Congressional channel surfing

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is in his sixth hour of a true filibuster, not the fake procedural variety that Republican Senators have used for years to tie up Democratic legislation, in a gesture against the tax deal worked out between Republican leaders and President Obama. House Democrats turned on their fearless leader yesterday by rejecting the proposal which continues Bush era tax cuts and extends the reach of the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax credit and other measures aimed at shoring up the middle class and opening a back door to stimulus spending.

The Sanders show is not the only interesting viewing today from Congress-TV. Take a gander at Ron Paul deconstructing the outrage over wikileaks. It ain't HBO, but it ain't bad either!


And here's another recent performance from Sanders that went somewhat viral (or at least as viral as a C-Span capture is ever likely to get):

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Stanley Kopacz
8 years 1 month ago
The wonders for the working class.  Such as the wholesale deportation of jobs to China and India.  The massive unavailability of medical insurance.  The attendant stagnation in domestic wages.  The wonderful opportunities for the children of the working class to become mercenaries in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Yes, the wonders for the working class never cease.  I'm sure there are more to come and the middle class will come to share in them.

ANd our interference in the governments of other countries is not for some great principles or our security.  It is mainly to support the interests of big business, whether cheap labor, exploitation of natural resources for cheap, importation of subsidized foodstuffs or enclosure of the commons. 

I don't like Republican politicians and I don't much care for the Republicrats.  But Independent Bernie Sanders has testicular fortitude and principle.
8 years 1 month ago
I should have added to my previous comment that a strong attitude in favor or socialism stems from a sense of fairness.  That is, socialism best distributes society's resources to the masses.  That is a noble objective and several years ago affected my attitudes on how to govern.  However, my analysis of what makes things work and provides benefits for the masses has led me to an understanding of the negative impact that socialistic thinking and policies has had on society.  In some places it has been immensely negative.

The alternative is some form of capitalism and over the last 200 years capitalism has undergone a lot of changes and there are many forms of it.  If someone has  the time, there is a good course on capitalism distributed by the Teaching Company and the professor who provides the lectures is from Catholic University.  His name is Jerry Muller.  A link to the course is 
Marie Rehbein
8 years 1 month ago
Excuse me, Norman and JR, you actually believe that lower taxes are the cure for every economic ill, or are you under the impression that non-delusional people could validly believe such a thing?  It seems to me that people often claim someone is engaging in ad hominem attacks in order to deflect attention from the argument at hand.
Tom Maher
8 years 1 month ago
Oh boy.   Taxation does cut into "capital formation" - amounts of fresh captial - money - needed for new investments (as oppossed to refinancing already existing investment).  If a larger part of the money in an economy is going into taxes than will not be going into new investments.  Who is being taxed is irrelevant.  So if you want more inveestments which is a prerequisite for creating new jobs do not raise taxes in the middle of a sever recession.  Only a committed socialist expects the goverment to do a better job at creating jobs tha the private sector.  Yet after the 800 billion dollar stimulous package two year ago we have very little jobs or anything else to show for it.

People do not get the imp[ortance of small business who usually file their buiness taxes as individual taxes.  If these guy as lucky enough to make a profit at all this profit usually goes right back into the business which employs a large part of the American workforce.  Again only committeed socialist with a visceral and irrational hatred of captialism and private buinesses would want the small business work force impacted by rasing taxes. 

Raising????????????? ???t?axes impact?s? investment and job creation.?    ?? ?
Marie Rehbein
8 years 1 month ago
The situation in which the Republicans have to abandon their negativity in order to not lose the tax breaks is at least as entertaining as Bernie Sanders.  Unless they take the lead and actually do something rather than prevent something from being done, everyone's taxes will go up - so unRepublican.

(By the way, Forbes magazine had a fairly comprehensive article about what the impact would be if the tax breaks expire.

Bernie Sanders believes that a better deal could be worked out than has been negotiated between the President and the Republicans.  Maybe, but if so, then why weren't they working on it before now?  What I see is Democrats who are insulted that they were not included in the negotiations and who feel emasculated, perhaps, because they got so little of what they wanted despite having majorities in both houses.
8 years 1 month ago
A few comments:

Paul Ryan and David Brooks had a debate a week ago and it was very good.  Here is a link for those who want to watch the debate

It was about the size of government and Brooks' theme of compromise came up.  I am not sure that I would have used Ted Kennedy as an example of one who compromises as Brooks does in his article.  He has a peculiar memory of things.

Second: the ideological discussion started at the very beginning by using the videos of Sanders and Paul.  That was pure ideological baiting.

Third: socialism is intellectually bankrupt because it never works and inevitably leads to severe harm of the people.  The evidence support this so why does it have advocates.  Those who recommend it are morally bankrupt because they then recommend a system that harms the people. In Sanders's case, I find it curious that someone who says he is interested in the working person would support a system that harms that person.  No system is perfect but socialism has little going for it other than the strong emotional attachment it generates amongst it adherents who say they are doing good when there is no history of this approach ever doing so.  

My personal observation is that support of socialism is more based on a hate of those that succeed and less on a concern for the betterment of those at the lower end of the economic scale.  Just look at the vitriol coming from the left on this.  And look at what Marx wrote.
8 years 1 month ago
I am sorry if I am posting too often but some things have to be said.  Is the debate over tax cuts for the rich or not or is over jobs.  If the Republicans were playing the political game, going to the wall for a small number of voters does not make sense.  The biggest gainers by the tax cut is Wall Street which has been a Democratic party cash cow for several years now.  It is certainly not people like myself since I have never been close to the maximum rate.  Maybe the Republicans will get some additional funding from Wall Street but during the recent election, local Wall Street people said they were voting for the Democrats.  Wall Street gets its money through bond trading and not stocks or normal commerce.  And government policy dictates that.
But the debate is over jobs and one can find all sorts of people to support their positions.  There has been a history of lower taxes fueling expansion and encouraging entrepreneurs to start new companies.  The Wall Street crowd who are the biggest recipients of the lower tax rates are not the target.  The target is those who start and expand businesses which lead job creation.  This is what fueled all the job creation since 1980 and it is the main hope of eventually eliminating the unemployment problem we now have.
This is a long and involved discussion and cannot be solved on these pages but when one takes a position on something like these tax rates, it eventually either pays out in better jobs for everyone or not and hence better tax collections.  A lot of people will point to the late Clinton presidency when the budget had a surplus.  One of the main things that fueled that surplus was a sharp reduction in the capital gains taxes in 1996 that led to a more than doubling of taxes collected.  It helped tremendously that at the time the Dot Com bubble was happening
So my point being that the debate is over what policy works best.  And that is what is not debated here.  One side just assumes it has the moral high road because they have good intentions and the other doubts that they have such a moral position and may in fact be backing the immoral one.

Marie Rehbein
8 years 1 month ago
JR Cosgrove,

Sorry, but the tax rates have been in place for many years, and they have not helped create jobs.  The current situation exists despite these tax rates.
8 years 1 month ago
''Sorry, but the tax rates have been in place for many years, and they have not helped create jobs.  The current situation exists despite these tax rates.''

They most certainly did help job creation.  The tax rates were instituted in 2001 and 2003.  There was a recession starting in late 2000 that lasted into 2001 and then 9/11 caused a large disruption in the economy as the economy lost 2.2 million jobs in these two years. mostly in 2001.  Between 2003 and 2007 there were 7.8 million jobs added to the economy as the taxes started to be effective.  So the tax rate structure was producing jobs at a good rate.  The economy was also affected by low interest rates.

In 2008-2009 there was 8.4 million jobs lost due to the sub prime mortgage crisis.  In 2010 so far there has been 950,000 jobs added, much less than normal in a recession.  The current unemployment problems today were caused by the financial crisis due to the sub prime mortgage defaults.  The tax rates had nothing to do with the loss of jobs.

By not raising taxes they have prevented further job losses.  I know of no one who thinks that raising taxes would not effect the economy negatively.  The discussion was over which groups to keep taxes at a the present levels.  Here is a chart of employment recovery from previous recessions.

The website which discusses this chart is at

The current unemployment situation is the worse since the great Depression and many economist are worried about making it worse which is what higher tax rates would do. 
Marie Rehbein
8 years 1 month ago
As is often said, correlation does not equal causation.  This is true in many areas, but none so much as the mysterious machinations of the economy.  If anything, one might suggest that it helps under some circumstances, but to believe it is the cure for every economic ill is delusional.  It's not helping at the moment, so it's time to try something very different.
8 years 1 month ago
''If anything, one might suggest that it helps under some circumstances, but to believe it is the cure for every economic ill is delusional.''

Who said it was the cure for every economic ill?  Lower taxes will help as opposed to hinder.  Those policies that encourage investment and business creation are what is needed.  Not class warfare which seems to be at the root of the opposition by Democrats.  A lot of the rich do not need the money and they mostly contribute to Democrats.  People such as those on Wall Street and tort lawyers.  

Tax cuts helped in 1946 after WWII.  They helped when Johnson got Congress to pass the Kennedy tax cuts in 1964.  They helped tremendously when Reagan got his tax cuts passed in the 80's.  They helped dramatically when Clinton and the Republican Congress lowered the capital gains taxes in the late 90's and they helped when Bush lowered them in 2001 and 2003.  High taxes were also one of the main drags in the Great Depression.

No one is expecting the current tax rates to be a panacea, just not an inhibitor.  The thing that would help the most would be the dismantling of the health care law and the recent financial bill and sensible legislation passed instead.  The legislation passed by the Democrats has created a large uncertainty within the business community and future costs are unknown.  Businesses will only hire someone if they think that person will contribute to profits, not if they are more expensive than what they can contribute.  The Democrats have made hiring decisions much more risky and expensive.  They are hurting the poor.

Also you have a habit of making offensive comments.  It is one thing to disagree, it is quite another to resort to ad hominems.
8 years 1 month ago
''I think that is a very good observation. The intellectually and morally corrupt should take that to heart.''

I said bankrupt.  I prefer that term. There should be a debate over whether espousing socialism is intellectually and morally bankrupt.  I gave my reasons for it.  I also call atheists intellectually bankrupt because they cannot defend their position either though I don't go as far as saying they are morally bankrupt though it is possible to argue that too.  If they are an atheist one could argue that there is no such thing as morals and morally bankrupt is meaningless.

I have never seen a socialist defend their position either.  That would put them in the intellectually bankrupt category.  And socialism hurts the society in general and the poor specifically which is why I say it is morally bankrupt.  Now socialism can work in limited situations and in these situations it can be extremely fruitful.  But as a philosophy and economic system for the masses, it is as I said noxious in both its effect and its implications.

It is these things that do not get debated here.  I find that many of the author's post here to be inane at best.  There are some really great and informative threads but when it comes to economics, politics and the poor the thinking is frequently sophomoric.

Thank you for replying.
8 years 1 month ago
''you actually believe that lower taxes are the cure for every economic ill, or are you under the impression that non-delusional people could validly believe such a thing? ''

How many times must I say that I never said that before you stop repeating this non sequitur that accuses me of something I did not say and do not believe.
Vince Killoran
8 years 1 month ago
The characterization of socialism (actually, socialisms) that appear in some of these entries is simplistic and inaccurate.  It serves as a weak foundation on which to form an argument.
8 years 1 month ago
I said an atheist.  I did not say anything about theists.  All the evidence points to a creator, whether philosophical or scientific.  It does not lead to any specific creator, only a creator, a mind of immense capacity.  The evidence is overwhelming against atheism but nothing is ever assured.  And that is how it has to be.  Because once it becomes QED, everything changes.  It is no longer faith but knowledge.

Yes atheists are still intellectually bankrupt and your story of William Sloane Coffin Jr. while interesting is irrelevant.

It is also puzzling why you should bring it up.  Is it to impugn me?  It has nothing to do with socialism.  I was using atheism an example of another significant segment of society that blithely goes about their ways advocating a fashionable philosophy that is contrary to the evidence.  If socialism worked, I might be open to its adoption.  But it doesn't.  And socialism has other problems that are contrary to human nature that I actually find more objectionable than the fact that it never worked but once.

And by the way the place where it worked, was Jewish kibbutzs in Israel.  And Bernie Sanders lived in a kibbutz.  They gave it up after one generation not because it didn't work but because they did not like the secondary and tertiary implications of it.
Marie Rehbein
8 years 1 month ago
JR, I am not saying you said that, but where is the ad hominem?  What you say is that the Republican position on tax cuts is actually a concern over jobs.  I say if they think that then they are delusional. 

I disagree with you that letting the tax rate go up 4% on taxable income over $250,000 will hinder economic recovery.  It may help keep a lid on the deficit, which has a role to play in where the US lands relative to other economies in the world.
However, all in all, the more I think about it, the more I admire how the President let the Republicans put themselves in a no win situation.  Can't wait to say "checkmate".

Explain this.  Why do Republicans and Tea Partiers and some small business owners confuse the issue by speaking as if the personal income tax is the same as the tax on small business?  It isn't.  Individuals who clear $250,000 and report that on their tax return as their taxable income, don't typically create jobs with that money - unless it's the jobs for maids, gardeners, and pool boys.

Norman, not having read every post, I didn't pick up the specific reference you were making to JR's post.  Thanks for your forgiveness.
8 years 1 month ago

''Why do Republicans and Tea Partiers and some small business owners confuse the issue by speaking as if the personal income tax is the same as the tax on small business?  It isn't.  Individuals who clear $250,000 and report that on their tax return as their taxable income, don't typically create jobs with that money - unless it's the jobs for maids, gardeners, and pool boys.''

That is nonsense.  Oh, many will hire maids, gardeners and pool boys and they are usually poor.  Not too many with incomes less than 250,000 are going to hire all those people.  So the ones you listed are helping the poor that way.  But many, the successful ones, will plow much of their money back into their businesses to make them grow.  They live relatively simple lives and the more they have to make their business grow, the more money they make.  Maybe these people will invest in advertising, maybe it will be for more modern equipment or maybe it will be for additional people.  But as they grow the more they invest and the lower their taxes are the more they have to put into the business.

My wife and I own a small business and we are no where near the level that would be affected by the proposed tax limits but we understand their implications.  We have fantasized what it would be like if the business was really much bigger and the one thing we would do is hire more people for sales and a couple more for day to day operations in the office.  As it is, we do it all our selves.  It would depend on how much money we had available and the more we have available the more we could invest or afford to hire others.

There was a book called ''The Millionaire Next Door'' which said the typical millionaire is a small businessman who lives frugally but invests in his or her business.  The more they have after taxes the more they invest.

There is lots or research to support the effect of taxes on the rich.  When you think rich, think of the man who owns the local hardware store, not the rock star.  There is a lot more of the hardware store owners.

Here are some results of one analysis of the tax structures in the 1980's

Lesson #1: Economlc growth Is the best weapon agalnst poverty.
Lesson 2: Economic growth Is stlmulated by low taxes

Lesson 3: The poor get richer when the rlch get rlcher.
Lesson 4: If the alm Is to make the rlch pay more actual taxes, cut their tax rates

Lesson #5: Ralslng taxes on the rlch does not help the poor. 

Some other articles on this idea 

These people are far from delusional and when they get rich they often give a lot of it away to charity.  I was at a reunion recently and two of my classmates had just given large donations, one 10 million to Notre Dame and another about 50 million to Stanford.  My donations were several magnitudes lower but then again I am not rich but I do understand the dynamics of it.  Keep as much as possible away from the government and it will often produce magic and not decadence as some try to portray.
8 years 1 month ago
No one said that socialism did not have variants.  I said it had never worked.  And where it has been practiced, it had negative outcomes for people.  Except for one instance and in this instance it was abandoned after one generation.  There was ample space to discuss why one would advocate such a philosophy but it so far has not been taken.  I have provided some of the reasons why people advocate it and discussed briefly where and how it can work.
Not knowing anything about Bernie Sanders, I read some things about him, some in his own words.  If I was to describe him, it would be confused.  I saw no evidence of what he believes.  He uses some vague label to describe himself.  I know what he is against but I do not know what he is for.  Oh, I know he wants specific programs but what does he want the end game to look like and how will that work.  I know he likes Scandinavian social democracies and  he advocated a couple programs in Burlington and was good at fixing potholes.  That is commendable but no where did I get a feeling of a belief system and how it would make things better.  That is the problem with socialism.  It sounds good on paper but when it has to actually do something, it espouses either dysfunctional programs or reaches impasses.  And when it reaches impasses, it oppresses in order to continue.
Now my problem with socialism is not necessarily its objectives, but one, that it cannot work and has been shown not to work.  And anyone advocating it must deal with these failures and some have been catastrophic.  To cheerfully go on like they do not exist is at best disingenuous and in reality maybe something even darker.  My other problem with socialism and this is really the deal breaker, is that it is against human nature and imposes a philosophy that oppresses all it governs.  It has to or it cannot keep to its socialistic goals.  This is why it was abandoned in the kibbutzs.
I have said on the surface it has noble objectives but in reality it is an extremely noxious philosophy unless it is entered into voluntarily and that is why it can work in limited scenarios.  But for a whole society, it can never be viable.  Even in Burlington, Bernie was not a socialist and did not try to introduce it there.  My son went to Cornell and he said that Ithaca was a socialist city.  I asked him if there were no businesses and no private property there and he looked confused.  Of course there were.  By Ithaca being socialist he meant that it was discussed in the coffee shops there but nothing ever done about it outside of establishing some cooperatives.  Meanwhile, most shopped at Walmart.  
I mentioned earlier that Marx did not know what to do.  All his writings were essentially rants against capitalism and nothing on how to govern.  Socialism makes good coffee shop discussions but in the real world it has been a disaster.
Marie Rehbein
8 years 1 month ago
"Lesson 3: The poor get richer when the rlch get rlcher."

This has been shown not to be working.  Robert Reich points out that as the rich got richer, the not so rich overspent in order to keep up and put their households into economic peril.

While I appreciate your first hand knowledge of small business, JR, I would have to suggest that if your small business got big enough to hire people, you would make it into a corporation and draw a salary instead of using your personal income to fund your business. 

Since you say you are no where near the $250,000 limit, you do not really have the perspective that would give you the standing to say that having to pay an additional 4% on your taxable income over $250,000 would hurt even if you made this money as an individual small business.  If you made $270,000 taxable income, for example, you would pay an extra $800 you would not have had to pay.  This would prevent you from expanding the business if that had been your plan?  I would doubt it.

For as long as we have had Verizon wireless phone service, Verizon put $1.99 cents on our bill that didn't belong there.  I called them almost every month and made them take it off, but sometimes I just paid it because I didn't have time to go through their system.  Recently, it was found that they did this to every customer and made millions just by bogusly billing customers a mere $1.99 extra per month.  Claiming that raising the tax rate will prevent small business expansion would be like me claiming that had I not been billed the extra $1.99, I would have been able to start a small business.

The government invests a lot of the money it collects.  It provides it for academic research that provides knowledge that leads to ideas that can be marketed profitably.
8 years 1 month ago
The real discussion that should be going on is what form of capitalism is best for a society.  And there are many variants.  That is why I suggested the Jerry Muller course.  I have never said there were no problems with capitalism or with total freedom.  There certainly are but these problems in no way mean it must be abandoned.

It is just that equality as an objective has to be carefully defined and can not be put out there without scrutiny as a goal for any society.  Certain concepts of equality are extremely desirable in any society.  But as a blanket concept, in heaven definitely but on earth, no.  Too many Catholics seemed to be caught up in the heaven on earth objective and forget that what Catholicism is all about is salvation and the next world not in establishing the ideal society here.
8 years 1 month ago
''Robert Reich points out that as the rich got richer, the not so rich overspent in order to keep up and put their households into economic peril.''

This is an absurdity.  It may be true but it is saying that the so called poor over extend themselves once they have tasted the good life.  Are you saying we should make the rich poorer so that there will not be pressure on the lower end of the economic spectrum to achieve or want more.  I am not sure anyone wants to go there.  That many people overextend themselves is obviously a fact.  The discussion should be on how to deal with this and prevent this from happening.

Our small business is a corporation and has been for over 20 years.  When the business is good, we take a bigger salary.  When it has slowed down we took less money.  We have also financed the business from personal savings at different times.  Your attempts to discredit what I have been saying are not based on anything that is real.  My wife and I came from a background which has generated much of the wealth in this country in recent years, namely Silicon Valley.  We are well acquainted with some of the incredible successes that have taken place there though our success has been very modest in comparison.  I pointed you to a discussion about Intel in another thread.  If you listen to that you might get a feel on what has happened.

And yes, the government has funded research that is used by business to develop products.  A lot of the economic success of the country today originated in military and space research.  But it was the entrepreneurs who made it happen and that is what should be encouraged.  When we lower the tax rates for the rich, they actually pay more taxes.  When we raise them they pay less taxes.  I want the rich to pay more taxes which means many are churning their money to good purposes.  Those who want to raise the tax rates are not doing so because of the good of the poor.  So you have to ask why they want them to go up.

This keeps going back over the same arguments.  So this is my last comment on this here.  I am sure the editors will be happy about that. 
Tom Maher
8 years 1 month ago
The Republican agrument that raising personal income taxes on people who make more than 250,000 impacts small businesses which in turn impacts the job creating and job retaining ability of small businesses is very solid and anchored in economic reality. 

Unfortunately people coming from the Catholic ghetto are often seriously challenged by what business is all about  having little contact or knowledge or even a decent guess about anything to do with business.  Culturally deprived poor dears.

So let us educate the disapvantaged so they have the details they need as  citizens right here in their own country in the 21st centruy.

Firstly small business widely report their income of their business as part of their personal income taxes.  There are several forms that supplement the usual 1040 IRS personal income tax form.   The personal income filing avoids elaborate and costly separate corporate filings of a larger business which would have their  own accounting staff. 

So the deal is these guys are small so you do not want to overburden them with costly income tax reporting requirements.  But nationwide there are tens of millions of small business employing 10 or more people each full time and part time.   So they are real big-time employers, paying real salaries to tens of millions of employees/  - a significant part of the total number of people employeed.   This is a big deal that you Catholic school boys and girls with your other-worldy prospective might miss.  While you are out saving the world in the Peace Corp or foriegn missions their are real people right here at home who you probably never meet and never know who are making a living are by being employed in a small business who really do not  deserve the destructive impacts of taxation as  punishment for being a part of business some would consider "rich".    

By the way sweethearts, more than 66% of AMericans do not want any taxes raised for these very reasons.  The stategy is to increase employmnet not undermind employmnet for the sake of punishing the "rich".  Tax policy ought to make sense.  
Marie Rehbein
8 years 1 month ago
JR, Reich is saying that what looks like trickle down is actually defecit household spending.  Very simple.  It's an invalid premise that as the rich get richer, the poor get richer.

Tom, I'm sure 100% of people do not want their taxes raised.  What does it cost to employ a person in a corporation?  Decent pay might be about $40,000.  Let's ignore benefits and other taxes for now.  

In order to spare only the $40,000 salary out of personal income taxes someone would have to have an income of $1,250,000 for the increase in tax rates to prevent hiring someone.  I would say that this kind of income is unheard of in the small business environment.  Therefore, it appears that your disdainful "explanation" of why the tax cuts should stay in place is nothing more than propoganda for that position, which exploits the dreams of small business owners.
8 years 1 month ago
How about a  limit of one comment per article per reader? I cannot waste my time reading the arguments between/among two or three people who continually talk past each other. Their "overload" suppresses the range of possible opinions that will be solicited. I would suggest that those who cannot avoid hitting the keyboard with their streams-of-consciousness enroll in a Pro-Seminar at Fordham and go at each other face to face. 
Tom Maher
8 years 1 month ago
The problem with all tax thresholds such as your "rich" if your making 250,000  dollars is they are abitrary, capricious and classic one-size fits all traps that snare institution such as small business with harmful impacts that will eill result in their failure,   

The 250,000 dollar treshold assumes this is all personal income becasue it is reported as personal income.  However In th ecase of small buinesses owner this is not so. This is th epersonal income the owner to pay for their personal expenses such as mortgage, car, isnurances food etc. AND the needed required surplus they need to fund the business for the next years operations.   Two separate entites are reported under one personal income tax.   It is necessary to tle into account that this is not the same as one person getting a stating salary.  The fiancial needs of the small business componenet needs to also be considered.   

A business requirement critical to the survival of a business called "working capital" comes into play here.  Unlike salaried  employees most businesses must make significant captial outlays long before they are paid by their customers.  These outlays are called working capital and are essential cost to statying in business that  can not be trivialized. 

If a business does not have adequate profits from the year before the business will not be able to finamce working capital and will go out of business.  Taxing small buiness inhibit their ability to finance working capital requirements and suvive .??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Marie Rehbein
8 years 1 month ago
We are not talking about taxing small business more.  We are talking about taxing individuals, some of whom may own small businesses.  Working capital is what is left after the liabilities are deducted from the profits of the business.  The salary the individual pays himself is one of those liabilities.  If it's below $250,000, then the individual will see no change in his taxes and he may have more working capital left in his business.

My understanding is that $250,000 is the magic number because those with incomes above that number constitute the top 2% of incomes in the United States.  I think a point of compromise could have been to raise the rates on only the top 1%, but that was rejected by Republicans.
Tom Maher
8 years 1 month ago
The insufferable moralizing is worthy of a program on MSNBC rivelling Keith Obermann ..  The pretense by some that they have some kind of definitive moral measure of what U.S,  tax policy ought to be in a recession based on generalized moral principles of from 19th century requires all Catholics to have 90 IQs. Your your moraizing is just not credible to 21st century adult Catholics who are not mentally challenged.  And your righeousness is obnoxious. 

 As Lincoln would say you can fool all the Catholic boys and girls all of the time, all of the Catholic college students some of the time but you can't fool all the Catholics all of the time.  So your shallow, contrived and obnoxious moral declarations and judgements are rejected.

Back in the real world there are real people in small businesses in the current recessions who are having their hours cut back or their jobs eliminated.   They could well use a special ministry to protect them from social jusice activist run amok with y their own righteousness and bent on destroying small business for some unknown reasoning that only a Caholic theologian with 500 courses of theology would understand.  

Like real doctors social justice jokers need to be careful to do no harm.  But no they rush out to destroy business that are struggling but still functioning.

 Deliver us from the wiles of the technically ignorant moralizers that would  comdemn and destroy what they do not understand is wholesome and good.

8 years 1 month ago
"Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is in his sixth hour of a true filibuster, not the fake procedural variety that Republican Senators have used for years to tie up Democratic legislation"

Is it possible for the bloggers here to make any comment without ripping on the GOP?  And people wonder why conservative readers tend to be so vocal (or uncharitable so I'm told) in their responses!

And I assume this is the same Mr. Clarke who said he was waiting to "tip his hat" to any conservatives who spoke up in defense of Keith Olbermann.  Still waiting for that post, Mr. Clarke!
8 years 1 month ago
This is why I cancelled my subscription to America.  It is so consistently partisan: Democrats-good; Republicans-bad.  Even in subtle ways: a Democrat conducts a "true" filibuster, but Republicans can only do "fake" filibusters.  No thanks.
8 years 1 month ago
By the way, Bernie Sanders IS an actual self-identified socialist, so its not uncharitable to call him that!  Although I'm not sure how he squares socialist theory with his statement during his speech that the legislators should do everything they can to protect the interests of the middle class - so apparently he's a very confused socialist.
8 years 1 month ago
Marxist theory is highly critical of middle class, i.e. bourgeois concerns with capital and income security.  Middle class concerns such as retirement security, college funds for the children, the performance of their 401Ks, etc. would be likely dismissed as petty at best.
8 years 1 month ago
I do not know how many have listened to Ron Paul but he is much more interesting than Bernie.  Ron Paul is the 21st century version of ''right wing.''  He is an ultra libertarian.  Since no ''right wing'' in the original sense of the word exist in the US except for the Kennedy's and maybe the Bush's he can claim that title since he is the opposite of the ''left'' in today's world.  Libertarians are for small militaries and very little foreign involvement.

So if Mr. Clarke sympathizes with Ron Paul, he is a right winger.
8 years 1 month ago
The hypocrisy of congress is just amazing.  The metaphor at the moment for the tax bill is ''Christmas Tree.''  Congress is loading up the bill with every conceivable bit of pork they can think of.  If I were the Republicans, I would vote against it and wait till January to get a clean bill that had what they agreed to with President Obama.

There is one congressman who is loading the bill with goodies for his district and then going to vote against it because he knows it will pass anyway.  That way he can say he voted against the tax cut for the rich but got all this pork for his district.

An aside, could we get some consistency with the passwords used on this site.  They repeat after a while and the ones that contain either 0's (number) and O's (letters) never seem to work out.  I started keep track of them and one set neither the 0 or the O worked.  I tried both at different times.
8 years 1 month ago
''I am a right-wing Libetarian Marxist. I think that might work.''

Two of those would be for very small government and the other is for no government.  So I assume you oppose all attempts at stimulus, taxes, government programs etc. as well as foreign interventions by the US and others.

One dividing line between conservatives and libertarians is that they see foreign interventions differently.  Neither is interested in interventions in other countries but conservatives see other countries intervening in other countries all the time and see that eventually that will come here while libertarians ignore that as other people's problems.  Eventually it gets to your back yard.  And we may see in the near future the greatest defender of the Palestinians coming from South America.  And if this turns out to be true then one has to ask why?
8 years 1 month ago
''One does not have to agree with Bernie, politically, to see that there is very little confusion, on his part, when he is a socialist and an advocate for working families. ''

Now, is this true.  Has the policies that Bernie advocated been good for working class families?  Or has the policies that Bernie opposed been better for the working class.  That is the debate that never takes place here.  Certain things are just assumed.  The reason Marx would not recognize this world is that nearly all his ideas and insights proved wrong.  My guess is that Marx would be a hard core capitalist today given the wonders it has produced for the working class.

And I am probably getting into trouble with management here since they told me I post too much.
8 years 1 month ago
"Otherwise, glib allusions are tossed about as if they were being used to make insightful and incisive observations. "

Congratualations, Mr. Costa; you successfully exhibited your intellectual superiority by quoting Marx, Engels, Weber, et. al.  Of course the concepts that Marx articulated would not translate directly to "Bernie's" world.  And I'm certain Sen. Sanders is very clear in his beliefs; unfortunately he's quite mistaken in his application of those beliefs to the majority of people NOT living in his "Republic".  See the last election.  I would have stated all of this but I believe America's comments policy asks us to be brief, and I do try to abide by that request.

If he had true testicular fortitude he wouldn't hold his "filibuster" on the day of the actual vote.  That is a "true" filibuster, so it seems Sen. Sanders's is also somewhat "fake".

8 years 1 month ago
Sorry; my last sentence should read: "If he had true testicular fortitude he WOULD hold his filibuster on the day of the actual vote (Monday)."
8 years 1 month ago
''Apparently, you disagree with Bernie's ideas and his politics. I'm not going to argue with your views. I just don't see that your objections are contingent upon him being confused. ''

I never said he was confused.  He may be.  My guess is that he is wrong and that is reasoning is not very well based.  If that means he is confused, then so be it but I have never heard him advocate anything, only what others have said he does.  If he identifies himself as a socialist, that says some things but what.  I have never really seen that socialist policies have ever helped the working class but maybe Bernie does not advocate socialist policies since we cannot seem to define what socialism is.  Socialism as it is usually defined can work in limited horizons but someone said that they do not work beyond the horizon.  That was a way of indicating that the necessary cooperation that is needed in a socialist society can only work with those you know or with small groups or volunteer organizations with common objectives.

I do not believe higher tax rates help the working class so if Bernie is advocating them then I have to say he is not helping the working class.  Now I said something that can be argued for or against.  But before this all I said was that there was no debate and that Ron Paul is not a socialist or anything close to it.  He might have been against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars but they are for very different reasons then the left usually uses. 

And I hope Bernie is donating most of his salary back to the government like a good socialist would. 
8 years 1 month ago
My personal belief is that anyone who advocates socialism is both morally and intellectually bankrupt..  That is a strong opinion and it is based on the fact that socialism has never worked and cannot work because human nature is contrary to its successful operation.  It has only harmed unless it is constrained to some small group.  Human beings have aspirations and socialism prevents them from happening.  Thus, I find it abominable.  It drives people continually to a lower common denominator and they are under the thumb of whoever decides was is politically correct.
So if Bernie Sanders describes himself as a socialist then my opinion of him would be colored by that self declaration.  A socialist becomes a parasite of those who produce and when the producers are gone they can only continue to exist by the oppression of those who are left.  
Socialism sounds good on paper but the only place where it ever worked saw it abandoned in one generation because of its noxious implications.  As I said Marx would probably be a good capitalist now.  He lived during the worst of the Industrial Revolution and his books are essentially rants against the evils of capitalism but he had no alternative and did not foresee what capitalism would bring.  He only spent a few pages on what he would do because he did not know what to do.  He only hated.
Anyway I found it interesting that you took my throwaway line and focused on it.  You are probably right, that there can be no dialogue on this here.  I have been trying that for almost a year.

Tom Maher
8 years 1 month ago
Amazingly more than 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Empire from within due to its inherent failure as economic and political system vintage Vermont Senator  Bernie Sanders who repeatedly ran for office since the 1970s as a socialist contiues to promote the tired old Marexist socialist ideas.  

Please remeber that Seantor Sanders "speech"  is actually a hours long filibuster on the Seante floor design to single handedly delay the pending vote in Seante to extend the current rate of taxation which hve been in effect since 2003 and are due to expire at the end of this month in effect since 2003.   If these current tax rate are not extended we will have an increase in taxes in the middle of a recession which will futher inhibit the economy from growing and prodcuting jobs.  Everyone on the right left and middle is for not raising taxes.  But nor Bernie Sanders.  Bernie enlightened 1960s sure socialist vision knows better.  He is not impressed that unemployment has remained above 9.5% and has just jumped higher last week to 9,8 %.   He does not care about no stinking jobs.  Bernie a committed socialist is more concerned about who does the spending.   Bernie is true to the class warefare theories of Marxism attacks the plan to keep taxes from rasing becasue the richer Americans will benefit by nit having their taxes raised.  Bernie's devotion to class warfare blinds him to the fact that if th elegislation he is blocking is not passed everones taxers will raise in th emiddle of a severe recession.

So how does Bernie Sanders fanatic devotion to class warefare make him a hero? And to whom is he a hero for being a fanatic?  This weeks polls show that even 51% of the Democrates favor not raising anyone's taxes in a recession.  OF course they are Democrates not socialist.  Independents and Republicans overhwhemlingly do not want any tax increase.

Bernie Sanders socialism is very dated and tiresome and goes against the will of the public .  It is no acccident that the Republicans gained a record 64 seats in the House in the Novemenfer elections due in great part to the failure of the economic policy to creeate jobs and bring down the sky-high unemployment.  People want an economy that creates jobs in the private sector not a strong but ineffective goverment.  Few people buys into the class warefare early 20th century politics that  Bernie began his speech with.  Not the President, not the former president Bill Clinton and overwhelmingly not most other Americans.


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