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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 11/24/2010

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* Right's attack on TSA invasion of privacy going bust? It appears the American people aren't in sync with Drudge or Rush Limbaugh, whose latest rant is: "Keep your hands off my tea bag, Mr. President."

A big majority of flyers, 71 percent, tells Gallup that a loss of personal privacy from body-scans and pat-downs is worth it in order to prevent terrorism. And that's even though a majority say they would be "bothered" or "angry" about getting a pat-down.

* But: While the right's attack on the pat-downs is laughably hypocritical, it's still fair to ask whether we should be so willing to sacrifice civil liberties and privacy rights in the face of incohate fears of terrorism.

* Holding the line on the Bush tax cuts? Heading into a showdown with the GOP, the White House appears to be reiterating its insistence that the middle class tax cuts be made permanent, which is a non-starter for Republicans who are not budging from their position that the middle and upper cuts be extended as one.

* The forecast that really matters for the 2012 presidential race: Ezra Klein says we should ignore the polls and focus instead on predictions that unemployment will remain above eight percent in 2012.

* Fun fact of the day: In a few days, our adventure in Afghanistan, already the longest war in our history, will be longer than that of the Soviet Union.

* And: Pollster Stan Greenberg, who knows what he's talking about, says it's not out of the realm of possibility that Afghanistan could result in a primary challenge to Obama.

* More on the left ramping up for 2012: The chair of one of the biggest groups gearing up to take on the right, this one also founded by David Brock, tells Ben Smith that they will disclose donors in the interests of transparency and democracy -- even as they have every intention of matching the right's efforts.

Also: Taylor Marsh defends the portion of Brock's effort that won't be disclosing, arguing that no one understands today's right -- and what's required to take it on -- better than he does.

* When is an earmark not an earmark? When GOP Senator Jon Kyl inserts an additional $200 million in Federal funds for a group in his state into a bill only three days after the Senate GOP pledged to do away with earmarks.

* Media getting played for chumps by "Obama is anti-business" meme? Jonathan Chait, commenting on the news that American companies just enjoyed their best quarter ever, notes how amazing it is that the claim that Obama is anti-business has "recieved a widespread and generally sympathetic hearing in the political media."

* Government health care for me, but not for thee? With pressure mounting on House GOPers who oppose Obamacare to forgo their own government-provided health care, John Boehner's office says forget about it:

"Boehner, like Speaker Pelosi, Senator Reid and tens of millions of Americans, receives health coverage through his employer. That has nothing to do with ObamaCare, which will wreck Americans' health care and bankrupt our country."

Right, but who is that "employer"?

* Breaking: Obama tells Barbara Walters: "I don't think about Sarah Palin."

* Obama plans military exercises against North Korea: From the White House readout of his call last night President Lee of the Republic of Korea:

President Obama said that North Korea must stop its provocative actions, which will only lead to further isolation...The two Presidents agreed to hold combined military exercises and enhanced training in the days ahead to continue the close security cooperation between our two countries, and to underscore the strength of our Alliance and commitment to peace and security in the region.

And: The White House will pressure China to stand up to North Korea, but does not view North Korea's attack as a sign it wants to go to war.

* And here's today's exercise in comically absurd right-wing grievance-mongering: Incoming GOP Rep. Allen West claims the left's attack on him -- for trying to hire a chief of staff who reportedly suggested hanging criminal illegal immigrants -- is only happening because he's black.

What's fun about this concoction is that the left is meant to be standing up for illegal immigrants while simultaneously attacking West out of racism.

What else is going on?

By Greg Sargent  | November 24, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  2012, Foreign policy and national security, Health reform, House GOPers, Senate Republicans, taxes  
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Next: Yes, but what should Obama do about GOP opposition?

Comments

"What else is going on?"

Thanksgiving! Enjoy, All!

Posted by: wbgonne | November 24, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

We ain't gonna be doin any of that nuance stuff here.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to a Republican congresswoman two weeks ago for having praised Fidel Castro after the former Cuban leader made positive remarks about Israel.

In a September interview with The Atlantic reporter Jeffrey Goldberg, Castro defended Israel and Jews and criticized Iran, leading to praise from Netanyahu and a friendly letter from President Shimon Peres."

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/netanyahu-apologizes-to-u-s-lawmaker-for-praising-fidel-castro-1.326462

Posted by: bernielatham | November 24, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Ha'aretz editorial title today...

"Israel's leaders have handcuffed themselves to the extreme right"\

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/israel-s-leaders-have-handcuffed-themselves-to-the-extreme-right-1.326492

True. But they aren't alone in this perhaps.

Posted by: bernielatham | November 24, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Obama lie number 3,658: "I don't think about Sarah Palin." (don't you have to "think" about her just to say those words? And, was Jimmy Carter this arrogant?)

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 24, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I'm not following why criticism of the TSA scans from the right is hypocritical .. unless you mean that because they have been critical of Obama on terrorism issues, it's inconsistent to be critical of this particular aspect of the overall policy. I don't think that's a really sound argument because I think this tactic is all for show. Either way, it's simply politicians (and their mouth pieces) acting like politicians. Of course they don't argue in good faith. They never do.

The administration that campaigned on balancing civil liberties with security is using fear to establish a false dichotomy -- its either these tactics or death. There are alternative available that don't include profiling. For a couple of days, the refrain has been, don't like it, don't fly. Well, now it looks like DHS is has plans to expand this to other forms of transportation.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/130549-next-step-for-body-scanners-could-be-trains-boats-and-the-metro-

Posted by: NoVAHockey | November 24, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

"The administration that campaigned on balancing civil liberties with security is using fear to establish a false dichotomy -- its either these tactics or death. There are alternative available that don't include profiling.:

Thank you. Let's deal with Obama's hypocrisy before bothering with any Republican hypocrisy. Obama's hypocrisy is leading to pat downs and not making us safer. The Republican hypocrisy is leading to more votes for Republicans. While both of those are lamentable outcomes, the former concerns me more than the later.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 24, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

NoVaHockey,

The right was enraged at Obama after the undie bomber last Christmas that he wasn't doing enough to keep us safe.

The guy had the bomb in his underwear. Now underwear is off limits from searching.

They want it both ways.

Hypocritical.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

When is an earmark not an earmark? When GOP Senator Jon Kyl inserts an additional $200 million in Federal funds for a group in his state into a bill only three days after the Senate GOP pledged to do away with earmarks.

~~~~

I'm shocked! I thought it would take at least a week!

So have the Republicans come up with another name for "earmarks" yet? I predicted they would go with "Patriotic Appropriations."

This is what happens when you make a big deal out of something you don't even know the definition of.

Posted by: HansSolo | November 24, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

"The right was enraged at Obama after the undie bomber last Christmas that he wasn't doing enough to keep us safe."

If I remember correctly, that criticism was not directed at airport security as much as the intelligence failure. That guy's father walks into an embassy and says "my son's a terrorist" and nobody did anything about it.

On a practical level, I trust a dog to find explosives on a person more than I trust a TSA employee who has to look a scan after scan. I think fatigue has to set in fairly quickly in that thankless job.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | November 24, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

So you'd be OK with a dog sniffing everyone's crotch?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | November 24, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

clawrence, Obama not being concerned about a half term Governor is arrogant?

Yeah because two wars, economic fragility, 9.6% unemployment, China dominating us economically, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Portugal possibly tanking the European banking system, a nihilistic opposition party that would rather see our economy stagnate so it'll benefit them at the polls, an anti-American U.S. Chamber of Commerce working with China to circumvent our higher labor standards to benefit the profit of multi-national companies looking out for their own best interests and not our countries best interest, and a Republican party that would rather score political points rather than continue on the improving relations with Russia are all so insignificant he should be concerned about someone who uses twitter and Facebook as a platform to share their economic and geopolitical ideas with her followers.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | November 24, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I still can't get over the name of one of the two body scanners, Rapiscan. I can imagine the TV commercials.

"RAPISCAN! The name says it all!"

Posted by: mikefromArlington | November 24, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

claw, yes I'm sure he said this to Walters unprompted. He should have said nothing and just ignored the question about Governor Quitter. That's what leaders do!

Posted by: cao091402 | November 24, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

@NovaHockey: "I'm not following why criticism of the TSA scans from the right is hypocritical .. unless you mean that because they have been critical of Obama on terrorism issues, it's inconsistent to be critical of this particular aspect of the overall policy."

Agreed. I'm also not following why not wanting to be groped, or viewed naked by complete strangers, in a form of security theater that demonstrably failed the first week it was in place to provide any additional security, is a political issue, per se. Admittedly, the TSA is a government entity, but some things do actually transcend political boundaries, and I find it ironic that, after numerous question of commenters here about "is it really important to be in the conservative club?" that some liberals are exhibiting identical club-think behaviors.

I don't think the TSA issue is about political leverage, in my opinion. If Rush Limbaugh is trying to hang it around the neck of Obama, well, whatever. But irrespective of if the right supported it or did not, I'd be opposed (as are many people on the left, actually, just apparently no liberals here) to both the absurdity, the intrusiveness, and the demonstrable ineffectiveness (in comparison to what screening was before) of the new TSA guidelines.

Does anyone here literally want to assert that the 3 ounce, no liquids rule that keeps someone from bringing on a tube of tooth paste or hand sanitizer, among other things, has done anything, at all, to make us any safer? Really? If not, explain to me how either the scanners or enhanced pat downs are going to detect anything secreted in a bodily orifice, or even under folds of fat. Thus, without an associated lift-and-separate + body cavity search (which is where we're going, but is still not the answer) the new security kabuki is worth exactly nothing in terms of enhanced safety. So it's all BS, and if it doesn't at least irritate you, then I'm going to argue (as several recently did, re: conservatives) that "being in the liberal club" is more important that coherent or consistent thought, re: this issue.

@suekzoo: "The right was enraged at Obama after the undie bomber last Christmas that he wasn't doing enough to keep us safe."

They weren't arguing that the problem was that the TSA wasn't searching his frickin' underwear. Come on. And this still wouldn't have stopped the underwear bomber, who was escorted to the airplane without having to go through security! The underwear bomber had no passport! The underwear bomber's father met with the CIA, warned of his son's likely attempts at terrorism, and was largely ignored! I think those are probably more significant problems than the fact nobody at the TSA stuck their hands down his pants . . . irrespective, "Well, you people criticized us, so that gives us (or the government, generally) the right to do any damn thing we want to 'address' (ha-ha!) your criticism is very, very weak tea. In my opinion.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

-- ..."Boehner, like Speaker Pelosi, Senator Reid and tens of millions of Americans, receives health coverage through his employer. That has nothing to do with ObamaCare, which will wreck Americans' health care and bankrupt our country."

Right, but who is that "employer"? --

It's not even a matter of who the employer is - I got an email the other day announcing the open enrollment period for our healthcare starts 11/29 and my choices will be;

Blue Cross Michigan and - that's it. Not a lot of choices needless to say.

How many choices do congress critters get? Hell, how many choices does Greg Sargent get? I bet it's more than one.

I wonder if my company is alone in offering exactly one choice...

Posted by: unymark | November 24, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

@pragmatic: "So you'd be OK with a dog sniffing everyone's crotch?"

It would at least be a form of actual deterrent, thus actually enhance security, instead of being nothing more than condescending bullsh**.

I'd favor that over what we're doing now. And it couldn't be any more expensive than installing, maintaining, and running the Rapiscanners.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Well, I'll be going through an airport tomorrow. I'm gonna bring a pack of smokes with me so I can light up after having gotten to second base with the TSA screeners.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | November 24, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

@unymark: "I wonder if my company is alone in offering exactly one choice..."

Many if not most companies offer exactly one choice. I work for county government. We get exactly one choice (Cigna). But I think you get better rates from a given insurer if you don't offer a choice. Anyhoo . . .

Unless you work for the federal government or Google, I think most people have once choice. Which isn't so bad. I've worked places with no employer insurance at all.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

How can anyone claim that the new security procedures "demonstrably failed the first week it was in place to provide any additional security" when you have no idea or proof or evidence that someone/anyone changed their plans as a result? Just because they didn't find a bomb does not in any way prove that the procedures have not made air travel safer.

Having said that, as a person that travels pretty frequently, the entire process, both before and after the new procedures, are a pain but I really don't see the big deal of the new scanners if they are safe.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | November 24, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, the demagoguery on this airport thing is rather too ridiculous for words. I so don't care if someone pats me down or scans my privates. And my chances of being terminated against my will is about 10,000 times greater just walking down the street.

And the really cool thing about all this is how happy Osama must be at seeing us beat each other up over this idiocy.

It feels like a frigging elementary school these days.

Posted by: bernielatham | November 24, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

mikefromArlington and cap, so you really are buying that Obama (and Gibbs, Axelrod, etc.) DOESN'T think at all about his re-election -- he supposedly already asked Biden to run with him again -- or about the odds on favorite to be his opponent in 2012?!

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 24, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

"Unless you work for the federal government or Google, I think most people have once choice."

I've got 3 choices working for a private firm.

UnitedHealth, Aetna and Kaiser Permanente.

They are all about the same. I went with Kaiser because of how accessible they are to the region I live in.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | November 24, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

"So you'd be OK with a dog sniffing everyone's crotch?"

It would not need to sniff everyone's crotch to detect the explosives. A trained dog could walk the line and signal a "hit" by sitting down next to the person. That would give the officer probable cause to conduct a more invasive search. A targeted search that respects everyone's civil liberties.

As an undergrad I saw the NY State Police conduct a demo as part of a campus recruiting effort. They had about 40 people in the room who each passed a golf-ball sized bit of plastic explosive from person to person. The officer then randomly picked a student who put it in his pocket. Another officer brought in the dog, who proceeded to circle the room and sit down next to the student. took him less than 10 seconds and no crotch sniffing involved. And it would have known if the student had put it somewhere else on his person -- somewhere no scanner is going to look. And that dog isn't going to get fatigued a way an employee looking at essentially the same image over and over will.

So I object to what is a needlessly invasive search that isn't as effective as the alternative methods that are available.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | November 24, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

@pragmaticagain: "How can anyone claim that the new security procedures 'demonstrably failed the first week it was in place to provide any additional security'"

I think someone walking onto an airplane with two twelve-inch steel razor blades after the new procedures were put in place would count as at least one demonstrable failure.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/11/adam-savage-tsa-saw-my-junk-missed-12-razor-blades.ars

{{If the TSA thinks you can hijack a plane with saline solution and nail clippers, Savage's 12" razor blades are the equivalent of a nuclear bomb. Since the blades weren't anywhere near Savage's privates, they likely would have been missed by the pat-down as well.

Sleep well, America.}}

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 24, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

clawrence12, one thing is for certain, with all going on, I doubt he sits up at night pondering the 2012 match-up against Sarah or is in strategy meetings on how they are going to defeat Sarah. He's got more serious things to consider. I doubt he's heavily involved in 2012 strategy right at this moment at all. Heck, Axelrod is just now leaving for Chicago to head up the 2012 race and Plouffe is heading to the WH to fill the Axelrod gap.

Arrogance on the part of Obama to not consider her? Hardly. If I found out he was sitting around thinking about that know nothing I'd be pissed. He's got a country to run.

I get it though. It's fun to call Obama arrogant. It's all the new thing to say and stuff.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | November 24, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Unless you work for the federal government or Google, I think most people have once choice."

I've never had more than 1 choice in either of the 2 firms I've worked at. In one I at least had a choice of plans from the 1 insurer. I'm young, healthy and have good genes so I don't need the same coverage as my 65 year old co-worker.

Interestingly, if I waived coverage from that employer, I had to show proof of insurance from somewhere so I already had a mandate. It would have been interesting to see what my employer would have done if I had refused to show proof or enroll.

At my current job I have 1 insurer to "choose" from and 1 plan and it's almost twice as expensive and not as good as my old plan. What a stupid system, fortunately my wife got a new job with better coverage.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 24, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Where I work, we have two choices. It's the same two choices every employer I have worked for offers: take it or leave it.

:o)

Actually, this year, we have a choice of two BC/BS plans. An "okay" plan with reasonable deductibles and co-payments, and a stripped down plan that is basically catastrophic coverage, with a $4200 deductible before they pay a dime.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

WaPo is still hosting Greg's kiddie klub?

Posted by: happyacres | November 24, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Sure am glad to see Boehner doesn't speak in chicken little platitudes.

Oh, wait...

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 24, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Terrible news, median home prices in the US dropped to 2003 levels last month. So long as the home equity bust (a major part of the net worth of family wage earners) continues, there will be no consumer spending increase and that means no jobs created. The window of opportunity, America's capacity to convert itself to a sustainable as opposed to a consumable economic drive train may have been lost.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

We are sending tanks into Afghanistan during the month when our war there went over the time the Soviets spent killing and dying there, for nothing. It is just an unhappy coincidence.

The Republicans are beneath contempt, but I am so done with the Obama administration.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"median home prices in the US dropped to 2003 levels last month."

A needed correction to the market, IMO. The rise in home prices during the bubble was fake and unsustainable. It wasn't real wealth, and just encouraged people to live beyond their means.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

sue-

Amen. What suprises me is *how many* average folks fell for it. Call me crazy, but I was raised by skinflints...

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 24, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Well suekz, the window that may be closed now, the opportunity lost and that may have happened during the 80s. Since then, one debt driven consumption bubble after another was the problem. If this is a "correction" then the window is still open, not that we are doing anything about it.

No one on the power levers can envision a better life for all Americans if we don't consume more and more. So all of the measures taken so far are about prodding people to spend money buying stuff they don't need. But if this is the beginning of a stagflation cycle, we may not get back to where we were. Either way, we have no choice but to abandon consumers consuming more stuff as the road to our salvation.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

"I don't think about Sarah Palin"

Nice. Obama co-opted Ayn Rand from the Repubs there.

Don't know how many people grasp the irony that this is a line Howard Roark used in The Fountainhead when his chief antagonist, the art critic, Ellsworth Toohey, asked what Roark thought about him.

Posted by: breakingball | November 24, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Here is what Obama said to Barbara Walters:

"Obviously Sarah Palin has a strong base of support in the Republican Party and I respect those skills," Obama said. "But I spend most of my time right now on how I can be the best possible president. And my attitude has always been, from the day I started this job that if I do a good job and if I'm delivering for the American people the politics will take care of itself...."

So he didn't just blow her off--he gave the only answer he could/should have given to a leading question ("Do you think you can beat Sarah Palin in 2012?") This is just that nasty MSM trying to make the president look, oh no, arrogant.

Posted by: ElizaJane2 | November 24, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

The great irony about this TSA bulls**t is that the Right was perfectly okay with the executive branch spying on Americans without any oversight whatsoever.

Spy on Americans against the Constitution?

A-OKAY!

Searching people rigorously in advance of the busiest travel day of the year?

GAK! CIVIL LIBERTIES! GAK!

It just goes to prove once and for all that Republicans simply do not UNDERSTAND civil liberties issues, nor do they understand national security. It really is that simple. They just don't understand complex issues.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 24, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

All, a challenge to our top online voices:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/11/how_should_obama_handle_gop_op.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 24, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I don't think about Sarah Palin, either.

Posted by: breakingball | November 24, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

So, Greg, you are viewing the sexual assaults at the airports as a partisan issue.

And you feel obliged to beat the drum for violations of the 4th Amendment?


This is precisely the problem with the liberals - who have taken almost issue and turned it into a twisted alternate reality, with the sole goal of advancing their partisan ideas - not getting government policies right.

Posted by: RedNation | November 24, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

"Either way, we have no choice but to abandon consumers consuming more stuff as the road to our salvation."

It never was a road to salvation, nor to wealth. Economists have been alarmed for years about the savings habits of Americans. Most people in middle age and older do not have adequate savings for retirement. We can't consume our way to wealth, especially when there are not hard assets backing the spending. That's why the loss of manufacturing in the US (as I see it) has been so devastating. At least if we are making things, and building things, there is something of value being created. Investment in infrastructure is similar.

Investment in paper documents where the value of the underlying assets are questionable is a big part of the financial collapse. There was no there, there.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

mikefromArlington, I didn't claim that he sits up all night fretting about her running. Read again what he actually said. If you don't think that's a lie and, therefore, arrogant, there is obviously nothing I can post that will change your mind. Everyone else has to admit he had to "think" about her to even say the words "I don't think about Sarah Palin." Otherwise, he would have said: "Sarah who?"

I think that "breakingball" gets it at least.

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 24, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

"I'm not following why criticism of the TSA scans from the right is hypocritical ..."

Because the right said nothing about the abuses allowed by the Patriot Act, which allows for warrant-less wiretapping and for people to be locked up without a trial or lawyer.

It's sort of like the economy. Bush spent in a way that would make a drunken sailor blush, passing unfunded mandates left and right, plus the bailout, and the right was mostly silent. Now, Obama is in charge and suddenly we have a Tea Party.

Posted by: mypitts2 | November 24, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

mikefromArlington, I didn't claim that he sits up all night fretting about her running. Read again what he actually said. If you don't think that's a lie and, therefore, arrogant, there is obviously nothing I can post that will change your mind. Everyone else has to admit he had to "think" about her to even say the words "I don't think about Sarah Palin." Otherwise, the answer to that question would be "Sarah who?"

By the way, ElizaJane2, thank you for proving my point (I was going to quote those exact words if someone else tried to claim "He doesn't think about her.") An acceptable answer, if true, would have been "I don't think about who can beat who."

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 24, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Aw, sh*t. Anyone who wants to will parse any set of noun+verb+object from Obama to make it fit anything they want. Are you inside his head, ferchrissakes?

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 24, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

No, Chuck, I am not. See how easy it is to truthfully answer questions?

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 24, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

but, but, but suekzoo1, I've read countless comments here from folks who share your political views that basically disagree with your position!

I've been told that the essence of the progressive tax rates is the need to wrest money from high earners because those folks would save it, rather than spend it and spending is what we need!

The attempt to rationalize confiscatory tax rates based on this need to have money spent instead of "saved" makes an appearance here almost daily.

Do your uber liberal friends know that you hold such a heretical viewpoint? Are you concerned that you'll be shunned by liberal elites because you value savings over consumption?

I notice that you are, at best, ambivalent about "investment" but isn't "investment" tantamount to "saving"? After all, folks who save aren't generally stuffing cash in a coffee can for subsequent burial in the back yard. Instead these savers are expecting at least some interest payment. That can only be generated by investing this money productively.

Oh, and you are quite wrong about manufacturing. America is still the manufacturing powerhouse of the world. We just do it with fewer and fewer people. In fact for every dollar of output generated by a Chinese factory worker, and American worker produces 2.5 dollars of output. We're more productive, it is just that simple.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 24, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

@clawrence12 - I don't think you get the irony of his using a line from Ayn Rand in this context. I don't think he gives much thought to Sarah Palin (as I don't), not out of arrogance, but because she really isn't very important (regardless of the noise surrounding her). The rest of his response is a necessary qualifier (think, "You're not so bad, Hillary.")

Posted by: breakingball | November 24, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

@clawrence12 - I don't think you get the irony of his using a line from Ayn Rand in this context.

This has to be one of the saddest debates I have read on this or any other political blog. Apparently you can never say the phrase "I don't think about..." without being a liar.

That will make a powerful campaign add, Claw!

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 24, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

"Oh, and you are quite wrong about manufacturing. America is still the manufacturing powerhouse of the world. We just do it with fewer and fewer people. In fact for every dollar of output generated by a Chinese factory worker, and American worker produces 2.5 dollars of output. We're more productive, it is just that simple."

What's great about this is that one would logically think that more productive workers would be paid more. But as we've become more productive, wages have stagnated. It makes sense because the workers that companies are then able to lay off end up keeping wages down. So the companies end up keeping the profits rather than rewarding the increasingly productive workers. Hooray for capitalism!

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 24, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

As I already said, it is simply Obama's 3,658th lie. Maybe you think it's no big deal, but I am going for the cumulative effect.

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 24, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Of course wages for factory workers have stagnated. Duh. And yes it is capitalism at work. Demand for them has declined because manufacturing requires fewer people. If the supply remains static, price will drop.

In the rust belt we have a generation of people that believed that if they graduated from high school there would be a decent job building whatever at some factory. But the jobs were being eliminated steadily and now many of these same folks are caught up in the transition.

I have a neighbor who worked the "hot" side of a local steel mill. He was a ladle operator. He sat in a both high above the floor and moved ladles full of molten matter around with his crane. He hasn't worked in more than two years. Now that his welfare benefits are about the expire he's enrolled in a local community college program to become an auto mechanic. Now that the gravy train is just about over he's finally serious about finding some other line of work.
I imagine that the same thing happened throughout history. For example, what happened to all the whalers in New England when petroleum over took whale oil? Should we have somehow supported them because nasty old capitalism didn't treat them right?

How about the blacksmiths and farmers who were displaced when we switched from horses to internal combustion engines? What happened to them? Was it a pleasant time for the guys working in the local riding crop plant?

Part of the beauty of capitalism is that it destroys jobs on a regular basis. I would think that people who call themselves "progressives" would understand that progress comes at a price.

Want an example closer to home? How many supermarket cashiers will be displaced when we finally get herded into self checkout? They will join the gas station attendants no? Should the entire country follow the lead of New Jersey and simply ban self service?

How many tellers lost thier jobs to atms?

I suspect that the required transistions engendered by our relentless desire for better went more quickly when the opportunity to live on taxpayer largesse for a while did not exist.

but I understand your frustration. It is the view of liberals that employers exist to render social justice. Sadly that is at odds with reality. The reality is that companies exist to generate a profit for its owners. Why didn't the UAW just buy GM or chrysler?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 24, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

skippy: "Are you concerned that you'll be shunned by liberal elites because you value savings over consumption?"

No.

"I notice that you are, at best, ambivalent about "investment" but isn't "investment" tantamount to "saving"? After all, folks who save aren't generally stuffing cash in a coffee can for subsequent burial in the back yard. Instead these savers are expecting at least some interest payment. That can only be generated by investing this money productively."

I'm not ambivalent about investment, you ninny. I am invested personally. I believe in investing in actual tangible assets and goods, not in paper profits that are artificially manufactured that are unregulated.

Get a clue, skippy. Nothing I've posted here today is different than I posted here in the last 18 months that I've been here.

Liberals are not lockstep. We vary. Big Tent, ya know? No, you wouldn't, obviously.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 24, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"rewarding the increasingly productive workers"

Heh, heh, you sick bastard.
That is what religion is for.

But seriously, they get plenty of rewards, like the employee of the month parking spot.

Look if workers want to get rich, they should just work harder. Right? All the rich people earn every dollar through hard work, am I right?

I remember at Williams College, one of the stupidest drunks in the school (not that I am criticizing the likes of The Shrub) not only graduated, his entry level job was as an executive vice president at Proctor and Gamble. Thanks Dad.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

When I get home tonight, I will post all of Obama's Lies. Off the top of my head, though "I will serve out my full six year term ... I will not [run for President]", then of course "I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publically financed general election" and "I will close Gitmo within a year." That's four lies right there.

You can get a head start reading more lies: http://www.politifact.com/truth-O-meter/promises/rulings/promise-broken

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 24, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

"but I understand your frustration. It is the view of liberals that employers exist to render social justice."

Wrong as usual. Remember, you're the one who is all conerned about morality. I'm concerned about sustainability.

Some of your examples are inaccurate. When the horse was replaced by the car, everyone involved in whip making lost. Workers, ownwers, shareholders etc.

More productive workers leads to increased profits. Where did these profits go? CEO and executive salaries increased rapidly, so apparently their increased productivity has led to them getting more pay. The profits also go to shareholders which are largely wealthy individuals. So by becoming more productive, smarter and efficient, workers create a net benefit get little to no benefit.

Now to be clear, I am not saying that the government should force CEOs to take less pay or force businesses to give raises or whatever other evil marxist plots you want to ascribe to me. All I am saying is that we need to be honest about what is happening. What is happening is that most workers are better, smarter and more efficient (you provided the statistic) yet make less in terms of real dollars than they did the year before or the decade before. THis leads to all sorts of additional and widespread problems.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 24, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

================
Now to be clear, I am not saying that the government should force CEOs to take less pay or force businesses to give raises or whatever other evil marxist plots you want to ascribe to me
===============
But that is exactly what Obama just did in Obamacare. The federal government MANDATED how insurance firms should use their money.

So much for private property rights in America.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 24, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

But that is exactly what Obama just did in Obamacare. The federal government MANDATED how insurance firms should use their money.

So much for private property rights in America.
------------------------------------------

Just to make sure we are on the same page, are you referring to the 85% requirement?

If so, then to that extent you are right. Although that seems like a stretch. By that logic, the extent to which we prevent Wall Street from trading certain derivatives is infringing on private property the same with requiring cigarette companies to put warnings on their boxes.

Of course, the trade-off was 30 million new customers partially paid for by the government so I'm sure insurance companies are complaining too loudly.

Any other thoughts on my prior post?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 24, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"Now to be clear, I am not saying that the government should force CEOs to take less pay."

I, on the other hand, am saying that. I am not worried about a CEO shortage, not even a little bit. A motivated skilled work force? priceless.

"The federal government MANDATED how insurance firms should use their money."

This is comical. Their money? Hey, why do people rob banks?


Posted by: shrink2 | November 24, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone want to debate the Obama lies?

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 25, 2010 2:08 AM | Report abuse

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