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Week In The News: A Year In Review

The week in review, the year in review. Our weekly news roundtable live and in the studio looks back at 2012 and peeks ahead to the brand new year.

FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2012 file photo, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, left, and President Barack Obama spar during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP)

FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS – FILE – In this Oct. 16, 2012 file photo, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, left, and President Barack Obama spar during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP)

John Harwood, chief Washington correspondent for CNBC and a columnist at the New York Times.

Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent for the Washington Post.

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post “Barack Obama was elected to a second presidential term Tuesday, defeating Republican Mitt Romney by reassembling the political coalition that boosted him to victory four years ago, and by remaking himself from a hopeful uniter into a determined fighter for middle-class interests.”

New York Times “Hurricane Sandy was a disaster without modern precedent for New York City that, in one night, created a new homeless population of thousands. Longtime advocates for the homeless, and families repeatedly dislocated since the storm, say it exposed and worsened the city’s acute lack of affordable housing options.”

Associated Press Photos of 2012

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  • DrewInGeorgia

    LIBOR, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, HSBC, Standard Chartered, PFGBest, Knight Capital Group…
    It’s been a busy year indeed, have we learned anything?

    • sickofthechit

       Not until some of them get thrown in jail for 10 to 20 or more years!

      • DrewInGeorgia

        Unfortunately I think Raj Rajaratnam and Rajat Gupta are about as close as we’ll get without some drastic changes. The true Masters Of The Financial Universe remain unscathed, when the heat increases they’ll simply toss out a scapegoat and set up their MoneyChanging table in a shiny new temple.

  • StilllHere

    The Senate had all year and did nothing to avoid the fiscal cliff.  The Senate and its leaders are truly gutless.

    • Don_B1

      Mitch McConnell has kept his Republican Senators in line on his quest to prevent ANY positive legislation that would give President Obama any credit in restoring economic growth for the 99%, with only a few failures as they had to give something a couple times to keep taxes on the wealthy low. In that way there are NO Republican votes for ANY Democratic Party sponsored bill, and particularly for cloture of any bill being filibustered.

      The House under Speaker Boehner has implemented a rule that no tax bill will be brought to the floor that requires Democratic votes to pass.

      The Republicans are truly the “gutless wonders” as they quiver before the threat of being “Primaried.” That includes even the Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, who had to filibuster his OWN bill.

      • margbi

         My question is why do Republicans keep electing to Congress, people who have stated their idea of governing/legislating is “sit on your hands” and “don’t pass anything which could redound to the benefit of the President?” And why do people run for these offices if they don’t intend to work at them? If they were in private business they would be fired for not doing their jobs.

        • Don_B1

          Because Republicans in State legislatures, particularly when the governor is also a Republican, have been able to gerrymander the state legislative districts to give Republicans the advantage in winning more districts with “safe” margins, so they are more free to do whatever they wish.

          This has happened in states with Democratic Party control, but to a much lower effect.

          When the total votes for Republican candidates for the House of Representatives is 1 million less than the total votes for Democratic candidates, but there are 234 Republican members to only 201 Democratic members; further 33 states have Republican majorities to only 16 states with Democratic majorities.

          As examples, in both Ohio and Pennsylvania, voters cast more ballots for Democratic candidates, but each state has 12 Republican members and only 4 Democratic members elected to the House.

          It is basically the fact that only the committed partisans that tend to vote in mid-term elections, such as 2010, and this has allowed states where the Republicans can get voters out in the mid-term elections to enable the state legislature to gain control and gerrymander the districts when the decadal reapportionment after a Census occurs.

          It should be noticed that California established a “nonpartisan” process to achieve its redistricting following the 2010 Census, with fairer results.

          • margbi

            Thank you for the entirely lucid explanation of the “how” this is done. I think I was asking more the “why” it’s done. Do the voters you cite sincerely believe they are doing good for the country to place in office those who will not do what they are elected to do? Is the reason they do it to bring things to a screeching halt because they truly believe the country is headed in the wrong direction and only their clear thinking can save it?  Are they satisfied with the performance of their representatives?  Your thoughts, please.

          • Don_B1

            There are many reasons that voters make the choices they do. It would take more space and time than I have to list them all, but see some of the latest social/political science and brain science on how people make choices.

            What it comes down to is that a lot of people make choices based on emotions: that is why candidates make ridiculous claims branding their opponent “socialist,” “godless,” or desirous of “taking your guns away” or “taking your job away” by taxing or regulating it.

            It is human nature to resist other people making “decisions for them” or controlling them. It takes that other aspect of human nature, the recognition that together many things can be accomplished that could not be achieved, at least by many, all alone.

            Government it the way a body of people get together and decide where the separation between doing things alone or together is drawn.

            But in drawing that line, people often do not deal in facts to build the emotions that will lead others to make decisions that do not help them but do help the people making the false arguments.

            That is what is going on right now, as the wealthy who want to reduce their taxes at any cost, argue they are “job creators” and deserve an “extra reward” above what the marketplace awards them for their efforts.

            Yes, many think they are voting for the best for both themselves and the nation, but for the majority of them it is their ignorance of the issues (particularly economics and climate) rather than what is true of the party leadership which is making disingenuous arguments to confuse them and enlist their emotions to make what will turn out to be bad decisions.

  • Jasoturner

    Let us reflect on the asinine posturing of our childish congress, which cares more about maintaining sinecures than in doing the work of governing.  How these people can look themselves in the mirror is a mystery.  Power and money makes them shameless.  They are pathetic human beings, even if more wealthy and privileged than someone like me will ever be.  At least I try to do the right thing and don’t lie to my clients.

  • Gregg Smith

    Okay, I’ll say it. I think Obama was drunk and passed out the night of the Benghazi tragedy. Where was he for seven hours while we were under attack? No one has even asked. And yes, Hillary too. We see her knocking back drinks all the time. “Fainted” my eye. We have the Secret Service with hookers, lesbian sexual harassment at Homeland Security and Obama’s doctor who told him to cut back on his drinking. It’s party central, few are serious and the rest are incompetant.

    This is my opinion based on speculation. You can bet the press would be asking these questions if Republicans were in charge.

    • Steve__T

       And you leave the year on your favorite note, F flat sour and off key.

      • Gregg Smith

        I’m more of a B sharp guy.

        It’s horrendous and the lack of curiosity by the press is astonishing. The radicals are winning, the Middle East is spiraling even more out of control and the world is in peril because of it. And we’re told Obama killed Osama so everything is peachy. Nothing to see here, move along.

        • keltcrusader

          The Middle East has always been a hot bed and Bush II just had to go in and stir the hornet’s nest up with a big stick. And you wonder its getting worse? Clueless you are.

          • Gregg Smith

            No sir, Iraq is now an ally in the heart of the Middle East. It inspired the Arab Spring which Obama is allowing to go horribly awry.

    • jimino

      So you prefer mentally deranged and profoundly incompetent, like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bremer, Feith, Paulson, Greenspan and the rest of the Bush team.  I guess it’s a matter of taste.  

      • Gregg Smith

        That’s funny!

    • anamaria23

      The President’s doctor recommended moderation in drinking, a healthy diet, daily exercise, among other things.  That is standard advice given by most doctors to their patients. 
      I have only twice seen Hillary knocking  back drinks in the 20 years of her public service.   You see her doing that “all the time”?

      • Gregg Smith

        Yes, even going back to the 2008 campaign.

        Anamaria, I know my comment sounds harsh but my basic point is we don’t know and no one is asking. We know Obama was in bed that night, he failed the “3AM phone call” Hillary warned us about. It’s inexcusable and no one seems to care. Hillary has been making excuses to avoid testifying for some time now and she said the buck stops with her. Perhaps it’s unfair on my part but she is the one who has sown the seeds of doubt by her past.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      “I think Obama was drunk and passed out.”

      Hey, as long as we’re making shit up…

      • anamaria23

        Isn’t there a five hour time difference between Libya and US?  The President could be drunk and passed out at  6p.m.?

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Sure, why not?

          I mean, if I’m gonna pull stuff out of my hinders, a la Greggg, I’ll go whole hog.

          • StilllHere

            Like you have another source.

          • nj_v2

            ^ Troll

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            That’s your best shot, asshole?

            Or shall I say, “That’s your best shot? Asshole?”

          • Gregg Smith

            Why wouldn’t he get out of bed?

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            You’re in a hole; keep digging down. It solidifies your reputation.

      • StilllHere

        That’s where you live.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Keep classing this place up, dipshit.

  • Gregg Smith

    So David Gregory breaks the law by possessing a 30 round magazine he used as a prop to argue there should be a law against them. Huh? And now his cohorts in the press (Howard Kurtz and others) are saying he shouldn’t be prosecuted as they scream for tougher gun laws. This is surreal but the hypocrisy doesn’t end there. The school Gregory sends his kids to has 11 armed guards.

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      The president’s daughters and the vice president’s grandchildren attend that same school, of course there are armed guards.

      • Gregg Smith

        There were armed guards before Obama at that school. I’ll amend: There are now 11 armed guards AND bookoos of secret service agents with guns and walkie talkies that can summon fighter jets at the school. One would think Gregory would find another school in a gun free zone like the one in Newtown.

        • Expanded_Consciousness

          Prior to Obama’s kids, that school educated the children of Gore, Clinton, Nixon, Roosevelt.

          • Gregg Smith

            Can Gregory not find another school?

          • Expanded_Consciousness

            It is a great school. Probably the best in the area.

            “Sidwell, which has been described as “the Harvard of Washington’s private schools.”

            “The Sidwell Friends Upper School has a particularly strong English Department. In 2005, Sidwell’s AP English Exam scores were the highest in the nation for all medium-sized schools (300–799 students in grades 10–12) offering the AP English exam.[5] Sidwell does not offer an AP English course.”

            “Tuition for the 2010-2011 school year is $31,069 (prekindergarten-grade 4) and $32,069 (grades 5-12)”

            Notable Alumni: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidwell_Friends_School#Notable_alumni

            Notable Parents: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidwell_Friends_School#Notable_parents

  • Markus6

    Maybe it’s because it was an election year, but this last year is when the Congress and our president showed us how much smarter they are than we are. Terrible economy, endless wars, scandals, shootings, high unemployment, zero progress on climate …. and we put the same people back in office.

    The Republicans have convinced their allies that Soros is behind everything evil, while the left is intent on creating big government socialism, global climate change is a conspiracy and Obamacare is the beginning of the end of private enterprise. The Democrats have convinced their allies that the Koch brothers are behind everything evil and the right is intent on helping only rich people and big corporations while crushing unions and the little guy. 

    I exaggerate, but the point is that our leaders are smarter than we are. They know that if they demonize the other side, we’ll fall in line and dig in to protect our side and vote for our guy no matter how incompetent or crooked he or she is. And we’ll even help our leaders by coming up with cute little derogatory phrases for the other side and selectively picking out data that fits what they’ve told us to think. And so the government stays in power and treats us like the adolescent schmucks we are.

    • Gregg Smith

      A big criticism of Romney was that he refused to go after the President. Benghazi was teed up for him at the debate and he didn’t go there. He said over and over, The president is a good man but I have a different opinion about … 

      Meanwhile Obama and his cohorts called Romney a felon, implicated him in the death of a cancer stricken woman, said he enjoyed firing people and outsourcing jobs. They said Ryan wanted to throw grandma over a cliff. Obama said Republicans wanted dirty air and water, they want autistic kids to suffer. We are more divided than ever between men and women, blacks and whites, old and young, rich and poor. Divide and conquer works.

      No, Obama is not a decent man and Romney should have said so.

      • toc1234

        right – some PAC should have spent some money showing the country how compassionate Obama is when it comes to his own family… you know, the aunt who was supposed to be deported 5yr ago but instead has been living in public housing in boston.  or his equally illegal uncle who is driving around centeral MA drunk w/o a license.  Obama is all about others giving a little more but the guy won’t even help his own family (except to order some ACLU lawyers to their defense when they become a political liabilty).

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Yup, just another Republican who wasn’t fightin’ enough.

        “Conservatism never fails. It is only failed.”

        • Gregg Smith

          He just should have realized the nasty, take no prisoners, politics of personal destruction opponent he was dealing with. 

          • Mike_Card

            He spent nearly 7 years running for the office and had an insider’s view of Swift Boat tactics.  He didn’t make all that vulture fund income by being pure as the driven snow.

            Besides, Ann asked him, “Mitt, can you save the country?” and he answered yes.

            He knew full well what he was letting himself in for.  He just proved to be not very good at it.

          • Gregg Smith

            Newt was my man but in the end I voted for Romney not against Obama.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            When a right-winger does it, it’s JesPoltics, ThatsTheWayTheGameIsPlayed.

            Go huff some paint from the spraycan of The Clinton (sic) Scandals (sic).

      • Don_B1

        It is not that Republicans would spend money to make the air or water dirty, or autistic children suffer; they just did not want to spend ONE DIME to prevent that from happening, no matter what it cost the rest of society.

        The support the rent-seeking activities of the wealthy at ALL COSTS to the rest of society. They really want to roll back the government to the Middle Ages when feudal lords ruled the world.

        That is why they cannot accept the science of Climate Change which will require government action to prevent being a huge disaster for the world.

        The panacea of small government is a false god, but it is the Republican’s “god”; what the battle for power is all about is WHO will get the “spoils of government,” irrespective of the welfare of the people.

        • Gregg Smith

          We could cut government in half and it still would not be “small government”.

  • nj_v2

    Republican jackassery of the week:

    http://news.yahoo.com/mitts-son-says-never-wanted-president-anyway-150612736.html
    Mitt’s Son Says He Never Wanted to be President Anyway

    [[ “He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life. He had no desire to . . . run,” said Tagg, who worked with his mother, Ann, to persuade his father to seek the presidency. “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside. ]]

    (excerpt)

    (Abetted by Democrat jackassery)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/27/fisa-senate-vote_n_2372720.html
    Senate Rejects FISA Reforms, Delays Vote On Bush-Era Warrantless Wiretapping Program

    [[ The Senate rejected three attempts Thursday to add oversight and privacy safeguards to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) amendments that authorize the warrantless wiretapping program begun under President George W. Bush, but delayed a final vote on the measure until Friday. ]]

    (excerpt)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/28/fisa-feinstein-obama-democrats-eavesdropping
    GOP and Feinstein join to fulfill Obama’s demand for renewed warrantless eavesdropping

    The California Democrat’s disgusting rhetoric recalls the worst of Dick Cheney while advancing Obama’s agenda

    http://www.salon.com/2012/12/26/the_conservapocalypse_continues/?source=newsletter
    Conservatives’ full-on meltdown
    In the wake of Wayne LaPierre’s looney press conference, Dick Armey is exposed as a gun-empowered extortionist

    And a kind of overview of the year:

    http://www.alternet.org/5-biggest-gop-mess-ups?akid=9853.1084699.ZO6QLW&rd=1&src=newsletter766640&t=2
    5 Biggest GOP Mess Ups
    What Republicans got wrong in 2012.

  • toc1234

    this year I learned that Tom is even more in the tank for the Dems than I had thought.

    • StilllHere

      You must be new.

  • toc1234

    hey Reid – fyi your Senate hasn’t passed a budget in three years…

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      Maybe if they were sent one worth passing.

      • toc1234

        from say, the WH? – oh wait, Obama did send the Senate a budget and it got ZERO votes from Reid’s Senate.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Cite, please.

          • StilllHere

            pathetic, it’d help if you had some familiarity with the basic facts.

          • nj_v2

            ^ Troll

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            If you’re so all-fired informed, you can do TOC’s homework for him, you hack.

        • Don_B1

          The government is operating on the Budget Control Act of 2011, which raised the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion and put in place $900 billion in spending cuts (no revenue increases) with another $1.5 trillion to be implemented by 1 January 2013.

          This has been agreed by all parties to control spending.

  • Mike_Card

    Ashley Judd for Senate!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      What state is she from, again?

      • Mike_Card

        Cain-tuck.  I think she could take out mush-mouf McConnell.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          What about Jim Bunning? I think he retired when he was a “bit beyond it”, so to speak. But given what’s happened to the southern GOP, he may just blend in now rather than sticking out.

          • Mike_Card

            Rand Paul got Bunning’s seat in 10; McConnell is up in 14.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            I’m just spitballing here, but I think that Bunning wouldn’t look so out of it (mentally) in 2014, simply by staying in place while his party went more extreme while he was out of office.

            (Edit: I’m not saying this as if it’s a good thing.)

  • OnpointListener

    FISCAL CLIFF, GUN CONTROL, GLOBAL WARMING, YOU NAME IT:
    None of this country’s problems will be fixed until we overturn “Citizens United” and have CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM.

  • Anita Paul

    Will the media stop with the both sides stuff.  The Republicans have refused to cooperate with the President from day one.  Speaker Boehner’s House has been the most unproductive house in history.  They spent most of their time trying to find new ways to block abortion. 

    • Don_B1

      The last two nights, Ezra Klein substituted for Rachel Maddow on her show and took the Republican idiocy on, demonstrating just how destructively fanatic the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party has become.

      Another analysis comes from Steve Kornacki at Salon:

      http://www.salon.com/2012/12/27/triumph_of_the_tea_party_mindset/

      which argues that though the formal Tea Party is in decline as shown by the imbroglio at Freedom Works with Dick Army being ushered out with an $8 million “golden parachute” (what else are stalwart Republicans good for?) after trying to clean out some non-conforming officials, at least to his point of view.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    It’s going to be an interesting new year.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      In a “May you always live in interesting times” kind of way.

  • Scott Miller

    John Boehner’s problem is, if he honestly is trying to carve a moderate, work with the opposition path, is that he slept with a few too many dogs and is now infested with fleas.  If he was posturing, it simply backfired.

    • MarkVII88

       Boehner needs to decide whether it’s more important to find a solution to the fiscal cliff or to maintain his Speakership.  I mean how horrible will his or any national politician’s life be if they actually make that sacrifice to get something done?  Politicos and pundits make “political suicide” sound like jumping on top of a live grenade.  So what if Boehner loses his Speakership!?! He’ll still be a congressman…at least until he’s voted out…and even then, he’s going to go back to Ohio and still be rich.  How awful.

  • Michiganjf

    Many announced the death of the Republican Party after the election of 2008… 

    … that was certainly premature, and Republicans are likely to dominate mid-term elections for perhaps another decade yet.

    Still, 2012 did point to one certainty… 

    …America IS INDEED outgrowing the backwardness and obstinacy of the modern Republican Party, and will struggle to move toward progressive policies with or without Republicans.

    Republicans can change to more closely reflect modern America, or they will definitely fade ever more into obsolescence.

    • William

       Why did they win so big in the 2010 elections?

      • Michiganjf

        Try reading my post again.

        • William

          I did and don’t agree with it. 

          • Michiganjf

            Well, at least on re-reading, you found your question had already been addressed in the original post.

        • Don_B1

          I think you have to actually tell him that the radical Republicans were able to take advantage of the “low-turn-out” election mentality of average Republican voters that mid-term elections have traditionally been something they do not need to vote in.

          Those “average” Republican voters may come to different conclusions as they see the results of their legislators’ actions in the disaster the radicals are willing to create.

          But the MSM will have to give up on being “friends” with both sides and start telling the truth about how asymmetrical the forces of disruption are, being much stronger from the radical Republicans.

          And the general voter will have to get more involved and see just how idiotic the Republicans have become. The problem for the general voter in the current economy is to see that an analogy is what happened in either Sweden or Australia when they switched from driving on the left side of the road and started driving on the right side. That is sort of what happened when the housing bubble popped and the financial derivatives took down the banks. Everything that one would do in a “normal” downturn was backwards from what works in the kind of recession that was turned into a depression by inadequate stimulus.

          When you look at the Republican response of promoting stimulus back in 2001 and 2002, they knew that stimulus was required for that relatively mild recession; the problem was that their idea of stimulus, giving large tax cuts to the rich, who do not have good investments to make that affect the economy in the short term, was not particularly effective. See:

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dean-baker/there-is-no-santa-claus-a_b_2362845.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&ir=Politics

          But it is hard for the ordinary voter to grasp that level of economic theory and recognize when the economy has reached the Zero Lower Bound in interest rates so that the economy is in a liquidity trap, where because of an economic shock that has greatly crimped aggregate demand so that those with money have no productive ways to invest it without seeing customers for the goods and/or services that they would produce with that investment.

          And that lack of understanding is what Republicans are taking advantage of to sell their debt vigilante story instead of creating jobs first. But it is what will make the United States the weakling of developed countries unless they are stopped soon.

      • Mike_Card

        It’s predictable in the off-year election following a clean sweep in the Presidential election.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      Actually what died are the moderates – it used to be both sides would posture and fight and then a group in the middle would push some compromise through. That middle is too small to do anything anymore.

      • Don_B1

        Except that most Democrats are in that middle but they do not have anyone to work with on a rational approach to solving the country’s problems and push through that compromise. The radical right will not compromise one bit on anything.

  • Scott Miller

    Let’s leave NRA out of the discussion.  They’ve demonstrated themselves to be so disconnected from a safe America there should be no seat at this table for them.

  • Michiganjf

    Thank Republicans for America’s redistricting woes… they have presided over the last 20 years of redistricting!

    • Stephen_Mangion

       Both the Ds and Rs do this.  I live in Massachusetts – a state completely controlled by the Ds and the birthplace of gerrymandering.  The Ds Gerrymander here – and in IL and other states as well. . .

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        The courts have invalidated the modern GOP’s redistricting oftentimes. And don’t forget Texas, whose state lege (the laboratory of bad gummint) got to redistrict twice after 2000.

      • Michiganjf

        Research redistricting a bit for a better understanding of precisely what has happened over the last 20-30 years.

        Republicans have LARGELY presided over redistricting in those states wherein redistricting is left to state legislatures… many “Democratic” districts are “Democratic” because Republicans found value in cramming Democrats into as few districts as possible… in the House of representatives, it’s the NUMBER of districts one party controls that counts.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    “Two factions disagree on everything, we’re so polarized.”

    Hey, the GOP hasn’t let up on the polarization gas pedal since a tubby skirt-chasing governor from a small state beat an incumbent who was practically bred to be president, way back in 1992.

    “Disagreeing”, once again, is the code word for “Democrats aren’t just rolling over and taking it”.

  • css_MA

    Where are America’s youth?  America needs a massive youth movement.  

    • Don_B1

      They need to revive some form of OWS, and petition their representatives, particularly Tea Party mentality Republicans.

      Then they need to get ready to vote in 2014 and show that they mean it.

      But the youth turnout for Obama in November 2012 was just about the same as in 2008, relative to the total turnout reduction between the two elections. Where they failed, big, big time, was in the 2010 elections, along with a lot of other moderates.

      Elections count, big or “little.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=919583 Chi Wong

    Every year is apocalyptic, full of crisis, political and economic distress yet we survive and life goes on.  Onto the new year.

    • Don_B1

      So far that has been true for most of us. But next several the elections will be critical as whether we solve the economic and climatic problems for the benefit of all or just for the really wealthy. If the choices don’t put the country, and, with leadership, the world on the right direction, there may not be a way back, and thus the world will be committed to disaster.

  • toc1234

    two countries? let’s start by jettisoning VT.

    • andreiovitch wudnitski

       huh?

    • TomK_in_Boston

      You got something against cows?

    • Don_B1

      Another simplistic, illogical and inefficacious response from the nonthinking peanut gallery.

  • Stephen_Mangion

    .  Karen T’s comment on redistricting” is right on.   But it is up to “us” to stop the politicians from dong so, right?

    .  Seems to me that both sides of the spectrum tend to denigrate the other sides point of view.  Not enough “respectful” disagreement then leading to working things out . . .

    • hennorama

      A Right To Vote Amendment  would solve a great deal of the pre-election nonsense from both major parties, but this is a long shot.  If we didn’t get it after the 2000 Florida Fiasco, it’s unlikely now.

      There’s a crazy quilt of something like 13,000 different voting districts nationwide, each with its own set of rules.  This makes it much easier to make mischief.

      See:http://www.fairvote.org/four-reasons-to-support-a-right-to-vote-amendment

      Gerrymandering can be solved, though.  Look at California, which has both the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, and a Top 2 primary system.

      Now 14 people – nearly all non-politicians (currently 5 Dem, 5 Rep, 4 Decline To State) – draw the district boundaries.  This is one way to avoid the entrenchment of incumbents and may lead to more moderates being elected, and fewer political extremists.

      The Top 2 primary system, where the top two vote-getters for each office in the primaries then go on to the general election, regardless their party preference.  This may result in more moderate candidates, since they will need to appeal to voters of both major parties, as well as independents.

      In sum, there are solutions available.  It takes a bit of work to advance them, but there’s some hope.  Pres. Obama said in his victory speech “By the way, we have to fix that,” so there may be movement soon.

    • Don_B1

      There is little to respect in the Republican’s point of view unless the goal is a plutocracy of the extractive industries and little improvement in the lives of everyone else. And their way of deceiving the electorate about their ultimate goals is worthy of being called out in no uncertain terms; consider the way George W. Bush campaigned in 2000 with statements on taxes and the budget that did not add up. And his campaign supported CO2 reduction for mitigating Climate Change, but he reversed it as soon as his Vice President (Cheney) met with the fossil fuel industry.

      The Republicans have been in disrespect mode toward Democrats since President Nixon, particularly when a Democrat was able to win the Presidency. See:

      http://www.salon.com/2012/12/27/triumph_of_the_tea_party_mindset/

  • nj_v2

    Ms Tumulty is right, the country isn’t particularly polarized. Most people, when presented with clear factual information,  support positions that are commonly regarded as “liberal” (but are really just rational, common sense views)—geometrically higher taxation on the wealthy, reduction of the military, single payer healthcare, etc.

    The two wings of the corporate ruling class (Dims and Cons) collude and rig the system against the interests of the majority to serve their rich and corporate masters who have rigged the system.

    • Don_B1

      There are no Republicans who are willing to speak up for moderate resolution of the issues, but there are some Democrats who still are. They need to be supported so they can call out the things being done under the table to benefit the well-connected.

      • StilllHere

        I don’t trust you to define moderate.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/dreamingmatthew Matthew Stephenson

    2012 will mark a breaking point for our current brand of conservatism. Global Warming now feels real, Gun Control is up for debate,the Republicans look like rape apologist, and a democratic President won a big victory. This year has been their death knell.

    • Don_B1

      But ONLY if the voters get off their couches and support them by calling, writing and contributing to the legislators that are doing the correct thing and writing to the papers that publish articles that do not fully educate everyone about what is going on to their detriment and educating them as well, by forcing them to cover what really matters to the real majority of people.

  • sickofthechit

    We Live on a Limited Resource in the Middle of Nowhere.  Until we get that through our thick skulls we are doomed to an ever diminishing existence. Charles A. Bowsher

    They are not “Republicans” anymore, they are “Repugnicans” which are ‘Republicans in name only’.

    • Mike_Card

      This is a party that now makes its platform out of 3 pieces of fiction:  Supply Side economics, Atlas Shrugged, and the Bible.  All interesting fiction.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        If they’re gonna read fiction I wish they’d start with some Star-Trek. I guarantee you there’s a better chance of finding reasonable answers there.

    • nj_v2

      I remember an interview years ago with Buckminster Fuller. In the context of space travel, he was asked whether we could be successful in space. Agitated, he say (paraphrasing), “Dammit, we are in space! Where do you think we are?”

      Re paragraph 2, i prefer Rethuglicons

  • MarkVII88

    I think Time’s “Person of the year” should have been the person who took that video of Mitt Romney addressing supporters at the private fundraiser where his true colors were shown when he spoke candidly about “the 47%”.  That guy deserves a pat on the back.  

    • Stephen_Mangion

       I sometimes wonder we might have heard if someone could have taped Obama at a private fundraiser . . .
      (I say “could have taped” because it was probably not allowed by the Secret Service etc.)

      • ktumulty

        You might recall that did happen to Obama during the 2008 campaign, when he made his comments about people clinging to their guns and religion.

        • Stephen_Mangion

           Good memory/catch. 
          I suppose the recalled 2008 event confirms that once a person is elected he/she goes into a bubble . . . .

          • ktumulty

            Or they learn that the microphones are always present. I have never seen the Secret Service stop anyone from taping anything.

            Bill Clinton used to occasionally get in trouble for things he said at fundraisers (open ones), including telling a crowd in Texas that he was sorry he had raised their taxes. His staff was always nervous.

          • Gregg Smith

            They had him on Univision saying he did not have the power to affect deportation by executive order. When he did just that, no one cared. 

            It’s not the words, it’s the coverage they get and the spin put on them. 

      • Don_B1

        Even in the Obama statement that came closest to the Romney “47%” comment, about some who “cling to their God and guns” [a paraphrase from memory so at least part of it is certainly a bit wrong], Obama continued, with the statement that he would still keep trying to show them he cared about them and would work to improve their lives.

        Romney included NO SUCH DESIRE, showing his total lack of compassion for the circumstances of the middle and blue-collar working classes. And he totally dismissed the poor who have no comparable resources to those of the 1% class in any effort to revive their circumstances.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Good call. It was important to see the intra-plutocrat dialog without all the camo about caring for the rest of us.

  • Scott B

    Norm Ornstein says that the problem with the Republican party is that it denies fact, history, science, and experience.  That’s the best quote all year (The Daily Show w/ Jon Stewart).

    From Reagan raising taxes 4 times, to global warming, that we had a healthier economy when we had higher taxes, that while they hold the majority in the House they lost members, that about 70% +or- of people in just about eery poll  think that the top 2% should pay more in taxes.   In their heads, PFFFT! Gone. It doesn’t exist. It never happened.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Exactly. The economy worked better with higher taxes, so why has the right been able to sell the “voodoo economics” myth that low taxes benefit everyone?

      It’s crystal clear that their actual agenda is redistributing more wealth to the top. Lower taxes absolutely is the best way to do that. So they dress it up with all kinds of trickle down spin and camo. The mystery is that so many voters still are fooled. How naive can you be?

      The #1 question now is whether conservadem Rockefeller republican Obama will sell out the middle class. He campaigned on letting the horrible Bush tax cuts expire over $250K, he campaigned on protecting SS and medicare, and he won, but he still seems awfully quick to “negotiate with himself”. 

      What I’d like is:

      Top rate at 50% and increasing through the higher income levels. It’s absurd that the top rate is reached at such low incomes. 

      Div and cap gains = ordinary income

      End of horrible “carried interest” scam for hedge fund con artists

      Financial transactions tax

      Strong estate tax

      Incentives for mfg in USA and penalties for offshoring

      Medicare negotiating prescription drug prices

      Substantial cuts in the war dept

      • nj_v2

        Agree with your list with a few modifications/additions:

        Top rate much higher, progressing geometrically (a la Jefferson) to the point where, say, billionaires are outlawed. 100% tax on income over $1 billion. No loopholes.

        Significant import duties to counter slave-labor, environmental destruction, and domestic job destruction enabled by so-called “free-trade” agreements.

        Tax carbon fuels. 

        Single-payer, universal healthcare. Medicare for everyone.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Good suggestions. Also, whenever a real (vs class warfare chicken little stuff) problem with SS arises, simply raise the cap to follow the money.

        • Scott B

           I don’t know that we need a 50% tax rate on anyone, but there’s a lot of reasonable fixes.

          First and foremost, income is income, regardless if you made it through labor or investing.  That some hedge find manager making $5B@yr:disqus pays less than half the rate a bus driver does is “crazy” (as Reagan said).

           More tax brackets. Why do we have 6, the top one being in the $360K and anything above range? That a millionaire of billionaire should be paying the same rate as someone making $360 is also crazy.
           That being said, why jack up rates on those making $250K@yr by 4%?  Start at .25% on $250K and increase the rate steadily by .25% increment until it reaches 4% for $1M@yr. For those making over $5M@yr, tack on .1%, and when you hit $100M a full percent. $1B@yr:twitter  get’s a full 5%. 

          Lower business tax rates to something more in line with the rest of the world, but raise person income rates. Then that same multi billion per year hedge fund manager doesn’t get to claim himself as a “small business”.
           
          Which brings me to the need to redefine what small business is. There needs to be a blending of how many employees and profits. A hedge fund raking in billions per year gets to claim itself as a small business, while some local outlet that’s not clearing a million in profit, but has one too many employees to qualify as an official small business, is entirely unfair. Some businesses go out of their way to stay under an employee count just to get the small business claim.

          • nj_v2

            5% on a billion dollars? Are you serious?

          • TomK_in_Boston

            LOL

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Caveat: He may be saying “increasing rates by an additional 5% starting at 1B”, and the baseline isn’t stated.

            I’m reading the intention of a series of incremental increases over whatever the top, starting-at-$250k rate, ends up being.

            It’s not clear to me.

  • Coastghost

    Jack Beatty thinks that regionalism has no ontological force in American politics? Wow: we are hearing his voice from the depths of New Hampshire courtesy of WBUR in Boston, speaking with a host anchored in Boston, speaking with one commentator who writes for the New York Times and another commentator who writes for the Washington Post. The Vaunted Northeast Corridor enjoys no preferred political status, per Jack Beatty: this is news, indeed. WBUR’s “Cognoscenti” assure us that they reside in the intellectual capital of the US: well, with Boston as intellectual capital, NYC as cultural and financial capital, and DC as political capital, I’d say the Vaunted Northeast Corridor’s hold on power is not under threat, at least as 2012 ends. I would not say that regionalism is a dead issue in American politics, however: far from it.

    • Stephen_Mangion

       Yes.  The “thinking that matters” from the WBUR web-site (http://cognoscenti.wbur.org/) causes me to shake my head. 
      Then there is WGBH – “greater Boston does not get much beyond what could be called the “Boston-beltway” best remembered as “Route 128″ by the cognoscenti.

      • VTSolarGuy

        Deck Chairs, gentlemen…

        Who cares?

        • Coastghost

          If anything, the effects will be felt much more acutely if or as our climate patterns continue registering the changes they’ve begun showing. (Of course, NPR will have to continue broadcasting 24/7/365 to keep us informed that global warming is occurring, and we’ll still need our power plants to continue generating electricity so that NPR can continue to tell us that global warming is in fact occurring.) If the prolonged droughts already being experienced across the country deepen, if or when water shortages begin to become acute: oh yes, many people will find they care. (Whenever I ride the Titanic, I carry a grappling hook along, just in case I find an iceberg I want to make a mid-Atlantic transfer to.)

      • jefe68

        Hmmm… One would think that if the show is called “Greater Boston” that it’s pretty much going to be about the greater Boston area. It’s not called Greater New England and beyond now is it.

        WGBH is also a local radio station that has NPR news for national news. 

        I guess they should do more news stories about Rochester NY.

  • dawoada

    I fear the tyranny of the majority.  Sure, the majority favors taxing the rich more.  That is taxing someone else.  It’s surprising that it is only 60%.  They favor Medicare; it is 50% paid out of the general fund, not by themselves.  Let’s think about what is right not what is to the advantage of only the majority.  

    • nj_v2

      What’s tyrannical about progressive taxation? It’s what Jefferson supported. Was Jefferson a tyrant?

      Highest tax rates for the wealthiest were over 90% for over a decade after World War 2.

      • Gregg Smith

        And they did not bring in more revenue. The average revenue as a percentage of GDP under Eisenhower was less that under GWB. And the rich paid a far lower percentage of the overall bill than they do now.

        Why do you advocate less revenue for government and more for the rich?

        • nj_v2

          I refuted your bullcrap claim the last time you posted this. When you make shit up to make a point, there’s no point in taking you seriously.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            …and I’ve posted the long term declining nominal and effective top individual and corporate tax rates, and the increasing share of the income of the 1%, over and over and over, and it never registers.

            Gregg is also very fond of repeating that the rich are paying an increasing share of total taxes. He doesn’t see that just means they are getting all the income, not exactly a cause for sympathy.

            Revenue as a % of GDP is a stupid statistic anyway. The signature of the W economy was the mortgage bubble. What do you think was more significant for tax revenue, the mortgage bubble or lower tax rates?

            A logical, vs ideological, argument might be that tax cuts drove the mortgage bubble, which increased tax revenue until they destroyed tax revenue via the Bush crash. Somehow I don’t think the voodoo econs want to make that argument, however :)

          • Gregg Smith

            The rich are paying a larger percentage of the bill and no body redistributed them squat. Your whole premise is whacked. I used Revenue to GDP but use any metrics you like, real dollars, adjusted dollars, per capita, any of it. You will find I’m correct. A 90% rate did not bring in more revenue.

            And NJ in all his nasty glory is as wrong as the day is long but too stupid to know it and typo cocky to admit it.

          • Gregg Smith

            No you didn’t. Your math was wrong, I called you on it and you ran. You are wrong, you refuted nothing. What I said was true. Your claim is complete BS and you are indeed advocating less revenue for government and more for the rich. I will lookout up and post, you can apologize later. 

          • Gregg Smith

            Here you go:

            NJ, try again your math is wrong. I used OMB numbers but they are the same as yours. The average under Eisenhower was 17.525%, under Bush it was 17.625%. I assume you rounded up (cheesy) to 17.53% for Ike. The 8 years of Bush were:19.5% – 2001
            17.6% – 2002
            16.2% – 2003
            16.1% – 2004
            17.3% – 2005
            18.2% – 2006
            18.5% – 2007
            17.6% – 2008Someone check the math, I get an average of 17.625%.A couple things. First it means nothing. I am not one who believes revenue and the economy revolve around the top rate. I am simply slaying dragons. A 91% rate did not bring in more revenue. It is not a solution. At the very least if the suggestion is serious then lets go back to Eisenhower era spending levels too.Also, assume you could do math at a 3rd grade level and your numbers were correct. Boy, you really got me. The difference between 17.53% (rounded up) and 17.3% (bogus math) is .23%. Wow! Look at all that revenue. Yea, that will fix everything… NOT! But again, you were not right, you did not preform math at a 3rd grade level and I was correct.Finally, I must admit I get a thrill imagining you seeing my comment and getting all twitchy to prove me wrong. Good luck but we’ve been here before. Take a chill pill, realize the liberal dogma is flawed and don’t let your nasty zeal cloud your judgement. Try to get me out of your head.And to other commenters, as NJ will likely not respond, feel free to tell me where I’m wrong. On average revenue as a percentage of GDP was higher during the Bush years than under Eisenhower. I understand this goes against all you believe but facts are stubborn things. Can we end this silly talk of 90% rates?

            From “The Liberal Take on the Fiscal Cliff” 3 weeks ago.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Wrong. A lot of the rich and even the moderately well off, like me, favor taxing ourselves more, since we love the USA enough to think it’s a good idea to pay for it, and since we know the economy works better for everyone when the gvt can afford to carry out essential functions.

      • andreiovitch wudnitski

         Like my father usually tells me around April when I kvetch how much I’ve paid in taxes, “Be glad you can afford to.”

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Good man!

          The right has replaced the idea that we’re fellow citizens of a great nation with one of heavily armed individuals grabbing whatever they can for themselves.

  • VTSolarGuy

    What Were You Thinking???

    Three callers; three issues:

    1.  Partisan Bickering & Fiscal Cliff
    2.  Climate Change ==> +4 degrees C by 2050
    3.  Mass Killings & NRA

    Your choice was to spend your limited time on #1– even though the consequences of #2 means massive die-off of countless species, and very likely, near-term HUMAN EXTINCTION, perhaps by mid-century!

    And sadly, THIS, folks, is the problem.  Scientific illiteracy abounds, and NPR apparently missed the vaccination.  Climate Change really IS the big issue of our (or any) time, and it gets swept away while we fiddle away with Gangnam Style, and Treyvon Martin…

    Please people, wake up.

    • Jasoturner

      We do not have our act together enough to address item 2 without reaching crisis mode.  We will, almost assuredly, try to geo-engineer our way out of it.  Whether that works or not, it is hard to say.  But we and the rest of the world will not give up cheap carbon fuels.

      It’s sort of like using air freshener instead of actually cleaning up your bathroom.  But that’s how we do things.

    • Don_B1

      @VTSolarGuy:disqus @jasoturner:disqus 
      You are both so correct!

      The longer humans wait to begin a strong effort to cut back the emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels, the bigger the effort that will be required to cut them when that full effort is finally begun.

      From Joe Romm’s blog at Climate Progress:

      http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/12/25/1376141/the-ghost-of-climate-yet-to-come-2/

      Read:

      “Delay is very risky and expensive. In releasing its 2009 Energy Outloook, the International Energy Agency explained, “we need to act urgently and now. Every year of delay adds an extra USD 500 billion to the investment needed between 2010 and 2030 in the energy sector”. In releasing its 2011 Energy Outloook, the IEA said “On planned policies, rising fossil energy use will lead to irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change” and “we are on an even more dangerous track to an increase of 6°C [11°F].” They concluded:

      ‘Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.” ‘
      “This is all by way of introduction to a holiday rerun repost. Four years ago I wrote about a NOAA led paper, which found:

      ‘…the climate change that is taking place because of increases in carbon dioxide concentration is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop…. Among illustrative irreversible impacts that should be expected if atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase from current levels near 385 parts per million by volume (ppmv) to a peak of 450-600 ppmv over the coming century are irreversible dry-season rainfall reductions in several regions comparable to those of the “dust bowl” era and inexorable sea level rise.’
      “And we know that large parts of the currently habited and arable land are at risk of turning into Dust Bowls, gravely threatening global food security.”

      Note that the International Energy Agency has long been known as a rather staid, laid-back agency, responsive to fossil energy interests, and it has taken something rather stark to “lite a fire under their feet.”

      Romm’s post goes on to enumerate other aspects of the climate necessary for civilized human life.

      Please follow the above link to the post on Climate Progress and follow the links within that post for even more details.

      When  I consider the effort that the United States, as the wealthiest country, will have to make to defeat this enemy, and surely it is a most formidable, implacable enemy, what the Global Warming deniers are asking would be equivalent to F.D.R.’s domestic enemies demanding back in the 1930s that he sell most of our ships and tanks to Germany, Italy and Japan instead of creating the Lend/Lease program with the U.K. and the U.S.S.R.

      Many of those in denial remain there for ideological reasons, the major one being their “false god” of “small government.” And it will take a larger government to deal with the danger of climate change.

      I consider that continuing denial in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary are acts of treason and the well-known radicals on this site are complicit in such acts.

  • andreiovitch wudnitski

    Resolved for 2013: to  listen more to Diane Rhem and less to Tom Ashbrook. And here is why. I just turned the off show after listening to him announce a summary for topics to discuss. At about 150mph, he zoomed through the most disparate of topics, from fiscal cliff to the Mayan calendar. Yes I understand this is a  show to look back at 2012, but I’m almost ready to ask why bother if all it results in is a sort of racing through headlines with an exasperated tone. I can imagine it difficult to moderate such a show, but more to the point it reminds me how many other times I just threw up my hands (and turned off the show) after hearing Mr. Ashbrook, in what I would describe as almost cavalier manner, throwing out information with such speed. In the end it becomse more sensationalistic than informative. Listening becomes both a challenge and annoying. Does anyone else feel this way? Is it just my lack of coping skills? Or are my lack of coping with this sort of radio a sign of mental health? (I’m being rhetorical; not asking for an on-the-spot diagnosis.)
       Diane Rehm, on at the same time as Tom Ashbrook, in comparison takes things carefully and with always a cool head. Maybe her voice problem helps in this respect because it forces her to slow down. Which is the point really. How can we be asked to consider with any sense of reflection such important topics as Mr. Ashbrook throws at us (a verb I carefully choose), let alone on a daily basis. While he isn’t exactly throwing flames on any particular fire, his sense of urgency doesn’t in the end help the conversation. He’s obviously an intelligent man. But not especially patient. Quick thinking can be admirable, but I fear the show is more a showcase for his quick thinking than anything else.
       If everything is to be rushed, what’s the point? How does it help?

    • nj_v2

      I think i’m with you on this.

      In the case of these fill-in-the-blank (week/month/year/whatever) reviews, i think the concept dooms the show from the beginning. Review an entire year in an hour? Really? Why can we really hope to accomplish? Time pressure to move on to the next topic permeates programs like this; part of the host’s job is to “move things along.” We’re never going to get into enough meaningful depth with this kind of format.

      And yes, Mr Ashbrook seems to exasperate this with his style of reaction to comments. And yes, it’s not limited to just these “review” programs. I’m not sure if this style is deliberate and willful or this is just naturally how he is in conversation. 

      I appreciate the need to keep things lively (i assume this is a goal), and i understand there’s a lot going on in the studio (watching the clock for breaks, listening to the producer in the headphones while listening to callers, etc.) But still, the near constant (and often premature) interjections and interruptions when people are talking and the kind of rapid fire, almost glib responses you refer to leaves one feeling a bit overwhelmed and disjointed by the time the program ends.

      For a distinct—and, i think, more agreeable—contrast in style, i find Terry Gross’ approach better serves the process of communicating information. Granted, the call-in, multiple-guest/call-in format presents challenges not found in a one-on-one interview set up. But, when the speaker really has something important to convey, i seem to get more out of just listening to someone talk for more extended periods, which is what Ms Gross tends to do.
       

      • andreiovitch wudnitski

        Ha, look at us both. I just noticed we’re both writing like how Tom Ashbrook talks. Throwing up all sorts of unanswerable questions into the air! Is it an infection? Will it spread worldwide? What will happen if everyone starts talking this way?

        • DrewInGeorgia

          Everyone already does…

    • northeaster17

      I like them both but happen to like the frenzy of On-Point most days.

      • andreiovitch wudnitski

         I understand that feeling. I get caught up in it myself. My reaction comes when I feel used and abused by the speed and feeling no more the wiser about whether issue it is he’s discussing.

    • jefe68

      The worst thing for me is how Mr. Ashbrook will insistently interrupt people in mid thought. He keeps it up to the point where I sometimes have to turn the show off. It’s not always that bad, but I do get the feeling that he has somewhere else he wants to be on some shows.

      The other thing I dislike is Disqus, which on some days makes comment so frustrating I don’t bother.

      It’s somehow taken over this area and is on so many sites but gets a C- in terms of usage and being buggy.

    • anamaria23

      When I don’t like a show, I just don’t listen.

      • andreiovitch wudnitski

         Which is my point essentially, but forgive me for giving fair reasons for it. So I fail to see yours.

  • nj_v2

    We can’t control guns, but dammit, we can stop Santa from writing “Peace” on sidewalks! This must be one of the things the female caller had in mind when she referred to the U.S. as “the greatest country in the world.”

    http://occupyaustin.org/2012/12/freesanta-rally/

    Can Texas be forced to secede?

    • DrewInGeorgia
      • nj_v2

        Okay as far as it goes, but the nostalgia toward the end (“we once were the greatest”) loses me a little.

        No vote for women, slavery, oppression of labor, lynchings, rivers catching on fire…

        It’s always been a mixed bag. 

        The one constant element of “greatness,” as far as i can see, has been the collective ability to recognize, face, and overcome problems, injustice, inequality. 

        I try to be optimistic, but i have moments of doubt about whether that capability still exists.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          I completely agree with your sentiment about the nostalgia towards the end.

          I also agree that our biggest asset has been to recognize, face, and overcome problems, injustice, inequality. Unfortunately these days we seem to bow to our liabilities and completely ignore possible solutions unless they conform to our own personal agenda.

          I believe we do still have the capability to do what is necessary to perpetuate our species. In fact, considering the technological advancements we have made over the past hundred years our potential is greater than ever. The problem of course is not our potential, it’s our lack of will.

          • nj_v2

            I don’t think our challenges (or solutions) are primarily technological. It’s a mistake to (solely) look to techno-fixes/silver bullets, although technology can plat a part.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            I don’t necessarily subscribe to the technology silver bullet either. My point is that we have the tools required for the task at hand available, we just refuse to pick them up and use them because it is not financially profitable in the short-term.

          • Gregg Smith

            We have a government who can’t even pass a budget. 

      • Gregg Smith

        That’s five minutes I’ll never get back. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    If boomers ageing into retirement is going to kill the economy, I can’t even imagine what “one family, one child” is going to do when it hits China.

  • GKoenig

    In order for subsidies for big oil and other huge money flows at the federal level to change in any significant way; in order for many other major changes to take place, the USA will have to descend into a crisis similar to what’s going on in Greece.  That is, our government is firmly stuck at this point.  The effectiveness of the federal government is drawing to a close.  It’s toast!  Sounds scary, but we had better face it.

    • Markus6

      I think you’re right. The brightest students go to Wall Street to move money around (creating nothing) and make a gazillion. Firefighters in parts of Ca retire at 50 with 90% of their pay regardless when they started, while rarely fighting fires (they do “medicals). Bad teachers in our state can’t be fired for incompetence. Congresspeople on both sides spend 30 to 70% of their time fund raising from special interest groups. And of course, about half the people in the country depend directly on government payments. 

      And then there are the dopes who think it’s all the fault of the other side. 

      We are truly stuck. Sadly, it can get worse than Greece. Greece can’t print their own money. 

    • Don_B1

      @GKoenig:disqus @Markus6:disqus 

      The United States apparently will have to undergo some kind of trauma to cleanse itself of the misbegotten ideas that have permeated the Republican Party, mostly because they have tried to maintain power by appealing to the most retrograde elements of the American electorate:

      1) fundamentalist religionists who have thoughts of creating a virtual, if not literal, Christian theocracy while degrading religious rights of all other faiths, particularly Islamic,

      2) Evangelical and Catholic people who support making religious discrimination against homosexuals/transgendered the law of the land,

      3) people who distrust “others” such as Blacks, Hispanics/Latinos and Asians and all immigrants, etc. to the point that the Tea party has led the way to the reinstatement of the John Birch Society as a strong supporter of radical right Republican policies.

      And all these people, plus those who want “small government” because they distrust anything that might constrain their lives in ways they dislike, are thus put in the mode of supporting legislators that will constrain their lives not only in the bedroom and in church but in the ways that will limit their opportunities to improve their lives. Thus their incomes will not rise in the future as the wealthy pursue rent seeking by

      1) buying legislation to lower income and inheritance taxes for the wealthy or

      2) using legislation to carve out monopolies, whether through no-bid contracts or by limiting competition to those already in the business such as telephone and cable television companies against competition from other companies,

      3) using legislation to restrict the rights of employees in bargaining for wages or working conditions, thereby enabling the direction of a larger slice of the growth in profits to go to the capitalist (dividends and capital gains) owners of industry rather than the workers.

      The Republican Party interests are now fighting with each other, having wildly unrealistic views of how the world works, in particular of how macroeconomics really enables the proper analysis of how the economy works.

      Each segment wants to use the economy for its own purposes, from using “moral hazard” arguments to punish those who have made poor economic decisions and prevent the banks from having to pay for their deceptive dealing to those who just want to ensure that the wealthy can continue rent-seeking ways to continue to grab the vast majority of the growth in profits for themselves rather than have to share with the 99%.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    I missed the first forty minutes of the show and haven’t had time to read through the comments yet so forgive me if this correlation has already been drawn:

    Financial scandals, insider trading, petroleum spills, increased Global Pollution, Congressional Gridlock, mass shootings, increased weapons sales, skyrocketing healthcare costs, decreased tax revenues, right to work legislation, and increased dismissal of personal accountability. What do they all have in common? The primary obstacle to progress is the same on all fronts. What are we going to do about it?

    • nj_v2

      Okay, i’ll play!

      “What do they all have in common?”

      They all result from/are enabled by/are exasperated by the subjugation and take over of the government by monied and corporate interests.

      “What are we going to do about it?”

      The only thing that has ever seemed to work in the past: Organizing and action.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        I like your read on my comment and proposed solution but I was taking aim at something much more basic. Capitalism has become the great enabler of the worst aspect of Human Nature and not only encourages exploitation, it rewards it. We cannot legislate common sense, morality, or personal accountability, goodness knows we’ve tried. What do corporations, organizations, and legislation all have in common? Like an onion the more layers they have the worse they stink. My only point was that the reason we continue to fail in increasingly epic proportions doesn’t change.

        All I hear is “We can’t come up with a better system!”. How do we know? Have we even tried?
        The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging there is one.

        • nj_v2

          For most of human development, in most places, capitalism didn’t exist. 

          I think it could work, but it must be highly regulated by a political system that is truly of, by, and for the people.

          • Don_B1

            @nj_v2:disqus @DrewInGeorgia:disqus 

            Properly regulated capitalism IS the best way to organize commerce between humans as, ideally, it allows:

            1) Each human to be rewarded according to his effort and ability, which encourages everyone to put forth their best effort and make the maximum possible contribution to the society.

            2) Regulation ensures that NO ONE can be taken advantage of and that negative externalities of commerce between some of the humans in the society are paid for by their creators, not by those not part of the transaction.

            The difficulty, as with all human endeavors, is to keep the ideal within reach and not let some individuals or small groups gain an overwhelming advantage, so that the capitalism becomes effectively unregulated and is turned, not to the advantage of all the members of the society, but to just some small group, in what could be called an oligarchy, plutocracy or theocracy.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Like I always say, Capitalism is the one economic system which can run to ground every economic system we’ve known.

            Including capitalism.

          • Gregg Smith

            “From each according to his ability to each according to his need” 

      • StilllHere

        ^ pathetic troll

    • Coastghost

      To hear today’s “On Point”, the obvious and simple move is to outlaw and abolish the Republican Party. I can’t even count the number of problems this simple solution would resolve. 

      • TomK_in_Boston

        The wingnuts are working on it…

  • hennorama

    Most important US political events in 2012 – the Republican primaries.

    These circular firing squads/clown shows clearly showed that Republicans wanted ANYONE BUT Mr. Romney to be their nominee.  One supremely flawed fake after another rose in the polls – first Perry, then Cain, Gingrich and Santorum, until Romney’s vast money and organizational advantages finally won out.  After more than 20 Republican “debates.”

    Mr. Romney had to spend an enormous amount of his money, leaving him unable to respond well to the Obama campaign’s relentless portrayal of Romney as an out-of-touch, uncaring, Wall Street-loving, job outsourcing plutocrat who favored only the wealthy.  Romney was unable to define himself to the general electorate during the post-primary, pre-convention period, and the Obama campaign was only too happy to fill in the blanks.

    This refuted and neutralized Romney’s main argument – that he was the best guy to fix the economy due to his business acumen.  In addition, in order to emerge as the final nominee, Mr. Romney had to pretend to be more and more “severely conservative.”  This circumstance, combined with his “No Apology” book, meant he couldn’t turn back to the middle until it was far too late.
     
    Of course, Mr. Romney and his campaign didn’t help themselves at all.  The list of the ways Romney and his campaign shot themselves in the foot is almost endless:

    The London Olympics security “diss” and the trip to Israel.

    The secretive tax returns.  Then when the issue seemed to be dying, Romney volunteers, out of the blue, “I never paid less than 13%.”  Then Romney needed his accountants to reverse-engineer his 2011 Fed. return to comply with that remark.

    The complete lack of detail about his tax proposals.

    The convention debacle, with no mention of the troops in Romney’s speech, and Clint Eastwood’s embarrassing ramble, which became the most memorable moment.

    The “47%” remarks.

    The exploitation of the deaths of Americans in Libya starting with his statement on 9/11.

    In the end, voters saw through Mr. Romney’s pretense, and put him out of his misery.  Now he’s free to return to what he really is – a moderate Chamber of Commerce Republican.  And to amend his 2011 Federal tax return, to claim those charitable contributions.

    • Gregg Smith

      You can’t be serious.

    • OnPointComments

      All of the preceding was made possible by the main stream media’s unquestioning adoration of President Obama, and their failure to ply even the most rudimentary skills of their trade.

      • hennorama

        OPC – thank you for your response. I appreciate and respect your views.

        However, I find myself wanting to paraphrase Megyn Kelly’s memorable line to Karl Rove on Election night:

        “Is this just [something] that you [say] as a Republican to make yourself feel better, or is [what you say] real?”

        • OnPointComments

          I can tell from your clear and concise comments that you are too intelligent to not realize that there is a double standard in the press treatment of President Obama.

          • hennorama

            OPC your sardonicism is appreciated. As to media bias – like beauty, it’s in the eye of the beholder.

          • Gregg Smith

            “Sardonicism”? 

            OPC paid you a complement, don’t be an ingrate.

    • Don_B1

      Friday (2012-12-28) night’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” had a “Year Review” with “best/worst of the year” submissions in a number of categories that encompass some of your great list and range over other items also.

      But the big one they also agree with you on was the “47%” remarks and I will contribute the followup of Romney’s “Obama’s gifts to the 47%” comment in his self-pitying, whiney summary of his campaign loss to his big benefactors.

      • hennorama

        Don – I watched the show and was reminded of a few things I had forgotten. Thanks for reminding me of Mr. Romney’s unfortunate “Monday morning quarterbacking” with his donors. Mr. Romney should have simply stayed quiet, as his concession remarks were quite gracious and could have left the nation a positive impression. Instead we’re left, unsurprisingly, with further evidence of his cluelessness.

  • Harv Koplo

    Bring back the Fairness Doctrine – force the media to expose folks to all sorts of views instead of polarizing the country with only one viewpoint!

    On Point does a good job of bring various viewpoints to the fore…it is never mentioned how our country has been affected since the Fairness Doctrine was rescinded.

    There was never before a way for a Fox News or any media to control our population, or at least affect it so, by only providing one viewpoint. This has helped to polarize the country… 

    • StilllHere

      Polarized, yes, we’re all on the same pole.

    • Gregg Smith

      The left sure doesn’t want the “fairness” doctrine but neither does anyone else who respects the Bill of Rights. Bush’s FCC chairmanned tried to suggest balance at NPR and had very damning numbers to show the need and the left had a fit. And we pay for it.

  • hennorama

    When politicians of both parties create a scenario threatening the still-fragile US economic recovery, and then stubbornly refuse to anything about it, a campfire story comes to mind.

    One evening, a man with size 13 boots walked through the edge of the campfire to fetch a beer.  Upon his return, another camper spied the blackened bottom of the man’s boots, then remarked “Wow!  Those are some big ash soles!”

    • andreiovitch wudnitski

       i dont get it

      • hennorama

        Pssst – andreiovitch - switch the first letter of the last word with the last letter of the next-to-last word.  Alternatively, say the last 2 words aloud really fast three times.

        • Gregg Smith

          Just a hunch, andrelovitch wudnitski was being facetious and actually did not need you to show him the way.

  • adeleh

    I think term limits for the Senate and House would solve many of our problems because of the entrenchment of power holds of our current Congress.

    • andreiovitch wudnitski

       That always sounds good on paper. The problem with something like this is that it throws out the baby (wise experience) with the bathwater (ideological idiots).

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Nothing more the lobbyists and K-Streeters like than knowing the way around the Capitol (literally and figuratively) better than the people they’re working to influence.

  • ConcerndCitizn

    We need OPEN PRIMARIES.  Primary voters tend to be the most polarized, leading to the fear of current legislators for thier careers unless they stick to extreme positions.  Open primaries allow a more balanced candidate to prevail, since everyone can vote.

    • TyroneJ

       We have open primaries in Massachusetts. Yet the State Democratic Party has the most corrupt system for deciding who can be on the primary ballot as I’ve ever seen, and I’ve lived an a lot of States during my long life.

  • Dee

    To Jack Beatty and other pundits ” Oh, Ye of little faith …’

    I have spent year listening to you all write off Obama and 
    the weak economy and the GOP attacks as a doomsday. 

    Yet Obama won an overwhelming victory from a people who 
    refused to accept the Romney blaming his for the economical 
    ills of the country he inheritied. Still, it is too bad you were
    unable to rise above this doom and gloom and impose your 
    negativity on your listeners…who obviously weren’t buying 
    it. 

    Now, to hear Jack commnet this morning he suspects 2013 
    will be more of the status quo seems like more GOP doom 
    and gloom–already. Yet it seems to me and others Jack is forgetting again there is a new mix in the House in 2013 
    with 35 less Republicans elected in 2013 and a 4-5 demo-
    cratic gain in the Senate…and about a 10 seat loss on the 
    GOP side….

    Hence the mix is going to be different and indeed more pro-gressive at that. In addition, Harry Reid has promised to re-
    form the filibuster by hook or cock and Obama has promise 
    to go his own way if the GOP continues to block his agenda.

    I see all this as good news….plus the daily outraged from 
    the public against the GOP obstructionism….Dee

    • OnPointComments

      I guess “overwhelming victory” is in the eye of the beholder.  In the eye of this beholder, 4.7 million votes (3.7%) out of 126 million votes cast isn’t overwhelming.

      • TyroneJ

        I’ve found most NPR listeners I know to be “feelers” who are generally Math & Science illiterate.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          That comment hurts my feelings to the extent of 6.02x 10^23.

          But seriously folks, there’s a heap of improving economics and science coverage NPR could be doing. I add “economics” to math and science because too many context-free shock numbers still make their way to headlines and lead paragrafs on NPR.

          • Gregg Smith

            Exactly! We finally agree. Too many believe we can raise the top rate and fix things. There is no context. It’s silly.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            “Too many believe we can raise the top rate and fix things.”

            After your blip about “trillion dollar deficits” elsewhere.

            Submitted without comment.

          • Gregg Smith

            You’re funny!

        • Dee

          LOL …NPR listeners more feeling oriented 
          than mathematical and scientific thinkers..

          Well, there is a lot to be said for feelings as most people vote and buy things based on how they feel about things…Indeed, people will often hirer those whom they feel will best represent their company 
          and fit in with their staff….

          Yet , the bottom line remains it was the 
          Romney team that didn’t do the math…

          The Obama team knew way ahead of the summer the math they would win the cam-paign by… And although it seemed Romney won the first debate ..Obama noted in his Rolling Stone Magazine interview prior to the November 6th election how Romney’s electoral college votes were not shifting in his direction and how people were not
          accepting Romney’s shifting the blame for the weak economy (he inherited)into his 
          court.

          http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2009/0218/p09s02-coop.html

      • hennorama

        The popular vote totals and margins are interesting but irrelevant.  Where it counts, in the Electoral College, Pres. Obama won 332 of 538 possible votes, or nearly 62%.  This was an overwhelming margin.  Admittedly this is not as lopsided a victory as when Obama crushed McCain in 2008 by winning nearly 68% in the EC, but for a very vulnerable President with high unemployment and a less than stellar economy, this was an impressive win.

        And an equally bad loss on the part on Mr. Romney.  He blew what was a HUGE chance to win.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Your forgetting that Obama is a Democrat. Per our press’ handicapping, a mandate for a Republican is 50% +1 popular vote.

          As far as the EVs, this graphic tells us all we need to know about what OPC’s frame of reference is.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        That doesn’t even rise to the level of “apples to oranges” wrong. Maybe “apples to kumquats”.

  • OnPointComments

    Remember that promise that Obamacare would reduce premiums by $2,500?  I’ve just received notice that effective January 1, 2013, my health insurance premium will increase by 50%. 

    • Gregg Smith

      The preliminary CBO estimate (using Obama’s numbers and projections) put Obamacare at $940B. As soon as it passed the actual report came out telling a different story. Now the cost is estimated to be $2.6T. It’s been a big lie from day one.

      I was reading a comment and someone wrote about the Republican Primary and I had to laugh. I do think they beat each other up and it wasn’t helpful but did anything get more nasty than Hillary and Obama in 2008? It didn’t hurt Obama. Obama excoriated Hillary because her healthcare plan had the mandate. Now Obamacare does. She just had the balls the be truthful and he raked her for it then adopted the very same policy he derided. By any means necessary.

  • Ed75

    Last week I stated things the wrong way. The disaster in Connecticut is heart breaking, a friend was there for one of the funerals. It was heartening to see how much we love our children, but I invite people to consider the unborn children in their circle of care also.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      You totally had me up to “but I invite people to consider the unborn children in their circle of care also.”

      I was truly looking forward to thanking your for a well reasoned comment, then BAM!
      There’s the rub.

  • Allen Aston

    On several shows recently you have had several people speak
    for more gun control. I see this as a problem. Who is speaking about the real problem;
    people control. I do not know of any gun killing a person without a human
    pulling the trigger. People are attacking the tool, when they should be going after
    the cause. One reason people are for more gun control is that it is a far easier
    task to accomplish than people control. People would rather go after the low
    hanging fruit (guns) than go after the much harder people control. I feel a lot
    would be accomplished by recognizing that people should be responsible for their
    actions without regard of their intent. If someone causes a person to die, it doesn’t
    matter what their intent is. I am responsible for my actions. If I decide to
    drink and drive and cause an accident, it is my fault. Saying I was drunk and
    my host/bartender is at fault is ludicrous. Did the host/bartender MAKE me
    drink? No, I choose to drink, therefore my fault. Responsibility, enough said.
     

    • TyroneJ

      People will always kill people, and some mentally ill people will kill in a spectacular fashion probably due to one of the forms of “magical thinking” as the psychologists call it, whereby they think they will somehow see the aftermath of their handiwork despite their being dead if successful.

      The Newtown tragedy does not even come close to being the worst in terms of targeted killing of children in a school in the US. That “honor” goes to Andrew Kehoe, who on May 18, 1927 blew up a school in Michigan killing 38 children and 6 adults, and injuring another 58 people. It’s called the Bath School Disaster. Google it.

      • Gregg Smith

        What! No gun?

      • anamaria23

        I hope that does not imply that we just  regard greater gun control as futile.  
        We are not just rejecting guns, but would be  beginning to reject violence as acceptable in the nation’s consciousness, including wars.

    • anamaria23

      There is much sense in what you say,  We do have the highest rate of incarceration in the civilized world, however.    I think we do realize that people should be responsible for their actions, but it is not so simplistic.

      The fact that  unstable or immoral people have such easy access to guns is a large part of the problem of murder and slaughter.
      Other countries, such as Canada, Australia have such people,  including the mentally ill and  the violent video addicted, yet their homicide rate by guns is usually under 100 per year as opposed to 10,000 per year here. They have been resolute in limiting access to guns.

      The gun laws must be federally mandated to work.  Otherwise the guns travel from lax states to more rigid  states and cities, as the mayors frequently lament.

      Let’s  do common sense measures that would not infringe on the gun owners rights, but would diminish the possibility of yet  another slaughter and perhaps save some lives on the urban street.

      • hennorama

        Good points, anamaria23.  One problem – common sense isn’t.

        Now as to Allen’s drunk driver.  If someone is injured in this accident, the host/bartender who served the drunk driver alcohol may be liable.
         
        Let’s say the host/bartender served the drunk driver 30 shots, for example.  Does anyone need 30 shots?  Is it foreseeable that giving someone 30 shots might lead to harm?

      • Gregg Smith

        Often people agree on a goal but disagree about how to achieve it. Dialog breaks down when we assume the opposing viewpoint does not share the same goal. It turns poison when we accuse others with the same purpose of undermining or outright obstructing that purpose because we dismiss the means to achieve it. Not that you did that, you didn’t and usually don’t. I’m just feeling preachy, sorry.

        We all hate guns violence. All of us. IMHO stricter gun laws make more victims and there are fewer victims when gun laws are more lax.There is data to support it. You mention Australia. The links within the link below are worth checking out. If you don’t read anything else, please read the WSJ piece but this is a good overview.

        http://www.theblaze.com/stories/will-banning-guns-stop-homicides-stats-from-england-and-australia-show/

    • andreiovitch wudnitski

       So, according to your logic, because human nature being what it is, we should focus solving on the unsolveable (e.g. the mystery of the human being) while throwing up our hands at the solveable (e.g. reducing access to military style weapons through some sort of law or banisment) simply because you or any one individual can manage to out-think any given law. Well, I can also out-think the speed limit when I know there aren’t any cops around. I also go through red lights at 1am when no one else is on the road. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have traffic laws. The ultimate end conclusion to your logic, is that we shouldn’t have any laws because it’s a matter of personal responsibility, not laws. A laudable ideal. A practical nightmare.

  • Drew4U

    Apparently, because we’re headed into New Year’s Eve next week, someone employed by NPR decided to forget about posting the podcast of today’s On Point. I think that is horribly inconsiderate of the audience and the general public.

    • StilllHere

      They should be fired, today.

      • Drew4U

        The podcast was finally posted shortly after I posted my comment, so perhaps it spurred some action.

        Those of us who plug MP3 players into our computers don’t want to have to leave it there for hours waiting for that podcast that we need to have available for walking the dog, cleaning the house, mowing the grass and other mindless activities that need On Point and other good discussions in our ears.

  • nj_v2

    Republican Rethuglicon jackassery of the week; late-breaking addendum!!

    Lunatic Tennessee Senators want to hold debt ceiling hostage to one trillion dollar cut to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security!!

    These. People. Are. Nuts.


    Corker, Alexander Says Most Americans Won’t See Tax Rise; Focus On Medicare Cure

    [[ Tennessee Republican Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker said Friday “all the talk is about taxes, but when the dust settles, federal income taxes will not increase for almost all Americans next year.”

    They urged enactment of their plan “focused on helping Americans avoid falling off the fiscal cliff no one wants to talk about, the looming bankruptcy of Medicare.” The “Corker-Alexander Dollar-for-Dollar Plan” would reduce the growth of entitlement spending (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) by nearly $1 trillion in order to improve the programs’ solvency. In exchange, Congress would approve the president’s expected request for a $1 trillion increase in the debt ceiling. (Click HERE for the bill summary; click HERE for the bill text.) ]]

    (excerpt)

    • TyroneJ

       Of course, if they simply reversed the Bush unfunded medicare drug program…

      • Gregg Smith

        Obama has never operated under a budget and trillion dollar deficits are the new normal. EVERYTHING is unfunded.

  • Gregg Smith

    Sadly 2012 saw 500 murders in Chicago, most with guns. Chicago has some of the most strict gun laws in the country. 

    • JGC

      Maybe strict gun laws but not as strict as New York City’s.  High 5s to Mayor Bloomberg for reducing the Big Apple’s shooting and murder rate to the lowest level since 1963 when comparable statistics were first recorded.  

      Bloomberg speaks truth to power, no matter how the cranky Freedom Lovers pout over their lack of easy accessibility to guns, cigarettes and Big Gulps. 

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Police stopping all vehicles to Chicago to…what’s that phrase…”enforce the laws which already exist”.

      I’ll expect Wayne LaPierre to endorse the above any day now.

      • StilllHere

        Nobody cares what you think.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        I’m still waiting for Law Enfarcement to collectively change their motto from “To Protect And Serve” to the more accurate “To Punish And Enslave”. I should know better than to hope for a little truth in advertising, I hope none the less.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Wouldn’t it be nice if this story was about the USA? It could be, if more $ went into taxes and less into the pockets of financial con artists.

    VOA News
    December 26, 2012The world’s longest high-speed rail line began operations in China Wednesday.The first train of the 2,298-kilometer Beijing-to-Guangzhou route departed from the capital at 9:00 a.m. local time (0100 GMT), with a second train departing an hour later from Guangzhou.  Trains on the new route will travel at 300 kilometers an hour, which will reduce the travel time between Beijing and the southern economic hub from more than 20 hours to just eight.The Chinese government is planning to build a network of high-speed railways, with four east-west lines and four north-south lines in operation by 2020.

  • gslouch

    The Republicans are a disgrace to our country!  An absolute disgrace!   Talking about cutting “entitlements” that target the poor, elderly,retitred U.S. citizens while refusing to ask for a little more fromthe very wealthy.  Unbelievable!  Remember this at the next congressional election.   Pathetic!!

    • Dee

      I couldn’t agree more they are a disgrace to this country 
      refusing to part with some of their profits while demand-ing the middle class pay more & safety nets be reduced
      to the poor and the disabled….They are an unconscion-
      able class of people and they need to be kicked out of 
      office today. Well, there will be 35 less of them n the 
      2013 House and 10 less in the senate….The goal at this point should be to send them more of them out of office and perhaps the GOP party out of business….

      Someone on the Huffington Post yesterday posted the percentage firms like Goldman Sach’s and other paid 
      last year in taxes and it was stunning. In some cases such firms firms only paid between 1-2% of their income on taxes…with the highest showing no more than 3-4%
      percentage….So they are lucky there isn’t another 
      Storming of the Bastile by American tax payers….

      Disgusted and outraged too, Dee

  • anamaria23

    Reply to Gregg Smith:
    According to most recent data from Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgeries, the murder rate in the US is 20 times higher than the next 22 wealthiest countries combined.  Other data that I  read support around that number.  I read your link and will look for other data to support it’s premise.  It  speaks of up and down and doubling, but fails to say from what to what.  It mention automobile deaths as higher and we are working very hard to improve  car safety.
    America is armed to the hilt, yet all the guns do not prevent the high rate of homicide by guns.
    I respect that you want the same outcome as I but by different means.  What we are doing now is not working.
    All most are asking for is limited access to assault weapons and tighter  background checks and shared database. Hardly unreasonable.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Sadly your information has no basis in current fact.
      http://journals.lww.com/jtrauma/Abstract/1998/08000/Injuries_and_Deaths_Due_to_Firearms_in_the_Home.10.aspxMurder and violent crime are declining in the USA as apposed to Australia and the UK where crime is on the rise.  Perhaps this video will present you with information you are unaware of.http://youtu.be/ZRjxEAWwagc

      • hennorama

        Any author citing individual firearms crimes or crime data within a particular country or countries without citing the comparable US RATE of firearms crime, or the actual rates within the countries discussed, is intentionally misleading.  In the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, these are the rates of homicide by firearms per 100,000 population (2009):

        United Kingdom  0.03Australia       0.10United States   2.98

        The rate in the US was about 100 times the UK rate, and about 30 times the rate in Australia.  Looks like the UK and Australia are doing something right when it comes to homicides by firearms.  There’s a chart comparing the rates in this link, which is the source for the data above:

        http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/compare/194/rate_of_gun_homicide/10,192

        Let’s look at firearms suicides.  Here are the rates:

        United Kingdom  0.16  2009 (2005 rate was 0.18)Australia       0.79  2008 (2005 rate was 0.72)United States   5.75  2005

        So, in 2005, the rate in the US is about 32 times the UK rate, and about 8 times the rate in Australia.  Looks like the UK and Australia are doing something right when it comes to suicides by firearms.  There’s a chart comparing the rates in this link, which is the source for the data above:

        http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/compare/194/rate_of_gun_suicide/10,192

  • Duras

    A year in review … I just want to say one thing … Mitt Romney has no clue what it means to take responsibility for one’s own life.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Mitt? Mitt who?

      I haven’t seen hide nor hair of him for weeks. Our right-wing advocacy maching (and therefore our mainstream press) must have decided that Romney’s reputation (unlike McCain’s) can’t be salvaged, and have gone back to “1984″ him out of its collective memory.

      • Gregg Smith

        When was the last time we saw Hillary?

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          When she was burying Vince Foster.

          Do try harder, bub. Unless this is your best.

        • OnPointComments

          I wonder if all those people who worried to no end about Mitt Romney’s wealth while he was a presidential candidate will show the same level of concern over John Kerry’s wealth while he’s a candidate to replace Hillary for Secretary of State.  Maybe the scrutiny level is different if you marry money instead of earning it.

          • Duras

            Difference: John Kerry and his family feel that they have responsibility to pay back to the society that allows their wealth to be possible.  Kerry is of the idea that the rich have the responsibility to maintain public institutions and equal rights. 

            That has always been the difference between rich republicans and rich democrats.  I, and probably every liberal you talk to, have no problem with there being an upper class.  What I have a problem with is a denial of the interdependence of society.

          • Gregg Smith

            That is so not true, I can’t believe you believe it. Last year Romney paid back to society over 4 million. Kerry is a famous cheapskate. In ’95 he gave back $0. In 2004 (the year he ran) it was $14K. That’s not quite $4 million.

          • Duras

            Oh yes, the man who refuses to show at least six years worth of charitable donations (to a church mind you) feels that he only needs to show two years of tax returns during a time after his first presidential bid and for his second run at it. 

            Hey, bottom line, people can spend money as they may, but some believe that they have responsibility back to the society in the form of tax dollars.  In my opinion, conservatives like charity because it keeps people form looking at the actual macro-economic policies that have slowed social mobility over the last 32 years.  And the yacht argument is ridiculously speculative–people can yacht where they want to.  But there is zero doubt that Kerry rather pay more taxes whereas Romney feels that the rich are currently overtaxed.  

          • Gregg Smith

            Republicans are more charitable than Democrats. They understand the interdependent society and realize it starts in the individual’s heart not with a government bureaucracy. Romney has been far more charitable than Kerry. Taxation is not charity.

          • Duras

            I think the issue of organ donation brings light to who really cares about society vs. those who give to a church to promote a vision of society along with feeding the poor during Christmas time.

            Taxation ensures equal opportunity.  Without it, plutocracies arise, poverty increases, public education/public intelligence diminishes. 

            Read Adam Smith and get off the Ayn Randian mode of thinking.  

          • Gregg Smith

            No taxation attempts to assure equal outcome. It has nothing to do with opportunity.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            I wasn’t “worried about his wealth”, I was outraged by the way he got it,  as an economic con artist predator who never did an honest day’s work in his life.

            I thought it was ironic for an economic con man to claim he had the “business experience” to fix an economy wrecked by economic con men.

          • Gregg Smith

            He saved jobs, he saved companies and he made money. What’s not to like? It’s an honest days work. 

            What has Obama done in the private sector? Were you a Ted Kennedy fan?

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Mitt doesn’t really fit anywhere. He has no place. He won the primary because he and Huntsman were the only candidates playing with a full deck, and the class of the lot, Huntsman, was too sensible.  He had to suck up to the loons but they never trusted him, with good reason. Then the 47% comments showed him as a “sneering plutocrat” and no moderate who thought he might be the sensible old MA gov could trust him. It’s hard to maintain a presence when you have no core.

        • Duras

          I think Romney won because of lax campaign financing laws.  It was obvious that the majority of republicans hated him and would have put their money with Santorum, but there was bigger donors paying for Romney and Santorum’s ideological equivalents to split up that vote.  Democracy is already dead on the republican side.  Huntsman never got any money because he said two things: he would fight for campaign finance reform and he would break up the banks. 

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Romney won the Nom because the rest of the puppets were complete tools that imploded the second they hit the National Stage.

            Why are we talking about Mitt? He should be at the bottom of the Dustbin by now.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Yes, but that’s my point, really: Nothing gets disappeared in our mainstream media like losingness off the GOP.

          There are three basic tacks to watch out for: The election was stolen, the Republican wasn’t conservative enough/didn’t fight hard enough, and absolute silence.

          After someone like Kerry lost, his proverbial head was paraded around on a pike. The media echoed with stories about how George W. Bush and Karl Rove did blahblahblah which resonated with voters.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            And now Kerry is a “Sure Thing” for any nomination he might receive with the same morons that swift-boated him. I don’t like him but that’s completely beside the point.
            Can you say Selective Memory?

  • TomK_in_Boston

    To the righties in denial about the ongoing redistribution of wealth to the top, here you are again:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/10/26/nyregion/the-new-gilded-age.html

    I know the Party Line is that it’s fine for all that income to go to the top because “it’s not a zero sum game”. Nice try but sorry, that income is being redistributed from the rest of us, be it the income that once went to a worker and is now in the CEO bonus, or the profits the parasite romney types pocket when they destroy a company and devour the assets.

    Two other points:

    1. A popular righty Talking Point is “If you took all the income of the rich it wouldn’t make a dent in the deficit”. Putting aside the fact that this TP is dishonestly regurgitated when a modest tax hike is proposed and that nobody has ever proposed taking “all” of anything, it’s c**p. Total personal income is about $14 trillion/year, so with the 1% getting upwards of 20% of that they are getting about $3 trillion/year, which dwarfs anything being discussed and would blow away the deficit.

    2. Another TP is that inequality is fine, so long as the masses have cell phones and burgers. More dumb and dumber. The income share of the 1% was over 23% twice, in 1928 and 2007. Disastrous economic crashes followed in both cases. Inequality is toxic to the economy.

    • Gregg Smith

      The fatal flaw is with the word “redistributed”. Your link (or the related article) did not use it. You did but you have made no case. 

      • TomK_in_Boston

        What is your case that the soaring income of the 1% did not come out of the pockets of the 99%? 

        • Gregg Smith

          No, I just think you should be able to give a shred of evidence to support your claim. It’s like the “birthers must be racist because what else could it be” argument. It’s silly.

          There’s a gap, cool. So what?

        • OnPointComments

          I don’t know how anyone with a modicum of sense can believe the “income is being redistributed from the rest of us” fairy tale that you tell.  Let’s look at a specific example.  Facebook didn’t exist before 2004.  Today Facebook is valued at $50-$100 billion dollars.  The Facebook IPO created more than 1,000 millionaires.  Who became poorer with the creation of Facebook?  If your premise is correct, surely there must be a very long list of people thrust into poverty if the value of Facebook was taken “from the rest of us,” and if all of those Facebook people who became millionaires and billionaires did it by redistributing wealth to themselves that would have gone to the 99%.
           
          Another example, this time from personal experience.  I know a man who created a medical device that didn’t exist before he invented it.  In less than 5 years, this inventor went from a man of very modest means to one of the top 1/2 of 1%, a millionaire many, many times over.  His company employs hundreds at higher than average wages, and has annual sales in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  Who became poorer with the creation of his company?  If your premise is correct that he became part of the 1% by redistributing his wealth from the rest of us, surely there must be a very long list of people that his invention thrust into poverty.
           
          A couple of final examples.  In 1998, I bought Apple stock $8 per share.  Today it is worth $500 per share.  Who did I make poorer by holding this stock during its meteoric rise?  David Choe was hired to paint murals at Facebook headquarters in 2005.  He took Facebook stock as part of his compensation.  Today the stock is worth $200 million dollars.  From whom did David Choe redistribute his vast wealth?
           
          You’re correct about one thing:  there is class warfare, but it’s being created and stoked by people who claim that everyone else’s success comes at the expense of someone else.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Anecdotes are the last refuge of those with no argument. Everything in your little stories was going on while the median income was still tracking GDP.

            When one class is richer than it was in 1929 and another is getting crushed, can you really not figure out who is waging war on whom, or the direction of redistribution of wealth?

            ps my cost basis on AAPL is under $5

          • OnPointComments

            It’s ironic that in making your redistribution argument you can’t be consistent.  On the one hand, the corporations are all bastions of greed that forever screw the employees out of the wages they are worth (although you never explain why an employee who is worth more in the market than his current wage wouldn’t simply walk down the street to a greedy competitor that would recognize the employee’s higher value), but on the other hand, these same greedy corporations, if only they hadn’t paid those CEO bonuses, would have had their munificence unleashed and would have used the money to raise employees salaries above the current market, instead of paying dividends, keeping the money, or spending it on other things.  Those greedy corporations are curious entities.
             
            AAPL under $5 a share?  Boy, did you ever screw the 99% out of money that should have been theirs.

          • Gregg Smith

            You’re on fire. Nice work, I have nothing to add.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Again, completely off-point. You rattle off anecdotes about things that happened when the economy was working for everyone, as well as now when it isn’t, as if they have something to do with the post-1980 inequality. Reminds me of how you guys love anecdotes about how some individual has “made it” in response to data showing our decreasing upward mobility.

            Americans have been starting companies and making a killing in the market forever, eg the 60s when the median income was rising with GDP. The point is that something ELSE has changed. Once that company wd hire Americans and pay them decent wages instead of raking off the $ for the executives and offshoring, and the corp and the successful individual would pay high taxes that got put back in the economy to pay for infrastructure, education, grand challenges like Apollo, scientific research, medicare, etc which pulled up the whole nation. Cutting taxes and deregulating corps have put an end to the feedback to the whole nation from the successful. That’s why all the wealth and income have migrated to the top – which is a fact.

          • Gregg Smith

            There is no decreased upward mobility but there may be fewer people taking advantage of it. I would point to the war on poverty as the reason some are satisfied to be on the dole. The breakdown of the two-parent family is another reason especially for blacks. There used to be shame, now people are proud to buy beer with food stamps.

          • Steve__T

             You can’t buy beer with food stamps. Where do you get this sh!t.

          • Gregg Smith

            O yes you can. You can trade them for crack too.

          • jefe68

            BS

          • jefe68

            It’s how he rolls.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            “People just aren’t taking advantage of it.”

            Submitted without comment.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            “There is no decreased upward mobility but there may be fewer people taking advantage of it.”

            BullSkat.

          • Gregg Smith

            Who is holding  you down?

          • TomK_in_Boston

            LOL

          • DrewInGeorgia

            “Who is demonized more than the rich?”

            The Poor?

          • Gregg Smith

            No one demonizes the poor.

          • jefe68

            What a load of bunk. You post a lot misinformation and then try hope know one notices. You can’t buy alcoholic beverages with WIC 
            cards.

          • Gregg Smith

            I said food stamps and I didn’t say legally. It happens. 

            But what’s the difference
            if the food stamps buy food and enable one to buy beer with cash?

    • pete18

       I’m still waiting for you to tell us how much the rich have to pay for them to be paying their “fair share.” All I hear are crickets any time this question is asked.

      • Gregg Smith

        And that’s all you will ever hear. “Their fair share” is the best answer they have and “fair share” is defined as they please.

        • pete18

           Wait…listen…there it is: “chirp, chirp, chirp.”

          • TomK_in_Boston

            If you ever have an idea, feel free to share it.

          • pete18

             It’s a simple question, the fact that you can’t answer it in the wake of all your proclamations about the rich
            and fairness is very revealing.

          • jefe68

            There it is, the mendacity of the right.

          • Gregg Smith

            Perfect. Thanks.

  • davecm

    The solution to our nation’s problem from one of the problems.
    Richard Trumka, BIG LABOR (kinda like BIG OIL, but Big labor is OK) a frequent visitor to the WH, gives his advice to Obama on solving our problem. Tax the rich, leave entitlements (spending) alone and forget about the debt ceiling.
    Sounds like the mentality of the people on the Titanic!
    We are too big to fail, or to sink!
    Maybe some of you liberals can explain this to me???
    You are all for going back to the Clinton era tax rates, correct!
    Well! in all fairness, you should be in favor of the Clinton era spending rates, Correct!!!!!!
    I know the answer to that! 

    • JGC

      You have your knickers in a twist over some purported BIG LABOR takeover.  But, in reality, union membership is at a 70-year low (as of 2010 Bureau of Labor statistics).  90% of all workers are not unionized:  The… vast… majority… of… American workers… are NOT… in unions.  Welcome to the 21st Century.  

      • Gregg Smith

        Public sector unions are an abomination. In the private sector they can run a company like GM into the dirt with demands. That’s cool until taxpayers bail them out and prop them up. I don’t know whether to consider the UAW a public or private sector union.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          Of course Unionized Labor is what has ruined Our Country. It can’t possibly have anything to do with unjustifiably high Administrative Pay, Creative Accounting, Outsourcing, evisceration of benefits, rigged stock valuations, exorbitant dividend payouts, excessive fees, decreased hourly wages…Someone finish the list for me, I’m tired of typing.

          • Gregg Smith

            Well, I agree unions had a big hand in the things you list but I would never say unionized labor has ruined the country. Never. I also (like FDR) draw a distinction between public and private sector unions. None of the liberals around here seem to.

    • StilllHere

      Big Labor should have zero credibility based on their complete failure to change with the times.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Nobody’s changed with the times like Enron (WorldCom, Adelphia, an endless list of “InvisibleHandBeeyotches” people.).

        Capitalism today has nothing to compare to Ivan Kruger or Ponzi.

      • hennorama

        I almost made a Romney remark about a “complete failure to change with the times” due to his seeming nostalgic love of the 1950s, but then I remembered that he “change[d] with the times” virtually every day that he was campaigning.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    I finally got to listen to the entire show. Not one mention of ANY financial impropriety or scandal during the entire hour. Someone lend me a tin-foil hat. Why, with all that has transpired during 2012, am I concerned that there is zero discussion of the biggest financial scandals in Human History? Gee, I don’t know, let me think about it. How many people were either directly or indirectly negatively impacted by the LIBOR rigging alone? Trillions of dollars tied to bogus market rates and it evidently doesn’t even warrant mention.

    As for the Fiscal Cliff focus, please give it a rest. I’ll just rehash my comment from several weeks ago:
    Why are we even discussing The Fiscal Myth? We’re going off because that’s the only way the culpable parties get to keep playing their game. The Democrats will get at least some of the increased revenue that we NEED while simultaneously giving the Republicans the shiny new whipping post they want. Both get to stay up on their soapboxes and continue their fruitless fussing while watching the rest of us circle the drain.

    I have an idea: For each of our Congressional Representatives we should appoint an Actual Representative. These individuals should be paid The Federal Minimum Wage and receive NO benefits. If it’s good enough for almost sixty percent of the population it certainly deserves Representation in Congress. These New Representatives should be endowed with The Slap Prerogative. Their mandate? Any time a Congressional Representative heads down a rabbit hole that is detrimental to the Actual Representatives the sole response should be a firm Slap to the jowls.

    The Top Three pics of 2012 are two-finger pointing politicians, Gabrielle Douglas, and an over-the-hill actor conversing with an empty chair?

    • TomK_in_Boston

      The funny thing is that the “deficit scolds” are in a tizzy over the cliff, even tho its tax hikes and spending cuts will make maximal decrease in the deficit, short term. They demand spending cuts, in a deal to avert more spending cuts :). Crazy!

      The behavior of the right strips away their camo, for those who can’t see through it already, and makes it crystal clear that their agenda is low taxes for the rich and a blank check for the military, and to hell with everything else.

      • Gregg Smith

        If we go over the cliff, six million of the poorest most struggling people that currently do not pay taxes will get a tax bill. Every single American’s taxes will rise. The Bush tax cuts favored the poor big time and they will all expire. Chant “Bush’s tax cuts for the rich” all you want, it’s not accurate. 

        That will decimate an economy that is bracing for the huge hit Obamacare’s implantation will deliver by 2014. It’s a disaster.

        With all the waste, fraud and abuse in government why on earth should we cut the military in a time of war as a starting point?

        If you believe this will result in a “maximal decrease of the deficit” then… I don’t even know what to say.

        If they reach a deal, it’s meaningless anyway. It’s a debacle.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          FYI, the tax rate multiplies the income, which is larger for the rich, and the bush tax cuts for the rich cut more than the income tax.

          I said maximal decrease, short term. I know that all those spending cuts wd be bad for the deficit, longer term, because we need gvt spending to drive the economy. However, I didn’t know you were a Keynesian

          • Gregg Smith

            The tax cuts cut more for the poor than just income taxes. The EIC is one example, it is a credit meaning, not a refund, which means people got checks that did not pay taxes funded by those who do. Meaning direct redistribution down. That is why the rich are paying more than ever now despite the rate.

            The spending cuts are good, long term and short term. A higher tax rate will kill jobs and squelch investment. That does not multiply income.

            Keynes said spending (passing out other peoples money) stimulates. I am no aware his theory made the inverse claim but I guess you had to make your joke.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Geez. You guys pretend the tax hikes will be forever. Tax hikes on the middle class will be reversed immediately. Tax hikes at the top are needed and good. The problem is the spending cuts. I know you guys are all “military Keynesians” – as soon as we try to cut a weapons system all we hear is all the jobs that will be lost – but other gvt spending has the same good effect.

            And for the n’th time, to whatever extent the rich are paying more, it’s because they’re getting more of the income. Aww, life is hard at the top.

          • Gregg Smith

            Ahh, the ol’ “they’ll fix it later” claim. The tax implications are real for every American. Obama wants nothing more than a tax hike on everyone that he can blame on Republicans. Check out his interview with the Des Moines Register. Howard Dean is giddy at the idea.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            For the Love of God THEY ARE NOT TAX HIKES!

            The drinking binge is over, it’s time to face the hangover.

          • Gregg Smith

            THEY ARE NOT TAX CUTS, RATES WILL GO UP.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Tax
            Break
            Equals
            Temporary
            Cut.

            So?

          • DrewInGeorgia

            I

            H
            A
            T
            E

            Y
            O
            U

            D
            I
            S
            Q
            U
            S
            .

          • TomK_in_Boston

            If the stupid Bush tax cuts expire, they will be almost immediately be restored for the lower levels. Nothing to go all chicken little about….and I WANT them gone at the higher levels.

          • Gregg Smith

            There is no way to say they didn’t stimulate the economy. Unemployment went down and revenue went up for years.

            If Obama wanted to do as you suggest, he should have done it years ago. But he didn’t.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          “With all the waste, fraud and abuse in government why on earth should we cut the military in a time of war as a starting point?”

          A time of War? Did we officially throw our gloves down on Iran? Didn’t think so. I guess your referring on our Never Ending and Vaguely Defined War On Terror.

          “If they reach a deal, it’s meaningless anyway. It’s a debacle.”

          Now this is a statement I completely agree with. There’s really nothing else to say beyond it.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            LOL – I guess Gregg forgot about the waste and abuse in the military. Among other things, we could stop using highly paid contractors and funneling $ to connected corporations to replace what GIs used to do for less than half the cost.

          • Gregg Smith

            I am not against some adjustment to military spending in a larger context. But there needs to be cuts across the board not just the military.

          • Gregg Smith

            You’re right, Obama killed Osama. All is well. 

          • DrewInGeorgia

            The BullSh!t War On Terror continues. All is Not Well.

          • Gregg Smith

            I won’t argue with you about the war on terror other than to say I vehemently disagree that it’s BS. They certainly are at war with us. But I was referring to Afghanistan, you may remember Obama’s escalation. 

          • DrewInGeorgia

            You’re right, BS was inappropriate. Thanks Gregg.

  • JGC

    One of the problems of going over the fiscal cliff, where everyone’s tax rate will go up, is that the some of the fortunate few at the top can and will deploy their tax lawyers and accountants to further divert their income from taxation. Remember, from the 2011 tax rolls there are actually 6 millionaire/billionaires who paid NO income taxes last year; not even the paltry gentleman’s Romneyesque 11% on investment income. Zero.  

    Loopholes have to be closed.  An absolute minimum has to be established, based on all income, including investment income.   

    • Gregg Smith

      That is the fallacy of raising the top rate and expecting more revenue. Republicans have offered $800B of revenue through closing loopholes but Obama will have none of it.

      • Mike_Card

        Boner offered to “close loopholes” in an amount he described as $800B; no specificity about which loopholes and no assurance about getting enough votes from his gang of House loonies.  Come to think of it, that’s the same deal Romney offered 2 months ago.

    • StilllHere

      You’re worried about 6 people when there are 47% in the same place.  Strange.

      • JGC

        I worry about you, too! Now, that makes a total of seven…  ;-)

  • hennorama

    One can understand Republicans, especially those in the House, not wanting to vote for higher taxes on anyone, regardless of whether it’s actually good for the country.  Their biggest worry is not the country’s welfare, but rather their next election in 2014.  They don’t worry whether they will lose to a Democrat, since their seats are generally well-gerrymandered and safe; they worry about being “primaried” by someone even further to the right, by a TEA party zealot for instance.

    This means it’s much more likely now that no deal will be made until after the next Congress convenes.  Speaker Boehner will get re-elected, not due his popularity, but because there are no real alternative candidates.  Then the first bill introduced will be to CUT taxes on 98% of taxpayers.  This will also allow the Republicans to adhere to the letter of the Norquist pledge, if not the spirit.

    This is what I predicted about 5 months ago:

    “It seems obvious that during this severe, continued economic downturn, the U.S. govt. cannot simply cut spending OR simply increase taxes.  It has to do some of both.  There is NO way the debt can be eliminated without increased revenues (taxes) AND reduced spending.

    Unfortunately, our current hyper-partisan politics won’t allow even the most reasonable and moderate Republicans to vote for anything that could be called a tax increase.  Grover Norquist has extracted extortionist promises from virtually every Republican in Congress, threatening to run them out of office if they ever vote for increased taxes.

    It’s unlikely that any Congressional action will happen until this changes.  But there may be a tricky way out of this by letting the tax cuts expire on January 1, 2013, then passing a middle class tax cut on January 2, 2013.  This would allow Republicans to adhere to the letter of their Norquist promise to not VOTE to increase taxes. 

    The current economy is very fragile.  Severely cutting Federal spending will likely push us back into recession.  Increasing taxes on all taxpayers is likely to have a similar result.  We need to pick and choose strategically among both spending cuts AND tax increases.

    However, long-term, the only thing that will get us out of this mess is economic growth.  We should look at all government actions in this light, encouraging growth as much as possible.”

    http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/08/02/david-wessel#comment-607585801

    • Gregg Smith

      Not surprisingly I disagree. A tax hike for every American is what will kill the fragile economy not the spending cuts which are limited to the military. Raising the top rate at this time is not good for the economy at all. It is antithetical to economic growth.

      • DrewInGeorgia

        “We jumped off the cliff years ago, this is just a formality. Even if they suddenly all joined hands and made a deal, it’s meaningless.”

        Agreed, so why are we all still railing about it?

        • Gregg Smith

          It’s the timely topic of the day. My biggest hope was the Mayan calendar would rescue us but no.

          Actually, you ask a good question. IMO the debate rages because so many don’t understand the mess we’re in and think a deal is significant… but it’s not.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            How about that, we agree. No need to fret about The Mayan Calendar not marking the end of our inanity, it looks like we’ll get the job done in short order. All in due time…

      • TomK_in_Boston

        The rich are richer than at any time since 1929 and corporate profits are at record highs. Raising taxes on them will have no bad effect and is a good step toward balancing the books. It is a bad time to raise taxes on the rest, and to cut gvt spending, in a fragile economy.

        You can’t use the same approach to every situation You have to adjust. Making Uncle Scrooge pay a little more when his  money bin is overflowing is not the same as asking him to pay a little more when he is struggling. Gvt spending crowds out private borrowing when interest rates are high – but not when they are at record lows.

        • Gregg Smith

          I don’t think it would do any good but you might have a case if you were talking about Warren Buffet’s proposal for a tax hike on those making over $400 million. 250K, not so much.

        • anamaria23

          I agree.  This country has 13 billionaires per 10,000,000 people.  Canada has 1.8.
          We have 5,000,000 millionaires, some of whom are CEO’s of health care insurers who reap salaries of $10,000,000 dollars adding to the disgrace that is our health care system and the impoverishment of the middle class.  
          CEO’s now make 300 times the average worker, up from 30 times in the past, while middle class wages stagnate. 
          There is something horribly wrong with this picture. 
             Repubs will decry  single payer health, yet will fight so the the super wealthy can upgrade their  private jet every year and order hand made underwear from Paris. 

           

           

           
           
           

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Gawd I am sick of hearing the righty media talk about “entitlement reform”. The corporate news are like a bunch of robots using the same programming. C’mon, guys and gals, they’re CUTS. When you’re talking about cuts to the retirement programs, please say “cuts to the retirement programs”. All the righty framing does is make life easier for the class warriors.

    • Gregg Smith

      Obama forced 2 million of the most vulnerable elderly out of Medicare and into a voucher program. 

      Obamacare cut Medicare by $500 billion.

      Thoughts? 

      • jefe68

        Single payer is the only way to go. 
        But then again, you’re not interested in the reality that our health care system is a failure.
        You only post right wing memes and diatribes.
        It backs up TomK’s comment about the way the right works.

        When you support the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly how do you expect to be taken seriously?

        • Gregg Smith

          Well, I don’t like O’Reilly but you have your notions. Rush is cool though.

          I find the thinking very shallow that assumes Obamacare was the only way to improve health care. It made it worse. The notion that opposing Obamacare means one thinks healthcare was just fine is about stupid.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Thinking that opposing Universal Healthcare is just fine is about stupid. Reigning in costs and making Healthcare available to all is the only viable solution. NO ONE is willing to talk about that though, are they? I agree the ACA is not the best solution, but neither is continuing to sit around with our thumbs up our arses doing nothing.

          • harverdphd

             I don’t recall any debate about reining in costs during the ACA debate.  Where do you want to start?

          • DrewInGeorgia

            What did I just say Troll?

            Read it again.

          • harverdphd

             What you said, asshole, was…..”Reigning in costs ….. NO ONE is willing to talk about that though, are
            they? 

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Sorry if I was an A-Hole but it’s better than being a Whole-A.

          • harverdphd

             So…where do you want to begin reigning in costs…answer my question.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            There is only one solution to the cost nightmare, I don’t see it receiving anything other than “Communist!
            Socialist!
            Blasphemer!”
            as a response to its proposition though.
            The answer?
            ALL Healthcare related industries, including and especially Pharmaceutical Companies, must become TRULY NON-PROFIT.

            Now we’ll devolve into the “But it will lower quality” morass and as usual nothing will be accomplished.

          • Gregg Smith

            Good point. Come to think of it, I don’t remember much a debate at all.

            All I remember is a cost estimate a third of what it turned out to be… so far.

            My rates went up big time as well.

          • anamaria23

            Agreed.  A single payer health care system would set this  country free in many ways from the obligations on businesses to the ability of citizens to persue jobs not tied to health care benefits.

            As one privy to the health care in Canada, it is truly amazing what  their freedom from health  care worries adds to their quality of life.   The care is comparable to ours as I have witnessed.

          • Gregg Smith

            Man, where do you get this? I never advocated doing nothing. I never said health care is perfect. You can find a thing or two to praise but overall Obamacare makes things worse.

            Regarding your other comment, you make some huge leaps if you believe what you wrote about how I form my opinions. If you think Obamacare was the best solution then it’s you who needs to widen your horizons. You don’t have to listen to Rush to hear the worries but you do have to be in a liberal bubble to think Obamacare is all it’s cracked up to be.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            I didn’t say that you advocated doing nothing or that you said healthcare is perfect, merely that many you support have been unwilling to do anything about the problem.

            I wasn’t referring to or directly accusing you personally of anything. I was just trying to make the point that people complain about the ACA not being a solution while at the same time backing those who have basically offered nothing better.

            I DON”T think the ACA is or was the best solution. As I said:
            “I agree the ACA is not the best solution, but neither is continuing to sit around with our thumbs up our arses doing nothing.”

            You dug a whole lot out of that comment that I didn’t bury there. I’ll be the first to admit that I am sometimes openly antagonistic towards you Gregg, this just wasn’t one of them.

          • Gregg Smith

            I inferred, ” I agree the ACA is not the best solution, but neither is continuing to sit around with our thumbs up our arses doing nothing.” as an implication that my opposition to Obamacare meant I advocated doing nothing. If I got you wrong, I’m sorry.

          • Duras

            This is coming from a guy who hasn’t read the law, only listened to right wing commentary on the law, and judges the quality of the law before it is fully enacted….

            By the way, the not-fully-implemented law has already cut some fraud in medicare.  Why republicans refuse to see that Obamacare targets fraud and makes medicare more efficient is beyond me.  And yet they want Paul Ryan’s cuts to medicare which are exclusively on the consumer side and does not touch a dime of fraud….  Why won’t you acknowledge that?  Do you know what would happen to medicare if you only cut consumer side and left the fraud untouched?  Do you know what would happen to old people?

            Can you say “dogmatism”? 

          • harverdphd

             Have you read the law?…What’s the plan for my wife age 62 if I retire and we lose her group coverage.  I’m 67.

          • Duras

            Does your wife work over 32 hours?  If so, her employer would pick up the bill.  If she works below 32 hours and makes less than $24K a year, medicaid will pick up the bill.  If she makes over that amount and works less than 32 hours a week, then the mandate would apply and she would pay for insurance at the new and much lower rates Obamacare enforces in 2014. 

            Remember, the lower rates is why the insurance companies need the mandate. 

          • harverdphd

             Awesome…thanks…if I retire tomorrow what options do we have in New York State?

          • Duras

            I couldn’t tell you.  Other than, you would be living in a high tax, high service state without really paying taxes. 

          • jefe68

            I never liked and still don’t like Obamacare or as it should be known, Affordable Care Act.
            The entire mandate was a Republican idea from the 90′s.
            I’m for a single payer system.
            I’ve had years of experience living in with the NH system in GB and it’s miles better than what we have here in terms of costs, and delivering services. It’s not perfect, no system is. But it’s clear that our market based fee for service system is a complete failure.

            You could have fooled me on O’Reilly, you sound just like him.

          • Gregg Smith

            NHS is an absolute horror. The mandate is Obama’s and he ridiculed Hillary relentlessly because she advocated it.

            2 million forced out of medicare and into a voucher program by Obama and you have no comment? 

  • Gregg Smith

    To the commenters who say you can’t buy beer with food stamps:

    First, I would say the notion is naive. It happens everyday. If you use an EBT card the receipt isn’t itemized. There are plenty of crooked storekeepers making a few buck in the process. But let’s assume it’s impossible.

    Go into a store with your last $10 in cash and $10 in food stamps then buy $10 worth of food and $10 worth of beer. Does it matter which pays for which? If you had only $10 cash you would have to choose between the two.

    Or go to your local crack dealer, take him/her to the grocery store and treat them to a spree. Pay with food stamps and get reimbursed with crack.

    Surely, you don’t believe this doesn’t happen every day. Unless we drug test recipients (maybe randomly here and there) we are subsidizing abuse. If you want help then you should have to prove your not abusing the system.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Guilty until proven innocent? Sure why not, that’s been my experience trying to rectify the results of others simply failing to do their jobs.
      Why not? Because it’s wrong, that’s why not.

      If you want Tax Breaks to create new jobs, increase worker’s benefits, raise the general standard of living for all, and be charitable beyond belief, you should have to first prove that your intent is not to abuse the system for your own personal gain.

      • Gregg Smith

        It’s not guilty until proven innocent, it’s a hoop to jump through if you want someone else’s money. Many jobs require passing a drug test to be hired. And the money you get there you actually earn. I personally wouldn’t work at a place like that and oppose the one size fit’s all approach but it’s their right. It’s possible for a slacker idiot to pass a drug test and a pothead at home to be the best employee in the company. Not that I would know but I feel I should clarify my view.

        Tax payers are funding drug use and alcoholism. That’s what’s wrong. I understand wiggle room and I understand there is no way to stop every dime from going to illicit places. I even understand there are other areas of government enabling dastardly things. But this is ridiculous, there are too many people abusing the system to the detriment of us all.

    • jefe68

      Man, you really are obtuse. 

      • Gregg Smith

        Where am I wrong Mr. Proclamation?

  • Duras

    Gregg, I’m going to push you a little bit on this taxation vs. charity conversation.

    The last you said is that taxes are aimed to produce equal outcome, not equal opportunity.  To me, this is the biggest lie that republicans have created about democrats.  Liberals have never come remotely close to evening wealth through social welfare reform, not even when taxes on the top were above 50%.  It is a lie!

    But there is clearly not equal opportunity in this country.  On the one hand, you have people who send their kids to private universities and they come out not owing a single dollar.  While at the same time, we have cut taxes on those very people, which in turn has contributed to higher tuition and lower quality education at public universities.  And convincing kids that going in debt 35k or so after 4 years is what they have to do is becoming harder to do.  Let alone, convincing the kid growing up on food stamps.  And then there is the Romney family who have stock portfolios throughout their university years.  If classes were free at at least the flagship school of every state (and the satellite universities are relatively cheap) then I’ll say that there is equal opportunity in America. 

    So, let’s extrapolate your argument.  Lower taxes and let there be charity….   First off, read the history of the French Revolution.  Second, are you not arguing for a plutocracy?  Wouldn’t social mobility and opportunity be at the discretion of the rich?  Mitt Romney’s own parents view welfare as something that provided them “opportunity.”  That’s back before Reagan made deep cuts to that program.  Would the rich be charitable to all public universities and raise enough money at their own discretion to provide scholarships and low tuition that would ensure equal opportunity?  That isn’t even happening now, and the republicans have and continue to cut scholarship opportunities and raise tuition in their states. 

    Like I said, you seriously need to read Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and learn what Capitalism really is!  Get off the Randian thinking.  You need to learn that the early philosophers of Capitalism and the founding fathers talk about a social contract i.e. a responsibility to maintain equal opportunity. 

    It is absolutely true that social mobility has decreased since Reagan took the White House.  And this is because, that over the last 32 years, republicans have continued to curtail the social contract.  To day, any kind of argument that promotes the social contract sounds like socialism to dogmatic republicans. 

    Listen, I am all for consolidating government agencies and clear-cut but strong regulations like Glass-Steagall, not Dodd-Frank.  I recognize the Laffer Curve.  But I believe that the rich have a responsibility to society to ensure equal opportunity, health care, military, and a justice system.  That cost money and there is no way around it.  America cannot endure low taxes on the top; we need to go back to the rates that existed during our most productive periods.      

    • Gregg Smith

      I would say the incessant griping about the wealth gap and the effort to force the rich to pay a bigger portion of the overall bill while they have never paid higher is an attempt to tax our way to equal outcome. Perhaps “toward” is a better word. 

      Convincing someone of doing anything has nothing to do with opportunity. the opportunity is still there whatever they decide. I think these days college can be a huge waste of time and money and is not critical to success. There was a time when any degree was better than no degree and that is no longer true. That is not to say it is never good. I believe colleges lowering standards to meet racial quotas is destructive to everyone. Especially those accepted into schools they are not prepared to thrive in. It’s an effort to legislate equal outcome.

      You wrote: “So, let’s extrapolate your argument.  Lower taxes and let there be charity….  ”

      That’s not my argument. First, no one (least of all me ) is proposing tax cuts. All I’m saying is charity is not the government playing Robinhood with our money. Our system of government cannot be compared logically to France during the revolution. If Mitt’s parents say welfare provided opportunity then cool. When Clinton removed millions and millions from welfare it prove to be good. But again opportunity is for everyone to seize.

      My problem is with the notion that paying taxes is charitable. I also don’t understand how you conclude the rich are not doing their part. I blame meaningless phrases like “fair share”. No one has a number. The top 1% pay 40% of the bill and the bottom 47% pay nothing.   It’s never enough. I truly worry about what that dynamic has done to our country now that is generations old.

      • Gregg Smith

        I should add my last point was not my advocating a tax cut nor is it advocating the 47% pay more. It is just the facts on the ground.

        • Duras

          Okay, but you need to see what the 47% look like disambiguated.  

          • Gregg Smith

            I understand but would ask you to do the same. 

            The game is over and I have 65 horses to feed. I’ll look at the above comment later.

          • Duras

            I’ll give you this: if someone has a minimum wage job and social security check, they should pay a 5% or 10% tax on their pay checks when economic conditions get better. 

      • Duras

        Mitt Romney proposed tax cuts.  I heard a republican the other day say, “I don’t want to raise taxes on anyone.  In my opinion, they are already paying too much in taxes.” 

        Second, the rich are not paying more than they have ever payed before.  Before Reagan, the effective tax rate on the rich was at least above 45%.  During the Clinton years, the effective rate was above 35%.  Today, the effective rate hovers around 27%.  So first off, you need to stop denying reality! 

        Welfare reform during the Clinton administration didn’t account for a major portion of the budget, and it doesn’t today as well.  But poverty did decrease during the Clinton years, which is the only time that it decreased since Carter.  Poverty increased after Reagan cut welfare.  Clinton also funded the public universities and scholarship programs, he also passed affirmative action (which I know you hate but does account for poverty decreases and it didn’t curtail my opportunity).

        You said, “My problem is with the notion that paying taxes is charitable.”  I don’t view taxes like that.  I don’t know anybody who does.  But I think republican politicians (not the republican voters) view food stamps and welfare as charity.  And I promise you, all that rhetoric about food stamps and welfare is hot air.  Republicans will never again cut food stamps and welfare because (1) it is not a budget problem, and (2) republicans don’t want to deal with the social unrest.  I actually hope that they would do away with food stamps and welfare so we can have the social unrest in order to reform that macro-economic policies that is actually keeping the majority down, while there is a growing concentration of wealth at the top. 

        Also, I have never written the words “fair share.”  And it’s not like republicans have their own ideas about what is fair.  Does fair tax ring a bell?  Moreover, political rhetoric is often devoted to defining fairness and whoever wins the fairness argument wins a vote.  Yes, I have principles.  Among them is democracy.  And if you studied a little history or even know the definitions of, say, “plutocracy,” you would also know that political and economic power should be in the hands of the majority and not the minority of economic elites.  But that doesn’t mean that there should not be a wealthy class.  I think capitalism requires a wealthy class and some inequality.  I just think we can get to a healthy level of inequality if we require the top to have responsibility to maintaining public institutions, a justice system, and a military.

        And I’m also not hung up on high taxes on the rich–if unions had the power they once had before Reagan, I think we can get away with having these low tax rates on the top.  If the wage gap is narrow, then we can have flatter taxes.  So, you see, I’m not being dogmatic.  But you can’t step on unions and let the top pay low taxes at the same time–if you do that, you will only produce a wealthy class, not a wealthy nation. 

        As for your last argument: I have addressed this many times and you niether listen to it or give a counterargument in return.  The top will continue to pay a bigger ‘burden’ of the expeditures because they are increasingly taking home bigger percentage of national income every year.  The rest of society doesn’t have enough money to have a bigger tax burden.  I would love for the middle class to have a bigger tax burden because it would mean that they are a taking home a better share of national wealth.  And that is true even if the middle classes tax rates stay the same.  Otherwise, 2/3s of the Bush Tax cuts went to the top.  And you and everybody in the world knows that the rich did just fine under the Clinton code. 

        As for the 47% … it’s amazing how the republicans are all for taxing the poor, the retiries, and combate soldiers.  70% of the economy runs on consumerism and you and the republicans have proposed nothing but attack the consumer class.  If you are making cuts, you are likely cutting public employment (which is already 15%, a low in American history) and in turn cutting consumerism.  E.g., Walmart, which republicans seem to love, is the big parasite of the government.  If Walmart had a union, tax payers wouldn’t have to subsidize their employees living wages.  Yet, the tax payer supports Walmart employees and their costumers are often poor and on government assistences as well. 

        Now, again, I would love to see republicans actually cut food stamps and welfare because it would cause so much social unrest that people would unionize and perhaps the poor would actually get out to vote.    But republicans would never cut it–it is too good of a rhetorical technique in order to get racist white southerners to vote against their own economic interests because the believe the horsecrap argument that “democrats want to tax hard working (white) Americans and give it to lazy (black) individuals.”

        I wish you would wake up from this made up idea from the right.  It is pure propaganda.  And the rich, Mitt Romney / Paul Ryan / George Bush republicans are actually laughing at all those ignorant rural Americans. 

        • Gregg Smith

          Mitt Romney proposed a complete overhaul  by lowering rates AND closing most loopholes and ending most deductions. Simpson/Bowles took the same approach. That’s a bit different. But Romney lost. There are no tax cuts on the table. It’s not part of the Fiscal cliff debate. And again, whoever said they didn’t want taxes to go up was not advocating a cut even if they think they are paying too much. It’s an argument against raising them more.

          When I say they are paying more I mean the top 1% has never paid 39% of the bill. During Clinton’s higher top rate they paid 37%. Then Bush took 6 million of the poorest off the rolls and the rich took up the slack. I never said these rates were the highest. I’m not sure what you mean by “effective rate” but Reagan lowered the top rate to 28%, Clinton got it up to 39.6% via Bush 1′s hike and GWB lowered it to 35% where it is now. 

          Clinton’s welfare reform took six million off of welfare and into work. It was a huge boon to the economy. Huge.

          I have no problem helping people in need but food stamps are being abused and are at record levels. Taxes are fine but I don’t think the government can be trusted with more revenue. They’ll just waste it. If it were to go to deficit or debt reduction it would be different. Politicians are addicted to spending. The social unrest of the Occupy movement was disgusting in my view. I understand a Plutocracy but disagree that is where we are headed. We are not chained to our station in life. Anyone can be rich. I know it sounds crazy. “Fair Share” is a meaningless phrase used to divide. “Fair tax”is just a name of a proposal that will never happen.

          I don’t step on unions in the private sector. They are fine if that what you want. I won’t join one because I rather let my merits speak for themselves.

          I don’t get it. You say I refuse to listen but that’s not the case. I agree with a progressive tax system. The rich are paying more. Way way way more. That’s my point, it’s never enough. At least draw a line somewhere.  Should the top 1% pay 50% of the bill and the bottom 60% pay nothing? It’s getting there. 

          And no, 2/3rds of the Bush tax cuts did not go to the rich. What is your basis for that claim? The poor fared better, the rich took up more of the burden. That is undeniable. You refer to it as money but no money is exchanged in a tax cut. None. 

          No one but Democrats are suggesting taxing the 47%. 

          The racist south comment is sick and I won’t dignify it with a response. Sick sick sick.

          • Mike_Card

            Romney was on all sides of all issues.  He was not to be trusted on a damned thing he said, and the voters realized that.

          • Gregg Smith

            Romney lost. Has Obama been consistent on lobbyist, gay marriage, Gitmo, immigration, the mandate… oh never mind, there isn’t enough space.

          • Duras

            First, you do vote for the politicians that promote right-to-work and the repeals of pro-union laws that were established during FDR. 

            You don’t get the “tax burden” argument.  The top pay a greater burden of expenditures because they are increasingly taking home a greater chair of national income every year.  Let me spell it out: every year America produces and sells a certain amount of product, and every year (pretty much since 1980) the top has taken home a greater percentage income from GDP.  I cited a study a few weeks ago from the Congressional Research Department or Office that show that individual taxes on top earners has no apparent effect on employment but does account for the concentration of wealth at the top.  That, along with 32 years of stepping on unions is killing a once great middle class–a middle class that was formed by unions and the New Deal after three terms of the most liberal-progressive president this country ever had, FDR.

            Ultimately, 32 years of stepping on unions, which has created the wage gaps while also lowering taxes on the top has concentrated wealth at the top, and because they have a greater percentage of national income every year, they got to pay the bigger share of the expenditures (along with the deficits that republicans use to say “don’t matter). 

            During the Bush years, Bush gave 2/3 of his tax cuts to the top while average income dropped $2,000 before the recession.  Now you can look at the numbers and tell that the taxes derived from shrinking incomes will pay for a smaller percentage of expenditures than the taxes derived from the top whose incomes have only increased. 

            Now if the wage gaps weren’t so bad, the middle class would pay a bigger share of the burden.  Do you get it?  This is why your “should the 1% pay 50% of the bill” argument is flawed.  If the 1% weren’t sucking up bigger percentages of income every year, the bill would be partitioned to your liking.  This is basic economics, and I hope you see how the numbers actually work.  What you cite are nice sound bits, but it is an erroneous argument.  

            I like using effective rates because it is what is actually paid after deductions.  And if you look at our effective tax rates, America has a much flatter tax code that the “tax rates” portray.  If the Clinton code comes back, 39.6%, and 20% on capital gains, the effective rate on the top 1% will be around 35%.  It’s around 27% under the Bush code.  America’s best economies have had an effective tax rate on the 1% above 35%, like it or not, if you value historical perspectives.

            And the food stamp laws have been the same since Reagan cut them I believe.  I know they don’t give out more, and I know our social safety net is thinner than almost every other industrialized nation except China, I believe.  Nonetheless, more people are on food stamps because more people have fallen into poverty, while the rich have gotten richer.

            And I thought food stamps come on a card and people can only buy from a selection of food that tends to be healthy…? 

            And I apologize for the remark about 2/3s of the Bush tax cuts going to the top. 2/3s of the Bush tax cuts went to the top 10% of Americans.  If only this brand of republicanism had beaten Bush, the country would be much better off today:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xk0-bR3fwZo&list=PL1AC1D44F5431005A&index=2

          • Duras

            Doesn’t that video show how far Bush moved this country to the right or what?

          • Gregg Smith

            McCain lost. He’s a loser. Bush won that year. Republicans lose with squishy middle of the road types like McCain and Romney. They win with conservatives like Reagan and GWB. They have historic mid terms with the tea party. That’s what wins.

          • Gregg Smith

            While I would not live in a State that is not right to work, the issue has no bearing on my vote… ever. I will say again, union in the private sector are fine if that’s what you want as long as taxpayers don’t have to bail out companies unions have driven to the dirt like GM. FDR had great disdain for public sector unions for good reasons.

            So you agree, the top have never paid a higher portion of the bill, you just add a caveat about income. But it’s not an exclusive club. If you want more money then go earn it. That’s why it’s your argument that is flawed.

            Sorry, you’ll have to do better than McCain in 2000 before the bill was even written. As I recall McCain voted against them anyway. The claim is flat out untrue. The tax cuts overwhelmingly benefitted the poor and the rich ended up paying more. There is no question.

            Food stamps are at an all time high but people have not fallen into poverty, they were pushed by Obama’s disastrous economy. I’m sure you disagree.

          • Gregg Smith

            BTW, I am aware of the Cheney quote but it is woefully out of context.

            If you make a $250 million/year and mortgage a million dollar house then deficits don’t matter. If you make $50K and do the same, they do.

            Or if your kid needs life saving surgery that you can’t afford, deficits don’t matter.

        • jefe68

          Well said and concise.

  • hennorama

    TomK_in_Boston (apologies for the indirectly DISQUSted reply) – It’s unsurprising that a party whose Presidential candidate was a private-equity (PE) financier would want to walk away from what are essentially debt obligations owed to current and future Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries.  After all, one feature of PE companies is their tendency to declare bankruptcy and simply flee when things go poorly for troubled companies in their portfolios.

    Rather than selling other assets in their portfolios to infuse cash, or defer and forego fees and dividends from the failing company, PE companies simply leave.  Even worse, they often first pile on debt, pay THEMSELVES dividends and fees, THEN scoot.  As another poster is wont to say “That’s a feature not a bug” of the PE game.

    A recent Wall Street Journal online article said the following (edited for brevity):

    “Private-equity firms are adding debt to the companies they own in order to fund payouts to themselves, a controversial practice now reaching a record pace.

    “In these deals, known as “dividend recapitalizations,” private-equity-owned companies raise cash by issuing debt. The proceeds are distributed in the form of dividends to buyout groups.

    “Debt issued to fund private-equity dividends has topped $54 billion this year. That is already higher than the record $40.5 billion reached in all of 2010, when credit markets reopened after the crisis.

    “Critics say the dividends, which are disclosed in offering documents, saddle a company with debt, potentially burdening its operations, while reducing a private-equity firm’s investment exposure.”

    Source:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444592704578064672995070116.html

    We’ve been told that Social Security and Medicare are in danger of going bankrupt.  So what have Republicans proposed?  Do they want to raise new revenues or reallocate funds sufficient to meet these promises and obligations?  Nope.  Instead they propose Medicare vouchers, and raising the age for Social Security eligibility.

    Which is not in the least bit surprising.  I’m not saying this is good or bad, but simply that it’s not at all shocking.  Republicans are just doing what they’re familiar with.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    I miss J_O_H_N’s commentary, I wish they’d get rid of the dad-gum pop-ups.

    • harverdphd

       Not me…J_O_H_N  was tiresome…

      • DrewInGeorgia

        He made me laugh sometimes.
        You make me want to cry.

        • Gregg Smith

          I find J_O_H_N to be honest and not completely ideological. I have no problem with a little partisanship. But if the pop-ups get to him that bad I’d say he’s a bit sensitive.

  • hennorama

    There’s an old sales technique called “Foot In The Door” (FITD), where a salesperson asks the prospect for a seemingly minor “yes” answer.  For example, the salesperson could say “Would you consider buying a product that can do A, B and C, and save you money?”  The prospect might reply “Well, yeah I guess so … if it really did all that.”   Then the salesperson would continue asking questions designed to get a “Yes” answer, so that when the closing question was asked, the prospect would be more inclined to say “Yes.”

    President Obama’s proposals seem to be FITD questions, as in “Would you consider an idea to keep taxes low for 98% of taxpayers?”  And “Wouldn’t you agree that we can cut defense spending, since we’re winding down two simultaneous and expensive wars?”

    In contrast, Republican proposals seemed to be designed to get a “No” answer.  It’s as if they’re asking “Do you think it’s a good idea to raise tax revenue only by limiting tax deductions, given that voters rejected that idea during the recent  Presidential election?”  And “Do you think we should reduce the deficit by limiting benefits for the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed, and the sick?”  And “Should we try to balance the budget by ignoring tax revenues and only focus on limiting spending?”

    Most Americans agree to the questions the President is asking.  Republicans have certainly honed their “No” techniques well over the past 4 years – maybe they’re just out of practice in getting to “Yes.”

  • hennorama

    Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors discover blood clot.

    “(CNN) — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hospitalized Sunday after doctors discovered a blood clot during a follow-up exam related to a concussion she suffered this month, her spokesman said.

    She is expected to remain at New York Presbyterian Hospital for the next 48 hours so doctors can monitor her condition and treat her with anti-coagulants, said Philippe Reines, deputy assistant secretary of state.

    “Her doctors will continue to assess her condition, including other issues associated with her concussion,” Reines said. “They will determine if any further action is required.”

    Clinton, 65, was suffering from a stomach virus earlier this month when she fainted due to dehydration, causing the concussion.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/30/politics/hillary-clinton-hospitalized/?hpt=hp_t1

    Here’s a challenge to all those in here, on Fox News, and elsewhere, who questioned the legitimacy of Sec. Clinton’s concussion -  apologize immediately, and send “get Well Soon” wishes to Secretary Clinton.

    I’m not holding my breath.

    • Gregg Smith

      Who on Fox news questioned the legitimacy of her concussion? I myself am still skeptical after I read about it earlier today. She is conniving. Remember the Rose Law firm billing records? If she got a concussion my guess is she was drunk, passed out and bumped her noggin. I wish her a speedy recovery so she can testify as to why she sent Susan Rice out to lie, why she said she fired people when she didn’t and why she let our Ambassador die. Republicans said they will not confirm Kerry until Hillary testifies. Until then, it sure is convenient.

      • jefe68

        Wow, talk about right wing dystopian paranoia.
        Buddy you really do take the cake.

        • Gregg Smith

          Thank you.

    • Gregg Smith

      Just what I figured, Media Matters spinning like a top, people sucking it up and screaming “Fox monster”. First, many guest on many networks (ABC, NY Post and others) made the implication. Read you beloved fed talking points again. No one accused her of faking it. The closest may have been “The Five” but they are not a news show and the commentary was balanced. Beckel about had an aneurism. MM won’t tell you that and they know you didn’t watch first hand. They know you didn’t see any it, so they feed you. 

      They questioned the transparency (we knew more about Chavez) and noted the timing after a series of prior excuses. That’s what a good news outlet should do and Fox wasn’t the only one. The unbelievable lack of curiosity and skepticism you show Democrats compared lengths you go to read minds and build premises on fantasy (see “FITD” comment below) with Republicans is striking.  Please try to think on your own just a tad.

  • JGC

    Yes, wishing a speedy recovery to Hillary Clinton. This is the kind of life event that will bring her priorities into sharp focus.

    • Gregg Smith

      So will letting incompetence result in a murderous act of war. Just saying…

ONPOINT
TODAY
Aug 27, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, as Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, center, looks at them, prior to their talks after after posing for a photo in Minsk, Belarus, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP)

Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s leader meet. We’ll look at Russia and the high voltage chess game over Ukraine. Plus, we look at potential US military strikes in Syria and Iraq.

Aug 27, 2014
The cast of the new ABC comedy, "Black-ish." (Courtesy ABC)

This week the Emmys celebrate the best in television. We’ll look at what’s ahead for the Fall TV season.

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Aug 26, 2014
Matthew Triska, 13, center, helps Alex Fester, 10, to build code using an iPad at a youth workshop at the Apple store on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Stanford, Calif.  (AP)

Educational apps are all over these days. How are they working for the education of our children? Plus: why our kids need more sleep.

 
Aug 26, 2014
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, right, speaks with Ady Barkan of the Center for Popular Democracy as she arrives for a dinner during the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium at the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyo. Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014.  (AP)

Multi-millionaire Nick Hanauer says he and his fellow super-rich are killing the goose–the American middle class — that lays the golden eggs.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

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Why Facebook And Twitter Had Different Priorities This Week
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

There’s no hidden agenda to the difference between most people’s Facebook and Twitter feeds this week. Just a hidden type of emotional content and case use. Digiday’s John McDermott explains.

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Our Week In The Web: August 22, 2014
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

On mixed media messaging, Spotify serendipity and a view of Earth from the International Space Station.

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