That is what we had to deal with on porkulus and Obamacare. But not showing up and not doing your job is not an option the people will take lightly.
 
NWAESC
Posts: 859
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 1:02 pm

RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:06 pm

Quoting windy95 (Reply 12):
No he passed two tax cuts that would help with job growth.

Great. Remind us all where those jobs are, then. By most counts jobs have declined under Walker's short watch, and none of his actions yet have spurred growth (or laid the groundwork for future growth).

Quoting thegreatRDU (Reply 15):
All we need to do is have universal health care, Australian or Dutch style....removing the burden off the backs of employers making labor more competitive.....
Next cut the military/defense spending by 60-70% and reinvest the savings in the social safety nets which do need some slight re-tweaking...eliminating the need for pensions maybe.....

We should be so lucky.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 40):
That's not how it's done in Wisconsin.

Good.

Quote:
In 1886, seven people were killed by police because they were marching (peacefully) for the right to an eight hour day. Those struggles mean something to people in Wisconsin and they should mean something to you. Just because something didn't happen five minutes ago doesn't mean it isn't very, very relevant.

That'd be Bayview, which just happens to be Chris Larson's district.
"Nothing ever happens here, " I said. "I just wait."
 
PPVRA
Posts: 7878
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 7:48 am

RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:08 pm

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 42):
You mean to suggest that providing social safety nets is buying elections while lowering tax rates for earned income and pouring money into campaigns is not?

Pouring money into a campaign may buy you a candidate, but it does not buy you an election. You still need to persuade thousands if not millions of people to vote for you.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
Ken777
Topic Author
Posts: 9046
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:39 am

RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:46 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 37):
It is taxing money that has already been taxed but has not created any value.

You are forgetting that those with over $5,000,000.00 in disclosed estates have had the benefits of tax and estate planning for a long time. They have been able to direct money at tax minimizing (or eliminating) programs. They may have been hiding money over seas - just ask USB about that. Don't feel that sorry for them.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 37):
As for who it affects, look no further than family run farms.

And how much has the taxpayer supported the family farm over the years?

It's a two way street. Families can start estate planning early, but at some point they have to return something.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 37):
What gives any of us the right to decide that they are too rich and they owe us some of their fortune?

Estate taxes have been around for a very long time. Right now you can pass on $5,000,000.00 without paying a penny. That, of course, doesn't exclude all that you have hidden over the years.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 38):
Justice Alito was completely wrong

But do you believe he will correct himself?         

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 41):
Buying elections is what the Democrats do when they promise welfare and other "goodies" to the bottom 51%.

Or what Newt did when he promised the $1,000.00 per child handout?

A $1,000.00 per child "goodie" is pretty hard for anyone to miss.

How much is that costing us per year? Can we afford it?

How much have we paid out in total? How does that impact the national debt?

And how much is the annual deficit interest costs for the hand out related national debt?

But, hey, Newt did get his way.

Quoting windy95 (Reply 43):
Suck it up take your loses and live to fight another day.

Doesn't bother me for the long term.

I believe that the Republican/Tea Party are pulling the pendulum too far to the right and may be very surprised in the end when it swings back further left than they thought possible.

You do remember how political pendulums work?

Quoting windy95 (Reply 43):
porkulus

Check how much Senator McConnell pulled into his state in the past 10 years. And we'll see if Boehner actually has lost the fighter engine battle.

McConnell will still bring home the bacon, as will Boehner.

And Boehner will still get his fighter engine.
 
cargolex
Posts: 1201
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:20 pm

RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:57 pm

Quote:
Yes they should shut up and take it.

No, they should not. They should do their best to preserve the rights that workers struggled so hard for an fought (and died) to get if that is what their constituents want them to do, and plainly it is.

Winning an election doesn't give you the right to strip away people's rights, wages, and benefits just because you think Unions are bad or "socialist" or whatever other nonsense the right wing will throw at this issue.

Quote:
That is what we had to deal with on porkulus and Obamacare.

Republicans got the chance to shape those programs into what they wanted at EVERY opportunity. In the case of the stimulus, they got more tax cuts and reduced infrastructure spending. That's how compromise works - and democracy is compromise. In the case of the AFFORDABLE CARE ACT they were given lots of chances to contribute and reform and used that time to launch frivolous ammendments and talk about death panels. They abdicated their responsibility to govern by not contributing but just sitting around taking dunderheaded pot shots at anybody who suggested that they should reform healthcare. In the end, they got a plan pretty much identical to the one they themselves proposed back in 1993 as an alternative to the Clinton plan.

In this case, these state senators are exercising the only option left to them by a Governor who is not interested in representational government or compromise. And I applaud them for the courage they are showing by doing it. They may get booted out in the next election (although I rather think that this has made them heroes, not villains, in their districts) but at least they stand for something substantive.

Quote:
But not showing up and not doing your job is not an option the people will take lightly.

Voters don't seem to have gotten very mad at the Republicans for completely ignoring their jobs during this current congressional session. Remember that jobs agenda? Tabled in favor of radical right-wing anti-abortion legislation.
 
cargolex
Posts: 1201
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:20 pm

RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:59 pm

Quote:
Pouring money into a campaign may buy you a candidate, but it does not buy you an election. You still need to persuade thousands if not millions of people to vote for you.

Millions of dollars buys you media. And Rupert Murdoch's millions have convinced a sizeable chunk of the American electorate that Barack Obama is a Muslim Antichrist. If millions of dollars can raise a candidate like Art Robinson from the briny deep to actual contention, think about what it can do for a more mediagenic candidate who isn't saying things like "radiation is good for you."
 
BMI727
Posts: 11099
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:29 pm

RE: The American Oligarchy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:19 pm

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 46):
. They have been able to direct money at tax minimizing (or eliminating) programs. They may have been hiding money over seas - just ask USB about that.

Considering the American tax structure, who in their right mind wouldn't?

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 46):
It's a two way street. Families can start estate planning early, but at some point they have to return something.

It's not that easy. You can't send your combine to the Cayman Islands.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?

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