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Posted at 11:01 AM ET, 12/ 2/2010

Lefty group running ad slamming Obama -- in Iowa

By Greg Sargent

Now this is a pretty in-your-face move: The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which yesterday unveiled a new ad hitting Obama as weak in the Bush tax cut fight, is now going to run the ad in Iowa.

Yesterday, PCCC announced that the ad -- which you can watch below -- would run only on D.C. cable, which meant it would only be seen by political elites. But Adam Green of the PCCC says that the group has since yesterday raised more than $50,000 from some 3,000 people to fund the ad, allowing the group to put it on the air in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.

This means actual voters will see the spot, the first hitting Obama from the left of the new cycle. Iowa has special significance, because it's there that Obama made his 2007 campaign promise to let the tax cuts for the wealthy expire, which is the centerpiece of the ad. The spot demands that Obama stick to his promise and not "cave" to Republicans by extending the tax cuts for the rich.

"We're bringing our ad to the place President Obama made his core campaign promise of letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire," Green tells me. "There is no room for compromise on an issue where the promise is so clear and where the Republicans are standing with the wealthiest 2% of Americans against the entirety of the American people."

Between this spot and the new one unveiled this morning by MoveOn, it's clear that the left has settled on a strategy of actively trying to damage Obama politically with the base and with left-leaning independents by painting him as weak, to force him to draw a harder line against Republicans. The left, clearly, has no intention of stopping with these efforts.

Surely some will insist that it only helps Obama to be attacked from the left. But efforts to encourage the perception that Obama is weak and refuses to fight -- which is gaining some traction with the mainstream media, whether fair or not -- could very well damage Obama politically over the long term. And the White House will probably have to deal with it sooner or later.


By Greg Sargent  | December 2, 2010; 11:01 AM ET
Categories:  taxes  
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Next: Is Senator Kyl holding New START hostage to tax cuts?

Comments

Gee, and Dems wonder why they are always called "Dems in disarray" and can never sustain power in govt? Good grief.

It was Obama pushing for tax cuts votes BEFORE the mid-terms. Congress punting till the lame duck to hold a vote put us in this position.

They need to attack Congress, not Obama. It's pathetic and and easy target that misses the problem.

Posted by: kromerm | December 2, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

They're all worthless and weak, as Niedermyer would say.

Whereas Republicans are fat, drunk, and stupid, as Dean Wormer would say.

Posted by: Observer691 | December 2, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

PCCC very simply has no damned sense whatsoever. Two years ago I would never guessed that ~anyone~ could ever out-gun MoveOn when it came to shooting the liberal agenda in the foot, but these guys almost make MoveOn look mature by comparison. They've elevated political counter-productivity to an entirely new level.

Posted by: CalD | December 2, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Have any of these polls concerning taxes put both permanent and temporary extensions on the menu? How does temporary extension for 2 years fare vs extending them all permanently or extending permanently only the lower ones?

Seems like a lot of the polls just use the word "extend" which can mean different things to different people.

Posted by: sold2u | December 2, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

And yet again Dems show how amazingly stupid and shortsighted they are. I'm going to make a simple point and note there is NO OTHER WAY to get DADT, START, DREAM in the timeframe of the lame duck without a quick resolution to tax cuts. There is no quick resolution without "capitulation". This is especially true as Dems are NOT unified. There's 10-13 for a full extension. So if these "Dems" want for Obama to fight for his plan, then they have to be prepared to lose all of the above. Which they're not.

In addition, those calling him "weak" ignore one little detail. HCR. Period. "Weak" leaders don't pass a plan like that with the opposition they have.

Posted by: calchala | December 2, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but Obama IS weak. For whatever reason, he just won't stand up to the cynical, almost pathological thugs who run the modern GOP. He has been seemingly blindsided over and over from the very beginning because he won't stand up to them, and they know it, and they will do whatever it takes to destroy him and get back power. Harsh? Yes, but you can't put a nice face on the nuclear blackmail of Kyl's statement that START is dead unless the rich get their tax cuts--the 2% of the people who already have almost 50% of the net worth of the country.

I supported him in 2008, and as a 68 year old I understand politics is tough and you have to be pragmatic, but being pragmatic means drawing lines and sticking with them, not believing you have some magical quality that is going to enable you to "transform" DC just by being there. Yes its tough, but when the going gets tough, as they say, isn't the time to be the nice guy.

Posted by: Mimikatz | December 2, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

This is an absolute disgrace. And it is why Obama, correctly, doesn't give the internet or activist Left the time of the day. What a bunch of faithless children.

Posted by: mgoetzesq | December 2, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I don't think putting pressure on someone is the same as slamming someone. I've got no problem with pressure in this form tbh.

Just a thought.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 2, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

And yes, Congress bears a great share of the blame, and Reid is a bad and soporific leader, and the Senate Dems are a cowardly, clubby bunch. But still. How do you explain the WH disarray and constant giving away of negoitiating positions with seemingly little thought in advance of any negotiations? Like the pay freeze, the debt commission and off-shore drilling.

Posted by: Mimikatz | December 2, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

This is what I don't get. How much is the Left willing to give up to purchase the satisfaction of knowing the rich won't get their tax cuts? The entire liberal agenda? Just so some rich person you've never met has to pay a few dollars more in taxes? Is a lousy two-three extension of the cuts worth the whole liberal program? Not to Obama, and not to me either. But then, neither of us are children jealously eyeing some other kid's piece of cake.

Posted by: mgoetzesq | December 2, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

@Mimikatz -- Couple of things, reading my comment above, you prepared to sacrifice those things plus UI ext and a myriad of others over a fight on tax cuts? Remember they got about 16 days or so to get everything done.

Posted by: calchala | December 2, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"But Adam Green of the PCCC says that the group has since yesterday raised more than $50,000 from some 3,000 people to fund the ad, allowing the group to put it on the air in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids."
---------------------------------------------

... Would you walk away from a fool and his money? LOL!

Posted by: CalD | December 2, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Further proof Obama will be a one-term president.

Posted by: DamnedLiberal | December 2, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

As kromerm noted, prior to the election, Obama was pretty much the only one out there fighting for a permanent middle class tax cut up to $250,000.

The Dems in Congress could've voted on this then, when he (and prominent pollsters) were calling for them to do so. But, they didn't. They punted.

Now, the left's mad at Obama because some Dems in Congress don't support his plan? They're mad at Obama because the leadership in both houses can't (or won't) listen to him & bifurcate the middle class and upper class tax cuts, and hold a vote on just the middle class ones? They're mad because Obama tried to get his plan through, couldn't get his own (scared) people to support it, and decided to prioritize doing something to keep the middle class from getting hit with a tax increase?

Look, I understand that Obama is the President and will take the brunt of criticism. But, members of Congress are supposed to be able to vote without the President holding their hands.

So, why aim your fire at the one who is in agreement with your position and is trying to make lemonade out of lemons, instead of aiming your fire at the ones (i.e., Democrats) who are actually mucking up the situation, making it the mess for Dems that it is?

Frankly, it seems that some on the left don't understand how pressuring politicians is supposed to work.

Wouldn't common sense dictate that you focus your energy on calling out the ones (i.e., Democratic Senators) who are opposed to the $250K cap, no the ones who support it?

Perhaps, the vote would go differently if you were running ads to pressure Ben Nelson, Lieberman, and anyone else on the fence, instead of allowing them to hide in the shadows while you beat up on Obama.

Posted by: associate20 | December 2, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Let the games begin!!!


Let's face the facts: Obama barely made it through the primaries. The democrats were so desperate to win in 2008, the Hillary people reluctantly came in behind Obama.


The Obama campaigns were filled with deceptions and lies - the performance of Obama in office can best be described as "BAIT AND SWITCH."


The American People have a phrase for this: snake-oil salesman.


Anyway - it is unfortunate that the nation is not being led by an experienced and qualified person. The nation has ZERO CONFIDENCE IN OBAMA.

And this is true in a way that people will not give Obama a second look.


The thing with Obama is unique; the way he offends people with his deceptions and lies, no one wants to ever give him a second chance. Obama is not coming back in the polls.

_____________________________


The issue with the liberals is that they set out to fool the nation, but they ended up fooling themselves.


The liberals actually believed Obama's deceptions.

That is their major problem - the liberals WANT THE LIES TO BE TRUE.


But the lies are NOT true.


Instead, the Republicans now have control of the House.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 2, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"Frankly, it seems that some on the left don't understand how pressuring politicians is supposed to work."

Indeed, and Obama is chief amongst them.

Posted by: DamnedLiberal | December 2, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

No one is say this, but why not let ALL the tax cuts expire? My portion of the Bush era tax cuts is about $500 over a year. I'll give it up if that means we can save $4 trillion. If that means we get our fiscal house in order. I would certainly chip in $2 billion for unemployed people. That money goes right back into my pockets as poor broke people spend money.

I don't get why Obama is playing so weak on this. I guess it is a ploy to win over the independents, but what about the people who actually voted for him? Personally think we need to strike out on our own if there's no one to represent us in D.C. The Tea Party is too ignorant, the Repubs are too cynical and the Dems too scared. Time to find some representation.

Posted by: Alex3 | December 2, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

@DamnedLiberal:

"Indeed, and Obama is chief amongst them."

Political pressure is most potent when it comes from the masses.

So, again, where are the ads/calls/protests targeting the Dem Senators on the fence?

Posted by: associate20 | December 2, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Giving credit where it is due, the Obama Admin has reinstated the off-shore oil moratorium for the next 7 years, having realized that the industry needs stricter standards and they weren't going to get anything for it.

On whether the Dems should hold out for anything or just cave on permanent tax giveaways to the already rich, this is kind of like the Balkans used to be. Should we fight? Well, what we should have done is not let ourselves get into this situation in the first place by drawing a line in the sand when the atrocities first started.

Obama needs to get the START treaty by putting the GOP on the defensive. He needs to lay down markers because the GOP will have most of the trump cards in the next Congress and the Senate Dems are a weak and cowardly bunch who couldn't act in their own best interests, let alone the country's best interests, when they had the chance. Why would you believe that the GOP will actually give Obama START, DADT, the DREAM Act aqnd all the rest if they DO get their tax cuts? McConnell will just pull the football all over again, laughing all the while.

Posted by: Mimikatz | December 2, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

@DamnedLiberal:

One other point... This approach is wholly inconsistent with the notion of grassroots change, and reorients toward a top-down model that is indeed less effective.

The same approach was used during the debate over the PO. Obama got slammed. The Senators who actually vote got a pass. And the American people got no PO.

The left likes to talk about "Obama refusing to learn." But perhaps the left is projecting?

Posted by: associate20 | December 2, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

As for this guy Assange, I don't know why Obama hasnt gone after him and arrested him over the past six months - the idea that there were other people who may have released this information, and that stopped Obama doesnt really hold water -

The info has been released anyway - and if they arrested Assange, that may have been a deterrant to the others. Clearly- if this guy was in Gitmo wondering if he was going to be executed, that would have been the best way to prevent all this.

-----------------


Which leads me to wonder if Obama - in his sick mind - really wanted these documents released.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 2, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

liberal ≠ leftist

I, for example, am a leftist and I am not a liberal. The liberals have their agenda, I agree with some of it and I disagree with some of it. If you don't recognize the fight against the growth in American income disparity as priority #1, you just might be a liberal.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

What exactly is unfair about saying something which is true?

If the Democratic 'elite' expect us lay progressives to act like Republicans did with bush43 they are sadly mistaken.

If Obama won't fight for me, screw him. I'll vote for someone who will.

Posted by: kindness1 | December 2, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"the perception that Obama is weak and refuses to fight"

That perception is also known as "reality." Just what will it take for Obama to awaken? Has he been drugged since election day? This is just the beginning of the Liberal disaffection. There will be a primary challenge from the Left before 2012. It is becoming inevitable.

Shrink: What is the difference between Left and Liberal? I use the terms interchangeably.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I disagree

______________


mgoetzesq at 11:21 AM


And it is why Obama, correctly, doesn't give the internet or activist Left the time of the day. What a bunch of faithless children.


--------------------------

Obama pays MILLIONS OF DOLLARS to get his message out on the internet


AND that includes HIRING PAID BLOGGERS -


AND that includes PAYING PEOPLE TO HARASS, MOCK AND ATTACK anyone who makes any comment on the internet which does not conform with Obama's deceitful talking points.

THAT IS WHAT IS DISGRACEFUL IN A DEMOCRACY


AND that is why OBAMA IS UNAMERICAN.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 2, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

All, nice new Adam Serwer post on Kyl and Start:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/rich_people_first.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 2, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"not believing you have some magical quality that is going to enable you to "transform" DC just by being there"

That's as good an explanation as any I've heard, Mimi. Either that, or his brain has been stolen by the Chamber of Commerce.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Since I -- no disrespect -- just don't get the left's approach here, one final point on this, and it kinda touches on something Greg wrote yesterday...

Perhaps, there should be greater clarity about the role the President and the base should play in these legislative maneuvers.

Typically, it's been asserted that Obama's primary role is to get out there and "fight" for these issues. That intimates an expectation for him to persuade the American people to support his position.

Based on the polling, he's achieved that part.

So, now that support needs to be marshaled, and if necessary, brought to bear on individuals in Congress who oppose the base's desired outcome.

Is it not the primary responsibility of the base to do just that, to organize the people to pressure Congress to help drive the ball into the end zone?

Posted by: associate20 | December 2, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

President Obama asked us to make him do it. I see this as an attempt to do just that. There is no reason to cave on tax cuts for the rich.

Posted by: temptxan | December 2, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"it is why Obama, correctly, doesn't give the internet or activist Left the time of the day"

He's sure showing us who's boss.

"What a bunch of faithless children"

And that is precisely the attitude that is destroying the Democratic Party. Liberals are the soul of the Democratic Party. Without Liberals, the Democratic Party has no reason for existing. ANd that helps explain the fecklessness and rootlessness of today's Democratic "leaders": they have forgotten why they are there.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

GOOD!

OBAMA CAVES = OBAMA FAILS.

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | December 2, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I have a hard time seeing this as some brutal takedown of Obama. The caption reads "If President Obama dares Republicans to oppose him, he will win." They clearly are trying to influence the behavior of the WH, not so much damage them politically. What's the big deal?

I think Kevin Drum is right. The WH may see the lame duck as a time when a softer line is in order because they hope for a couple votes on stuff like DADT and START. But Libs and Dems have to make clear that if it continues in the next Congress we will be pissed.

Posted by: jbossch | December 2, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

You guys defending Obama from the Left should give it a rest. You aren't doing Obama any favors by justifying his fecklessness. The president is the mountain, not the molehill. That is reality, like it or not. As I've said before, it appears to me that Obama hates his job. If so, he shouldn't run again. If not, he should get in the game and use the bully pulpit again and again. He appears to think of his role as a spectator or referee. He isn't. He is the playing field.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Uh oh, more bad news for His Dark Lordship.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11902489

I sent an email to the BBC telling them to update their file photo. Nowadays he looks downright cachectic.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Obama is weak. He and the other weaklings in Congress (House & Senate) should not be re elected. I campaigned for this guy and all he does is hand victories over to republicans.
I wish there was a viable third party! Because the the Dems say all the right things but their actions prove they do not want to do the right things. Bunch of wusses....

Posted by: priceisright | December 2, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

"His Dark Lordship"

Obama's first mistake was letting Cheney and Bush walk to their war crimes. And guess what Cheney did in response, he attacked Obama mercilessly at a time when it was politically unpopular to do so, right after the election, when Obama was King. Cheney had nothing to lose once he knew Obama didn't have the stomach to go after him for war crimes. Cheney was the one who first began softening up Obama post-election. Then his evil spawn daughter took over. And those vicious attacks were met with silence by Obama. Which -- surprise surprise -- only engendered MORE attacks. By the time the health care fiasco arrived Obama was already weakened significantly because he has failed to defend himself.

I don't know: maybe Obama thinks he's Ghandi or MLK or Jesus and, if he just absorbs enough punishment, his tormenters will have pity on him and stop. Well, it hasn't happened yet.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

"If you don't recognize the fight against the growth in American income disparity as priority #1, you just might be a liberal. "

Or even, God forbid, a conservative. (shudders)

Just out of curiosity, what is the "correct" level of income disparity, against which you wouldn't fight? And how does one go about determining this "correct" level? And what is the relationship, if any, between an acceptable absolute income level and an acceptable disparity? That is, should I be happier with an income of $10,000 a year knowing that the highest income anyone else makes is $50,000, or with an income of $30,000 a year knowing that the highest income anyone else makes is $1 million? Again, just curious.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 2, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

wbg, it is too big a question for this time of day, but very briefly, the difference between left and liberal has to do with the relationship between the individual and society and the role of politics in that relationship. Liberals believe better social institutions make better people, a better society through better government programs, looser regs here, tighter there, social engineering in general. Those on the old right (pre-"neo-con") and the left believe people are inherently, if not evil then bad, and that the role of social institutions is to allow good people to flourish (by getting out of their way) and to keep bad people from wrecking that process and that yeah, society doesn't just get to tell people what is good and bad, it has to cram the distinction down peoples' collective throats, illiberally. Also, leftists in general tend to view social conflict as inevitable through the prism of "class consciousness", which liberals consider bad taste, or simply deny. These are blunt generalizations because the topic is enormous. Suffice it to say, I see as many similarities and differences between liberals and leftists as I do between leftists and the old school of American conservative thought. Naturally, while I see no common ground with the new school conservatives.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

These people are idiots. Who do they think would replace Obama? Someone leftier? Really?

This is why I don't donate to these independent progressive groups, I send my money directly to the Democrats. They may not be perfect but at least they're not crazy.

Posted by: Dema | December 2, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"I don't know: maybe Obama thinks he's Ghandi or MLK or Jesus..."

He has been attacked for having messianic tendencies, but I've tended to discount those attacks, thinking more in terms of fecklessness, but you might be correct. It is unnerving, to say the least, trying to figure out why the guy you helped get elected ended up being will o'the wisp. It is as if you could put your hand on him and it comes out the other side. Is he really there, or not?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't think in terms of correct and incorrect income disparity, I see income disparity as a necessary evil, something that can not go away and that is never good. Unlike Jesus (a liberal archetype), I don't think that the meek shall inherit the earth.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

I can't say I grasp the difference. If you get a chance, please note the next time there is a topic to which Liberals and Leftists would disagree. Thanks.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The ad should have shown Sen. Boehner saying that not continuing the tax break for the rich would penalize small businesses that create jobs, then refute that with a credible expert telling the truth that jobs weren't created the past 10 years they had the tax break but that money was "invested" in Swiss bank accounts, etc.

Also, the speaker should mention the tax rate of the wealthy when jobs actually were created--from 70 to 90 percent--for the wealthiest citizens, which is when the middle class flourished.

The statement by Sen. Mitchell that the Republicans will block every bill presented to them until the end of the year should be in the ad, as well as mentioning the bills they're blocking, such as extending unemployment benefits and the difference in the cost for it and the $700 billion we'd have to borrow to continue tax cuts for the rich. Mentioning that more than 40 billionaires and multi-millionaires are opposed to the tax cuts being extended should, also, be effective.

Posted by: BettyW1 | December 2, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

wb, well this thread topic is one. I can't see any priority more important (to the benefit of Americans in general) than fixing the cause of America's growing income disparity, a tax structure that not only allows but encourages the looting of the American economy. Liberals see that problem as an issue, one of many, such as DADT, New START, DREAM, etc.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

If you are saying that Leftists recognize that the economic class is the fundamental problem in a capitalist society count me in. I do think there are other problems but wealth inequality, I agree, is at the root of most of our problems. In fact, I think that many of the "culture war" and "wedge" issues the GOP has been trotting out for years are just MacGuffins, as Alfred Hitchcock would say, subterfuge to foster their true political aims. As we know from experience, the GOP pols care little about religious and social issues or values; they just pretend to dupe the rubes. The Cons only care about one thing: money. Everything else is subordinate.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 2, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

"I see income disparity as a necessary evil, something that can not go away and that is never good."

Just so I understand...in your view it is "never good" that the income people earn is a function of the value they are delivering to the people who utilize whatever service they happen to provide? Do I have that right?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 2, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

"...a tax structure that not only allows but encourages the looting of the American economy."

What exactly does this mean, the "looting of the American economy"? Looting means the taking of goods belonging to someone else. But the "American economy" is an abstraction that doesn't "own" anything. So who exactly is being "looted" from, and how, precisely, does the tax structure encourage this?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 2, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

wbgonne:

"If you are saying that Leftists recognize that the economic class is the fundamental problem in a capitalist society count me in."

What do you mean by the term "the economic class"?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 2, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"Do I have that right?"

No, of course not. If that were true, income disparity wouldn't be the problem it is.

"Looting means the taking of goods belonging to someone else."

Yes that is what I am saying.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

"Yes that is what I am saying."

But my question was, and is, who exactly is getting "looted"? It is incoherent to say, as you did, that the "American economy" is being looted. The American economy is not an entity that does or can "own" things to be looted. So, again, who specifically is being "looted"?

"If that were true, income disparity wouldn't be the problem it is."

Sorry, but this doesn't seem to make sense.

I was originally focused on your claim that income disparity was "never good". This suggests to me that in your ideal world (admittedly never achievable, perhaps), then, no two people would ever have disparate incomes...all people would earn the same amount regardless of what they did, what service they provided, and to whom they provided it.

So, I'm not entirely sure how to interpret your above response. Are you now saying that income disparity would not be an "evil" if the amount that people earned was a function of the value of the service they provided to the people who utilize it? If so, then your objection would seem not to be income disparity itself, but rather with the mechanism that determines how much people get paid, which you believe is not a function of the value of the service provided to the people that utilize it.

Or am I misunderstanding something?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 2, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"If so, then your objection would seem not to be income disparity itself, but rather with the mechanism that determines how much people get paid, which you believe is not a function of the value of the service provided to the people that utilize it."

Bingo, that is what I meant. I don't think people are created equal (they certainly don't end up that way) nor that the relative value of their work product should be up to government workers to determine. That said, many parts of the value setting mechanism we have are so broken that it is bad for everyone (except the rich, obviously). Simply put, there is no free market. All those Gulfstreams lined up at Dulles in the days before a major congressional appropriation, they are paying to play.

Looting is a figure of speech, I don't think the parasites hanging around bleeding the cash cow that is our health industry, for example, are stealing the way looters do after a natural disaster. But if they disappeared by the thousands, no one's health care would be compromised, nor be less efficiently delivered, quite the opposite. As for some of the Wall Street parasitism, executive pay, "free" trade, I've either written so much about it already or someone else has done it so much better, I won't here.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

"Bingo, that is what I meant."

Okay. So your number 1 priority, then, is not (or ought not be) a fight against income disparity, but rather a fight to ensure that people get paid as a function of the value they provide to the people who utilize their services.

But here's a question...how do you know that they are not being paid as such? Value is a very subjective thing. The value of a given good or service to you might be very different to the value of the same good or service to me. So if I am only willing to pay X for that good or service, who are you to tell me that it is worth X+Y? Or, conversely, if I am willing to pay X+Y for it, who are you to tell me it is only worth X?

"That said, many parts of the value setting mechanism we have are so broken that it is bad for everyone (except the rich, obviously)."

Really? The very fact that businesses are now able to produce as much or more with fewer employees (as you noted the other day) suggests to me a broken mechanism that was benefitting a lot of ordinary workers who were getting paid to do extraneous work of little or no value.

"Looting is a figure of speech..."

Okay, but then what were you talking about? What exactly is the tax structure "eoncouraging" to which you object?

"I don't think the parasites hanging around bleeding the cash cow that is our health industry, for example, are stealing the way looters do after a natural disaster. But if they disappeared by the thousands, no one's health care would be compromised, nor be less efficiently delivered, quite the opposite."

I assume you are talking about people who work for insurance companies. If so, it would seem awfully hard for you to justify your claim. After all, up to now no one has been forced to buy insurance. Anyone who does so does so freely and willingly. If insurance companies were literally providing no service of any value (or worse, as you suggest, of negative value), why in the world would anyone voluntarily purchase their service?

BTW, do you own health insurance? If so, why are you paying for a service which you claim provides no value whatsoever to you?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 2, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"Premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance increased an average of 41 percent across states from 2003 to 2009, more than three times faster than median incomes, and Maryland's rise was among the highest, at 50 percent, according to a report to be released Thursday by the Commonwealth Fund."

So you said...

"Do you own health insurance? If so, why are you paying for a service which you claim provides no value whatsoever to you?"

You don't think there is a "free" market do you? Do you really believe the market is efficient? Because I could design a health care market with improvements all around, choice, access, outcomes and cost, all much better. Why won't America do a health care system that is worth the money we pay for it? Remember those Gulfstreams lined up at Dulles? The health care industrial complex is about manipulating the markets and extracting vast quantities of money (again, getting paid for no added value = looting as far as I'm concerned) for something people have to buy.

I'm fine with value being subjective, I know about that. I am not fine with people having a take it or leave it choice wherein industry and government collude on how the market works in such a way as to make a mockery of moral hazard, equal opportunity and competition.

It won't be the commies in China or anywhere else that destroy this country, it will be our own, home grown crony capitalists. It is happening all around you. It is the only thing both parties seem to agree on, pay to play.


Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Pelosi for President in 2012!

Posted by: sparkplug1 | December 3, 2010 3:18 AM | Report abuse

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