Obama Rolls the GOP Again

President Obama is about to score another big legislative victory as the Senate prepares to pass a bill that will rein in Wall Street. Indeed, this week the President seems to be hitting his stride just as the GOP appears a bit dazed and confused.

Think back three months ago to January, when Sen. Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate special election led to predictions of political doom for Obama. The President’s handling of the health care debate looks great in the rear view mirror. Where previous presidents had failed, he succeeded, so who cares now about the sausage-making aspect of the legislative process or the fact that a bill that was to be done last September didn’t get finished until March. But in January it looked like Obama had been working for a year on health care and was going to have nothing to show for it.

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Now, with health care in his pocket, he moved on to the one issue where a sizable majority of Americans really do want more government involvement, the regulation of Wall Street.

The President has been helped by the sheer ineptitude of the Republicans in the Senate. Outsmarting Sen. Mitch McConnell may be a pretty low bar. And, it is not clear whether the Democrats backed the GOP into a corner or if the GOP leadership got there all on their own. Either way, last night on "Hardball" Mark Halperin, whose analysis never seems affected by ideology and whose own ideological dispositions seem opaque, said of McConnell’s position that you can sustain a position that is wrong or that you don’t believe in but it is hard to do both. Everyone knows that Wall Street is the principal culprit in the economic meltdown that has affected the rest of us too. Everyone knows that it required a huge infusion of tax payer money, beginning in the Bush administration and continuing in the Obama administration. Everyone knows that only government oversight can prevent the scenario from happening again, that markets do not always self-correct. So, for weeks now, McConnell has been denouncing a bill that did not exist.

Alas, the GOP just couldn’t stand the idea of working with President Obama to achieve a common objective. They couldn’t stand to put another win in his column, so they staked out a position of opposition. Unfortunately for them, they got cast in the role of defenders of Wall Street and, even more unfortunately for them, the President and Sen. Chris Dodd took the high ground of reform before the GOP could get there. All that is left is to decide whether to mount a futile defense or to give up. As of this morning, they are apparently giving up, praising the bipartisan consensus, etc. Of course, had they done this a month ago, the bill would not be seen as controversial and, so, as less of a victory for Obama. Their truculence the last month makes it a bigger political win for the President. McConnell and Co. need to stop listening to the Tea Party folk and start legislating.

The President and the Democrats are also lucky. Yesterday, the investment firm Goldman Sachs, named in an SEC lawsuit the day before, announced that they had posted a record $3.3 billion profit for the first quarter. While many Americans struggle to keep from losing their homes, and others suffer the assault on their dignity which is joblessness, the fat cats at Goldman are making record profits. These Wall Street bankers are the ones who do not need to be monitored? Is that your position Sen. McConnell? Or was it until last night?

Prediction: By week’s end, at least ten GOP senators will read the handwriting on the wall and back the Democrats’ bill, maybe more. Of course, the party as a whole will still have cast itself as the defenders of Wall Street, but incumbent GOP senators probably have enough access to the media in their home states that they can wiggle out of the general indictment against their party and get a star for being independent to boot!

The President will have another signing ceremony at which he can say, correctly, that he campaigned on change and he has delivered. He is building up political capital as fast as the GOP is squandering it. Yes, the GOP will pick up seats this fall because the party out of power almost always does. But, the long-term narrative for the Democrats is taking shape: They are the party that uses the power of government to defend the common man against the greed of the powerful health insurance companies and the powerful robber barons on Wall Street. Populism is a two-edged sword ideologically, and this week the President disarmed his opponents and reclaimed sole possession of that sword.

 

 

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Beth Cioffoletti
8 years 6 months ago
I hate to say it in mixed company, but this all makes my heart sing :-).
James Lindsay
8 years 6 months ago
Don't do a victory dance until this thing comes out of conference committee.

Immigration is the issue that will define this year and there is as much Democratic fear as their is out right Tea Party racism to stymie this issue. The benefits of going ahead are great, however, for both immigrants, the Catholic Church and the Democratic Party. Indeed, unless the GOP finds a way to muzzle the nativists in the GOP and the Tea Party movement, if this debate goes forward it could lose seats in November as its entire Latino base evaporates.
8 years 6 months ago
1. The Post reported earlier this week that the health care bill is now more unpopular than when it first passed;
2. Pres. Obama's approval rating is still hovering about the mid-40s;
3. Congressional Democrats, and Pelosi & Reid in particular, have lower ratings that George W. Bush.
 
Keep counting your chickens now before they hatch, by all means.
Helena Loflin
8 years 6 months ago
The Republican Party, in all its various limping reincarnations (e.g., astroturf Tea Party), is quickly running out of feet to shoot.  All the chickens of its failed ideologies (trickle-down "voodoo" economics, unregulated free-market capitalism, "what's good for Wall Street is good for the workers," etc.) have roosted and been roasted.  The Republicans painted themselves as fast as they could into the corner of "Party of No."   All on their own, the Republicans can't seem to satisfy their craving for rope. 
Mr. Winters, you nailed it once again.
 
 
 
8 years 6 months ago
@Tom Maher: while I agree with the thrust of your comments, in fairness, its hard to articulate what socially (read: economically) useful purpose exotic derivatives like synthetic CDOs serve.  They are, essentially, expensive gambles.  While I'm uncomfortable with the demonization of Wall Street, I do think its fair to ask some questions about these exotic securities when the American taxpayer has to foot the bill to keep these firms from failing when they go sour.  As has been pointed out, Wall Street and Main Street are not nearly so far apart anymore, so when things go bad, they go bad for us all.
 
I would add that its striking to me how much like Bush Obama has governed: tack left, pick an enemy (terrorists, Wall Street) & relentlessly attack the opposition.
8 years 6 months ago
I will keep asking the same question again and again.  How does an organization run by Jesuits allow Mr. Winters and other authors post opinions that are routinely distortions, often lies and frequently extremely derogatory of those they do not like.  Especially when they are about politics.  Are they intended to feed a frenzy of an uninformed group that they are trying to control?  
 
 
There were four major sources for the financial collapse in 2008.  And Wall Street greed was one of them.  But there would not have been a collapse if there were no bad loans to begin with.  If traditional mortgage lending practices had been applied there would not have been any bad bonds so all the CDO's that were created would have been sound and the financial crisis of September 2008 would never have happened.  Even till the very end many of the misguided geniuses on Wall Street thought they were good investments.  They held the CDO's themselves.  Would there be a future collapse.  Probably because their excesses would not have been exposed and if there was any good from the crash was the extremely bad system that Wall Street had set up.
 
But this bill does not counteract this.  No, it helps reinforce it.  The Republicans support a plan that would let these institution die if they do it again.  The Democrats support a plan that would bail them out again and allow the government to come in and take over Wall Street if they so wish.  That is a formula for disaster or as those on the left know, more control of the economy and the population.  Read the article by Michael Barone to get an honest assessment of what is happening.  Something that this site seems incapable of doing.  Here is the link:
.  
 
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Gangster-Government-becomes-a-long-running-series-91656284.html
 
 
This is corruption at the highest order and here we have the Jesuits supporting this corruption.   Ignatius and Francis Xavier's bodies must surely be turning in their graves as they watch from above.  To use Senator Dodd as a hero, a crook of the first order, who just gave his wife a plum by enabling the Chicago Mercantile Exchange an advantage in the trading of derivatives.  Oh, he is our crook because he is a Democrat Catholic crook
 
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2010/03/chris-dodds-wife-and-her-strange-entanglement-with-derivatives-trading-.html
 
This is a joke.  The Jesuits have got to clean up this site and provide honest and balanced opinions.  They rail on about the sexual abuse by the clergy but they should rail on about the corruption in the politicians they support.
 
 
Vince Killoran
8 years 6 months ago
It's interesting to read these paeans to market populism.  There is nothing magical or natural about the markets and we should not accept Mike Brook's contention that "the worker" must blindly follow Wall Street.
 
 
One important thing to watch for as the banks begin pouring cash into Congressional elections, they are targeting members of Congress who support consumer protections that could cut into their bottom line.
William Kurtz
8 years 6 months ago
I would remind JR Cosgrove about former Sen. Phil Gramm, the high priest of market deregulation. Remember him? He was ticketed to be Secretary of the Treasury had John McCain been elected. Gramm personally stopped efforts to rein in hedge funds. (You know anybody with money in a hedge fund? I sure don't!) And Gramm's wife served on the board of Enron. Sorry, but as Ronald Reagan said once, facts are stubborn things.
Helena Loflin
8 years 6 months ago
For Republicans, failed ideologies are stubborn things.  They get their "facts" (e.g., financial reform legislation is a permanent bailout) from TeaParty-TV.
William Kurtz
8 years 6 months ago
Thanks for the lively responses. I'll offer two other FACTS, two opinions and a question.
Fannie and Freddie were latecomers to the subprime game, and involved in a small portion of those loans.
Yes, Obama collected a lot of money on Wall Street. Those guys can certainly read polls, and they wanted to jump on the winning bandwagon.
It's laughable to blame neighborhood-level activists (the ones who pushed for more lending) and claim they packed more punch than AIG and UBS (Phil Gramm's post-Senate employer) or the Wall Street firms we all know and love. AIG's reckless London trading (and who knows how many other actors we don't yet know about) are the root of the problem. Yes, rich, respectable people can be as dishonest as ACORN- and they're in position to cause a lot more damage!
Chris Dodd's sleazy personal deal is certainly reprehensible. But one can cause a lot of damage because of ideological zeal, with no ethical factor involved.
Finally, my question for those respondents who seem to be conservatives and/or libertarians. Do derivatives and hedge need to be more tightly regulated or not?
(As Bill O'Reilly lamented, that means bigger government, but somebody has to control Wall Street, and who else can? Alan Greenspan admitted he thought markets would control themselves, and he was wrong.)
8 years 6 months ago
This is becoming a joke.  I give you the percentage of income taxes paid for by different income brackets and someone says it should be higher because the rich are not complying.  Well they are complying to pay 70% of the US income taxes.
 
And why did their share go up as tax rates went down.  Because a high percentage of them invested in new businesses which ended up creating the jobs of the secretaries and others.  As I said, all new jobs since 1980 outside of government were created by small businesses.  And some of these small businesses became hugh businesses.  So if you want to continue on the irrational crusade against the rich, then do so to make yourself feel good but you are then essentially screwing the poor who end up benefiting from the investments of the rich.  They are not Scrooge McDucks sitting around in their private vaults counting their coins.
 
This attitude that the rich should keep on subsidizing the rest of us is counter productive.  We have found a way to lift the poor out of their misery and the Democrats have found ways to put them back into it.  If lowering the taxes on the rich encourages them to invest in new areas, it is the rest of us who will benefit.  Neither I or my family have ever been close to being rich but have seen what entrepreneurs can do to increase employment.  How many good paying jobs have Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and similar people in information technology created by their activity.  I would say tens of millions.  We should find every way to encourage others to do the same thing.  Stifling their incentives to do so only hurts the rest of us but especially the poor.  Has anyone checked unemployment in the young and less educated these days.  In some areas it is over 30%.  People here are trying to kill the golden goose for a quick fix but then there will be no goose after it is gone.
 
8 years 6 months ago
''I subsidize businesses: with highway and airport taxes, school taxes, and maintaining a court system that they use disproportionally.  ''
 
I think there is some confusion here.  Highway and airport taxes theoretically go for the upkeep of roads and airports that anyone who drives a car or takes a trip benefits.  What does this have to do with the rich paying their fair share?  Shouldn't people pay for what they use?  Are you upset that a government uses a private business to repair a road.  Would you be happier if the government did it themselves.  That means you are a true socialist.  In my town the Town government actually paves and repairs all the roads.  So I am traveling on government roads here.
 
School taxes are used to fund buildings, maintenance and pay teachers and administrators.  What does this have to do with the rich paying their fair share and being subsidized.  In actuality they do pay an increased percentage since they pay more of these taxes than the average person using the system but all this money is going to government schools or socialist activities while Catholic schools get screwed.  And last time I looked the lawyers in this country are mainly Democrats and donate heavily to the Democrat party so the comment about the court system is way off base.  In fact I believe lawyers are the number one donator to the Democrat party followed by the public service and teacher's unions and then private unions.  Then followed by Wall Street.
 
So all these taxes you are complaining about are subsidizing government activities and the connection to business or wealthy is specious except for the lawyers and Wall Street.  So support the Republicans who want to reign in the lawyers and bad behavior on Wall Street.  And if they do not do it, then you can withdraw your support in the future.  But by supporting the Democrats one is supporting those who have screwed the poor and continue to do so.
Tom Maher
8 years 6 months ago
The health care law repeal petition is at www.revereamerica.org. That is revere as in Paul Revere.
Helena Loflin
8 years 6 months ago
Rasmussen, the Republican Party poll.  Much like FOX, only using funny numbers instead of hate speech.
8 years 6 months ago
This post actually made me hone in on the bill a little closer, and on re-reading it in that light I'm actually struck by its sheer cynicism.  Instead of writing a post celebrating a bipartisan breakthrough, and one that will undoubtedly lead to a better bill, Mr. Winters chose to write about the political victory Mr. Obama & his party will get from passing the bill.  Such a post is nearly unthinkable on any other serious journal, even left-leaning ones, and is what some of us object to.  This sheer partisanship is something Mr. Obama himself has bemoaned in projecting himself as a post-partisan agent of change.  Its also hypocritical for Mr. Winters to object to partisanship on the right (as he does in his blog today about abortion) but then embrace it on the left.
 
The conservative objection to the bill is primarily that the bill establishes incentives (a reality liberals have no concept of) the exact behavior it aim at squashing by institutionalizing government acts in the "Bailout" that were supposed to be one time stop measure.  Hence the charge of permanent bailouts.  More sinister still is that reality that by adding a new layer of bureaucratic regulations, these firms can even more readily game the system by shaping their regulators, a reality conservatives like Reihan Salam among others, have convincingly catalouged.  Again, it would be nice to see Mr. Winters use this space to analyze some of these charges, in a Catholic light, instead of writing the sheer political attack pieces.
8 years 6 months ago
"This article is mostly about Wall Street Reform and the craven way the Republican leadership is using the issue to pander to its base (like it used Health Care), rather than pushing forward towards a bipartisan solution that it will not only add amendments to, but also votes. What MSW did not mention was the use of these issues as a fundraising tool. That is simply shameful. The Abramoff era is over - take the for sale sign off the GOP."
 
Even if your ad hominem attacks repeated day after day after day is true, how does this not apply to Mr. Obama & his party pandering to a populist base without any appreciation of some of the incentives in the bill?  Take off the liberal blinders everyone in a while Mr. Bindner.  No one can be that sure of their political positions all the time.
8 years 6 months ago
These days, when working Americans are more tied into the financial markets than they ever have been, what's good for "Wall Street" is actually be good for the workers, many of whom have their retirements and life savings invested there. Also, regulations (and reduced earnings) on industry ultimately fall onto the backs of the taxpayers, so what is perceived to be a governmental assault on big business is actually another shot to the working man, be it a loss of jobs, increased interest rates, or increased prices.

Oh, that's right, half the country doesn't pay taxes, so it's a win for those who contribute nothing to the country and want to live on the taxpaying public's dollar.

Recent polls about the public's distrust of government tell the story about what's coming up for November. Obama better get his legislation passed quickly, because the curtain is coming down come quickly.

8 years 6 months ago
I meant to add (but pulled the trigger too early) that you lambast Republicans for not wanting to work with Democrats, but, as with health care, Sen. Corker & Sen. Dodd had been engaged in fruitful negotiations for months on this bill.  Sen Corker is, I think it is fair to say, no ideologue.  Yet he says at some point the White House got involved and politicized the bill making it impossible for him to continue to negotiate because it would add significant costs on small businesses.  Same with Collins, Snowe, etc.  So we see a very adept pattern employed by Obama: move the bill left, then castigate the GOP for not abandoning its principles.  Smart politics, bad policy.  And I wouldn't short Mitch McConnell, Mr. Winters.  I bet there are lots of Senate Dems who'd gladly trade Harry Reid for Mitch McConnell.
 
Oh, and by all means, I'll relish the Pres. having Chris Dodd, "Senator Special Deal on my Mortgage" as the face for "reform".
Tom Maher
8 years 6 months ago
Whar a crazy distortion of reality. Apparently MSW's job is to serve up alienated, baseless views for consumption of economically illiterate Catholics. What a shame. Only Bill O'Reilly on Fox news, another Catholic educated wonder, is more embarassing when it comes to economic analysis.

Catholic school boys and girls apparently are still, in 2010, too busy taking exotic theology courses to know anything about economics or markets which figure very largely in American and world society. They perfer to convert all economic problems into simplistic good vs. evil moral dramas which they feel more comfortabe in dealing with.

You would think that Catholics would stop creating insular ghettos void of economic knowledge. Why can't Catholics lose their superstitous ways? It is very annoying.

it's in noone's interest to have finacial markets collapse. It ruins everything in an economy if that hapepns as it does from time to time. In science all systems fail and need to be re-directed and re-enegized. Accordingly the bills before congress are bipartisan with 85% agreement The rest is being worked out to everyone's satifaction.
8 years 6 months ago
Mr. Kurtz,
 
I have no problem with your facts.  But do you want to add to the list of people who supported the same efforts.  How about Robert Rubin and Larry Summers just to name a couple and I could greatly extend this list to include Bill Clinton who signed the bill.  Wall Street has generally supported Democrats as Goldman Sachs gave more than a million dollars to Obama last election.  Obama's coming out party in the senate was sponsored by Fannie Mae and  I believe he was their largest recipient of donations since coming to the senate.  I said there would not had been any collapse without the bad loans so one should look to the mortgage practices with a sharp eye.  Which by the way includes some of Bush's appointees who did not do enough to curb these excesses.
 
I have no problem with facts.  But the fact I am interested in the the distortions and false innuendoes that fly off the opinions of this site.  I find your response rather interesting.  You are attacking my hypothetical prejudices not what I said.  So I assume you agree with my comment.
 
8 years 6 months ago
"One important thing to watch for as the banks begin pouring cash into Congressional elections, they are targeting members of Congress who support consumer protections that could cut into their bottom line."
 
Goldman Sachs employees gave upwards of $1 million to Obama's presidential campaign; by & large Wall Street types have given millions to Obama and Dems.
 
@Cosgrove: good to see someone else bemoaning why America accepts this writing.  I have urged them to find a conservative to balance Mr. Winters, to no avail.  I have urged Mr. Winters to look at conservatives proposing interesting ideas such as Paul Ryan, to no avail.  And not one of the liberal bloggers or commentators has responded to the fact that I pointed out and you allude to: these loans were made because the American people have come to believe that if you want it, you can get it and someone else will foot the bill, which is an easy conclusion when 47% of the country pays no income taxes.  Liberals like Maxine Waters pushed and urged and badgered banks to lend to low income individuals, and stymied conservative efforts to reform Freddie & Frannie.  Yet the story told now, by the mainstream media so firmly in their pockets, is that the GOP and greedy Wall Street is all to blame.
 
8 years 6 months ago
And Mr. Kurtz, you seem to ignore the FACT that Chris Dodd, the author of the "reform" bill got a special deal on his mortgage from Countrywide Financial.  Its amazing to me how liberals like you attack and insinuate with convenient facts rather than respond to arguments.
Vince Killoran
8 years 6 months ago
Jeff: That was the, this is now.  I think Obama's medicine for Wall Street is far too weak.  But, hey, he's a neoliberal.
 
Mary Bottari, director of the Center for Media and Democracy’s Real Economy Project and editor of the website BanksterUSA.org, has been tracking the money this year and it's going to candidates who oppose Congressional members who support consumer protections that cut into their bottom line.
 
The Americans who are able to skirt paying their full share of taxes are those in the upper quartile.
8 years 6 months ago
''The Americans who are able to skirt paying their full share of taxes are those in the upper quartile.''
 
Is this a joke comment?  The top 1% pay 40% of the federal income taxes in 2007.  The top 10% pay 70% of the federal income taxes in 2007.  This percentage has gone up each year since the Bush tax cuts were introduced and this percentage will go down when the Obama administration lets the Bush tax cuts expire as will total tax revenue.  As I said in another post last week, Obama and the Democrats stick it to the poor so the author of this opinion and the Jesuits who support this cynical approach to running the economy have a strange concept of social justice.
 
James Lindsay
8 years 6 months ago
@JRC - The average worker, more and more, can't afford to be a taxpayer. That was the big debate topic last week. JR - you have brought in the percentage of citizens paying taxes. Complete the picture by bringing in the distribution of income and of wealth. If you consider wealth alone, the rich are undertaxed.

@Michael Brooks, regulating CDOs, etc, by putting them in the sunshine will give the kind of perfect information that Adam Smith assumed to be necessary for a free market to actually exist. It has been fashionable for pension fund managers to make bets on this garbage - since they are playing with other people's money. Because they play with other people's money and profit by doing a deal, even if their client loses, regulation is essential.

@Jeff Landry, Corker was working with Dodd, which is why it is astounding that he signed the letter saying he was not going to vote to proceed with debate. Perhaps someone needs to tell the GOP and its fans that if you negotiate in good faith, part of the process is actually voting to go forward with the bill, voting to end debate and voting for the final bill. Wanting your provisions added without promising to vote for it is not bipartisanship in any real sense. The fact that Corker did put so much in was what made McConnell's craven stance to take money from Wall Street to try to stop reform seem so silly. The second Corker got involved in the process, he should not have made any promises while trying to shake down Wall Street.

To all - if you believe that the Jesuits of today are the conservative Jesuits of old, you have not been paying attention. If you think it is a secret that MSW comes from the left, you are not giving much credit to the editors who hired him. It was pretty fully disclosed. If it really bothers you, no one is forcing you to read his entries - although we would miss your commentary, exasperating as some of it is. The jousting is fun, especially when the day is long. Does it accomplish anything? I'm not sure it has to. My bet is that most of the views are from people who comment and if you listed the number of commentators on any online discussion group you won't come up with a very long list or very many changed minds. I hope you are not taking most of this very seriously - or the impact of any of these discussions. While sometimes our little arguments do likely speak to power, that is an effect of luck, not persistent influence.
Vince Killoran
8 years 6 months ago
Alas, it is no joke J.S. Cosgrove: the average rate of tax evasion and non-compliance is 4% but it is 20% for the top income bracket.
 
The popular talking point among conservatives this spring (now that the health insurance reform battle is over, for now) is that 47% of Americans do not pay any income taxes.  And that is true-but  to offer it as an accurate picture of the tax burden of all Americans is unfortunate. Two quick points:
 
1.  The tax rates for the wealthy have actually fallen (from 43% to 32%)-it's just that their income has soared. The tax rates are nothing like the 1950s when we had steep progressive taxation, high unionization density, and a booming economy (ah, yes, the good old days!).
 
2. If you factor in ALL taxes, i.e., payroll, state/local, etc. then the accurate tax burden of income groups looks different.  Citizens for Tax Justice have done this and it is clear that the tax burden looks quite different than conservative media figures have presented. Warren Buffett famously offered a meeting of hedge fund managers to pay any of them 1 million dollars if they could show they pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than their secretaries do. None of them took him up on it.
James Lindsay
8 years 6 months ago
@JRCosgrove. I could see the tax cuts expiring - but mostly because it will be hard to get that 60th vote to overcome the budget act point of order to make the 10% tax rate and the $1000 child tax credit permanent, or for that matter keep the 28% rate at 25% and the 31% rate at 28%. I suspect (and am amazed by the lack of reporting on this) that the GOP will try to block all permanent changes if they don't get their way on tax cuts for the wealthy.

A better tax plan would be an 8% (or so) VAT to cover discretionary spending (both defense and civil - but not military retirement or Veteran's entitlements) with an expanded business income tax covering all business types - including sole proprietors, partners and subchapter S and with payroll in the base replacing the Hopital Insurance, Survivors Insurance for non-retirees and Disability Insurance payroll taxes (roughly 5.2% of payroll) as well as all income taxes collected at the 25% rate or below (less those collected as part of the VAT) and funding all entitlement spending and family redistribution (primarily a $500/month per child tax credit). The tax would likely be equal to about 33% of base value added (payroll and profits) although it may be less. Overseas military spending and naval sea operations, as well as net interest and debt repayment would be funded by a surtax on high income earners from between 3% to 20% (graduated rates) on income over $75,000 individuals/$150,000 families (not including income from tax credits but including cash payouts from inherited assets) - less proceeds from sales to an ESOP or charitable donations but with no more mortgage or property tax deduction.

Retirement payroll taxes/old age survivors would have an increased income cap and be phased into an entirely employer collected ESOP, with each worker getting an average contribution on the employer portion and a percent of income contribution for employee income which would go to an insurance fund made up of participating ESOP plan stocks. Non-stock firm employees would also pay into the insurance fund and at least 1/3 of employer contributions would also go to that fund in the form of stock which could be voted by the insurance fund if a group of employee owners wish to challenge the actions of management (roughly 25% of employee owner shares could combine with the insurance fund shares to fire and replace management if it pulls an Enron). This would be the ultimate sanction on Wall Street, because in a generation, there would be no outside investment. It would also be likely that most consumer and housing finance would be done by the employer with excess cash - so the financial sector would likely whither away and die. No derivatives, no investment bankers, no Fannie or Freddy, no liar loans, no mortgage backed securities, no loads, no commissions, no brokers, no bankers of any kind. The ultimate Christian financial model.
Vince Killoran
8 years 6 months ago
J.S. Cosgrove, the rich aren't subsidizing the rest of us. That was my reason for presenting the figures and I don't see where you challenged them.  In fact, I know as a citizen I subsidize businesses: with highway and airport taxes, school taxes, and maintaining a court system that they use disproportionally.  
 
I went overboard on writing too many responses to a post last week so I'll end with this one.
8 years 6 months ago
''To all - if you believe that the Jesuits of today are the conservative Jesuits of old, you have not been paying attention. If you think it is a secret that MSW comes from the left, you are not giving much credit to the editors who hired him. It was pretty fully disclosed. If it really bothers you, no one is forcing you to read his entries - although we would miss your commentary, exasperating as some of it is. The jousting is fun, especially when the day is long. Does it accomplish anything? I'm not sure it has to. My bet is that most of the views are from people who comment and if you listed the number of commentators on any online discussion group you won't come up with a very long list or very many changed minds. I hope you are not taking most of this very seriously - or the impact of any of these discussions. While sometimes our little arguments do likely speak to power, that is an effect of luck, not persistent influence.''
 
I think we all know this.  It is nice to see the illogical thought of this site so clearly exposed.  I am not reading this site because I expect to become informed by the authors or to convert the other commenters.  On several religious issues they are actually quite informative but on politics they do not even rise to the level of shallowness.  They have a bias that is so obvious that it needs distortion, illogic and ad hominems to maintain it but it is nice to see it admitted.  Most comments on a blog challenging an opinion are not being written for the ''amen'' corner which this blog has a resident group but for the lurkers.  It is those who do not comment but read the comments that commenters hope to inform and that each side uses the other as foils for their reasoning.  By just admitting that the opinions posted here by the authors are one sided and essentially shallow it is helpful.  For that I thank this comment for as I said it is stating the obvious.
 
I will be able to quote this on every post that Mr. Winters makes from now on.  He supports a corrupt political and philosophical position and uses distasteful tactics to do this so readers are now aware that this means that the Jesuits who run this site offer Mr. Winters his support.  We had a president once who said the ''Buck stops here.'' The above comment is right and that the Jesuits of today are not the Jesuits of old and those Jesuits would not allow the drivel that appears on this site to come out in their name.  What a shame and as I said the other day they are in charge of half the Catholic universities in the country.
 
8 years 6 months ago
I don't expect these comments to change minds, but I also don't think its asking too much for America have some BALANCE, and for Mr. Winters to do a little more analyzing and less advocating for his own political positions.  There are 2 sides to every argument.  Mr. Winters, like most of us on here, comes to these issues from a very committed perspective.  BUT what has made America such a great journal is it gives everyone a fair hearing and analyzes.  Instead of demonizing people like Mitch McConnell, I would just rather see some real America-esque analysis of the issues.  Instead, its like Winters just wakes up and asks "who am I gonna piss off this morning?"
8 years 6 months ago
"maintaining a court system that they use disproportionally"
 
If by use it you mean business defending themselves from silly lawsuits instituted by the number one contributors to the Democratic Party - the trial lawyers, who institute them for one reason alone - to get rich.  I am a lawyer in a small town who works with small to mid-size businesses.  It is sad to see the costs of doing business today because of plaintiff's lawyers out to make a buck, .50c of which goes to the Democratic Party.  Its laughable that Obama and his gang demonize Corporations giving tons of money and then turn around and take millions from lawyers, fat cat unions and Wall Street itself.  Of the top 10 richest members of Congress, 8 are Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi is married to an investment banker!  
 
You are simply inventing falsehoods Mr. Killoran.  It must be nice living in such a world.  Anyone waiting for government, Republican or Democrat, to come save them from their troubles it going to be waiting a loooooooooong time.
James Lindsay
8 years 6 months ago
Vince makes an interesting point - those things that we buy as citizen taxpayers do make business possible, from education to transportation. We also do so as consumers. This is why business income taxes might be a more appropriate vehicle than the personal variety - since income and payroll tax proceeds aren't really "paid" by most employees at all. The cheques are written by the business owner without the employee ever seeing the money. Such taxes are a more complicated sales tax for all intents and purposes - although making the entire tax visible at the point of sale would be a disaster and invite evasion.
8 years 6 months ago
Mr. Bindner,
The American corporate tax income rate is the highest among industrialized nations, including the highly-socialized Scandinavian countries that so many liberals are always telling us we should emulate.  
 
I agree that the current tax code has too many loopholes and gimmicks that allow business and others to get breaks.  Republicans like Paul Ryan have proposed a much simpler tax code with only 3 or 4 tax brackets and NO loopholes.  This would more evenly distribute the tax burden and avoid the gimmicks so many play.  Unfortunately this plan is DOA with the Obama administration who is taking a page from the Bush playbook - find an enemy, demonize it and unite your base!
8 years 6 months ago
''those things that we buy as citizen taxpayers do make business possible, from education to transportation''
 
Pardon me, but nearly all schools and transportation are government owned in the this country so how is business subsidized by our taxes.  And those that are not are not subsidized much by the citizen taxpayers.  Two major metropolitan transit systems which I am familiar with, the MTA in New York and Septa in Philadelphia, are government owned systems and not businesses.  
 
And when was the last time someone thought of the public school systems in this country as businesses.  Maybe we should turn them over to businesses.  The current teachers in New York and New Jersey make close to 150,000 a year when all their current and retirement benefits are accounted for.  No business would stand for that but liberal politicians use it to buy votes every election.
 
Fuzzy thinking is all that one can come up with to support the crazy economic policies of the left.  Ah, the new Jesuits.
Tom Maher
8 years 6 months ago
Rasmussen weekly health care repeal tracking poll of Monday, April 19, 2010 shows 56% of likely voters favor repeal of the new health care law and 41% opposse repeal. Conistantly the weekly poll has shown large majorities favoring repeal by a 15% margin. Laws without majority support are repealed.

The repeal effort also became more organized last week with the creation of the new on-line repeal patetion at www.reveramerica.org. The leader of this effort is former republican governor of New York, George Pataki. The repeal effort is drawing to itself highly capable political professionals.

The number of states with lawsuits against the health care law has grown to 20.

Obama is in te hmiddle of a political firestorm against the new health care law, his adminstration and the Democratic congress. Obama has lsot majority public support.
James Lindsay
8 years 6 months ago
@JeffLandry The corporate income tax only hits profit. It could be lowered and broadenned to include payroll and save most filers the trouble of doing individual taxes. Ryan is DOA because of what he does to entitlements. Privatizing FICA will never go anywhere unless the personal accounts created are invested in the individual's workplace rather than the economy at large. As far as Medicare/Medicaid/Insurance, a single tax could cover all three and should have an opt out for privately provided care from the employer - however most employers will find it cheaper to use the public plan. Once that is clear, the rate can be high enough to do so adequately.

@JSCosgrove. You are missing the fact that the transportation system is used to deliver products and supplies to factory and to market. Distributists are actually against this expense because they believe all should be local. Education benefits employers by providing a workforce. Am I not being clear?

@Tom Maher, Rasumussen consistently under samples Democrats, so there is a flaw in either their sampling or their adjustment model. Any Republican who wants a real read, rather than a demonstration of momentum, would do himself a favor by looking elsewhere for data. Regardless, repeal under this president is impossible. Even if the GOP has extreme luck in the House, there is no mathematical way to elect enough Republicans in the Senate to override an Obama veto of anything in 2011. They may get enough strength to negotiate a compromise, but it would have to be very favorable to Obama - favorable enough so that he gets something he wants now that he isn't getting from the status quo. I wrote about this on my blog and on Kos - what you can negotiate is single payer catastrophic. Without the single payer part, any modification to Health Reform is a pipe dream. Oh, it would have to be fully funded too, so be prepared to swallow a Value Added Tax as part of the deal.

This article is mostly about Wall Street Reform and the craven way the Republican leadership is using the issue to pander to its base (like it used Health Care), rather than pushing forward towards a bipartisan solution that it will not only add amendments to, but also votes. What MSW did not mention was the use of these issues as a fundraising tool. That is simply shameful. The Abramoff era is over - take the for sale sign off the GOP.
James Lindsay
8 years 6 months ago
Future bailouts will be fee based rather than tax (or debt) based, which is why the charge that the bill will lead to (taxpayer) bailouts is patently false. The smart thing for the GOP would have been to quietly let this thing pass with a few dozen GOP votes and then let the Democrats kill eachother over it in Conference.

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