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Posted at 6:28 PM ET, 03/ 8/2011

Happy Hour Roundup

By Greg Sargent

* The budget skirmishing continues as Harry Reid prepares to force Senate Republicans to vote on what he calls the "Tea Party" spending plan favored by House GOPers, in the belief that some moderate Republicans will balk.

* Post fact checker Glenn Kessler says the Dems are doing themselves no favors by spinning that they're meeting the GOP halfway on spending cuts, and suggests that they would be better served if they simply staked out a consistent position in negotiations.

* Mitch McConnell continues to claim Republican Fed chairman Ben Bernanke lent aid and comfort to GOP budget cuts, when Bernanke also did claim that cuts would slow the economy and lead to job loss.

* While Democrats have been touting their success in collecting signatures for their recall drive against state senate Republicans, the Wisconsin GOP is conspicuously declining to detail the number of signatures they've gathered to recall Dems.

* Good catch by Eric Kleefeld, who notes that one Wisconsin Senate Republican is admitting that Dems are likely to collect the signatures necessary for a recall vote against him -- though he says he's still standing by Scott Walker's proposals.

* Wisconsin Senate Republicans quietly retract their proposal to fine fugitive Dems for not returning, another sign of the big shift in opinion against the GOP position.

* And three Wisconsin Republicans insisting that public workers make big sacrifices on behalf of the taxpayer have received hundreds of thousands in federal farm subsidies.

* Obama's clear support for Wisconsin public employees has won him big plaudits from national labor unions, another reminder of how bizarre criticism of Obama for not visiting Wisconsin has been.

* PolitiFact absolutely eviscerates the claim by the Walker administration, widely echoed on the right, that the cleanup after the Wisconsin protests will cost $7.5 million. Pants on fire!

* Good for Harry Reid for strongly condeming Pete King's show trial, and for making the key point that our conversation on domestic terrorism should be "a collective one, not one that divides us based on religion."

* Interesting: King says he considers attacks on him as a modern day McCarthy to be a "badge of honor."

* Joan McCarter explains the stakes in labor's next high-profile war: The House GOP drive to make it much harder for railway and aviation workers to organize.

* Chris Cillizza and Rachel Weiner on why Sharron Angle has a far better shot at running for Congress than for Senate -- and on why Dems really want her to opt for the latter.

* And millions of Americans resign themselves to months of unbearable, teeth-grinding suspense as Michele Bachmann says she won't announce whether she's running for president until early summer.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | March 8, 2011; 6:28 PM ET
Categories:  2012, Foreign policy and national security, Happy Hour Roundup, House GOPers, Labor, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, budget  
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Comments

Font patrol:

Bold face left on starting with this line:

"* And three Wisconsin Republicans insisting that public workers"

Posted by: jnc4p | March 8, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

"Our conversation on domestic terrorism should be "a collective one, not one that divides us."

This one's for you, Greg!

http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/155213/sand-idea

Posted by: sbj3 | March 8, 2011 6:46 PM | Report abuse

thx jnc fixed

Posted by: Greg Sargent | March 8, 2011 6:50 PM | Report abuse

lms,

If you stop by, you probably missed this response from this morning:

"That's rich (pun intended). What if I know the history and disagree with it? Does that still make me uneducated? And what about the "rich" influencing the electoral process to buy themselves an advantage over the other 95% of the population? Any historical context for that? Sheesh"

That was directed to DDAWD, not you (my dumb spell checker betrayed me). He's the one who scoffed that there is any history to the idea. It's a very mainstream idea in western thought. Sure, you can disagree with it and not be undereducated, but DD thinks it is an idea with no pedigree.

I would suggest to DDAWD and anyone else who finds outlandish the idea that there is something dubious about voting power unconnected to taxes to spend some time studying the history of political theory and philosophy. Maybe start with Aristotle, who called democracy a deviant form of government. Be sure to read the Federalist Papers. No. 10 is a good one. Look at what Publius had to say about majority faction. In fact, it's quite accurate to say that the drafters and proponents of the Constitution viewed as one of their main challenges to design a system of republican government that would prevent the pernicious effects of majority faction, i.e., a majority that would use its democratic power against the rights of a minority.

And when you read Federalist 10 you'll see that they were very focused on economic and property rights -- one class of citizens should not have the ability to put the tax burden on a minority, or impose such "wicked projects" as redistribution of property.

The modern liberal/progressive idea is that government should a tool for the masses to use against the propertied and wealthy and high income earners. That idea is antithetical to the principles and design of the Constitution itself. That's how "extreme" and "wild" the idea underlying Scott's argument is: it goes back at least to Aristotle and is embodied in our constitutional system, or at least it was until modern liberals effectively destroyed it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | March 8, 2011 7:01 PM | Report abuse

And to see what a "liberal rag" the Plain Dealer has become, read a few of the pieces from Kevin O'Brien @

http://topics.cleveland.com/tag/kevin%20o%27brien/index-2.html

Here's a brief example:

The Civil Rights Division of our Justice Department remains a reliably strong arm of the Democratic Party. And with a radical-left administration in place, that arm is getting all kinds of exercise.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | March 8, 2011 5:42 PM
=========================================

What? Is there no room at all for truth in a liberal rag?

Posted by: Brigade | March 8, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse

The Brits need that oil and they've gladly taken some knee pads from ole Muammar to make sure they keep getting it. They were there "purportedly" to act as liasons.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 8, 2011

-------

The United Kingdom does quite well out of the North Sea, though the output is declining. I don't think it's reasonable to claim the British were desperate to secure Libyan oil.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 8, 2011
=======================================

LOL. Ole RUK's stepped in it again. The truth gets him every time.

Posted by: Brigade | March 8, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

SBJ is once more talking out of his Arse.

The majority of Muslim Terrorist attacks are not on Americans; they are on fellow Muslims.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 8, 2011 5:36 PM
=======================================

Not the ones in this country.
Nothing but empty between Liam's ears.

Posted by: Brigade | March 8, 2011 7:11 PM | Report abuse

* And three Wisconsin Republicans insisting that public workers make big sacrifices on behalf of the taxpayer have received hundreds of thousands in federal farm subsidies.
......................

Michele Bachman's family also claimed very large federal farm subsidies.

The Republicans are turning out to be just a collection of two faced Welfare Queens!!!!!!!

Posted by: Liam-still | March 8, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Does it bother anybody that the Senate Majority Leader, the top Senate Democrat, is justifying government spending with a Cowboy Poetry Festival? That's why we need massive government spending and economic control? That's the best argument he can muster? We're in the best of hands. Heckuva job Harry

Thanks for reading! (if you choose;-))

http://www.politico.com/blogs/glennthrush/0311/Reid_Save_federal_funding_for_the_cowboy_poets.html

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 8, 2011 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I would suggest to DDAWD and anyone else who finds outlandish the idea that there is something dubious about voting power unconnected to taxes to spend some time studying the history of political theory and philosophy.

Posted by: quarterback1 | March 8, 2011 7:01 PM
=========================================

Good luck getting DDAWD to consider any rational points of view. Most of us gave up long ago.

Posted by: Brigade | March 8, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Just terrible to be funding Cowboy Poetry, since Republicans are determined to raise a bunch of unschooled illiterate cowboys.

Yipee Ki Yo,

You Don't Need To Know;

Just Go With The Flow,

And Suck Koch's Big Toe.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 8, 2011 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Just terrible to be funding Cowboy Poetry, since Republicans are determined to raise a bunch of unschooled illiterate cowboys.

Yipee Ki Yo,

You Don't Need To Know;

Just Go With The Flow,

And Become A Koch Ho!

Posted by: Liam-still | March 8, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

amplify.com, 8 March 2011:
--------------

'WH Admits OBAMA Double Counted Medicare'

Is it a cut, or is it funding? "Both."

ObamaCare’s Fuzzy Math.

Everyone knew that the Obama Administration was cooking the books,

But now the White House is on record admitting to the lie.

Health and Human Services Director Kathleen Sebelius testified before the House,

That ObamaCare counts $500 billion of Medicare as both savings and funding.

“There is an issue here on the budget because your own actuary has said you can’t double-count,” said Shimkus. “You can’t count — they’re attacking Medicare on the CR when their bill, your law, cut $500 billion from Medicare.”

He continued: “Then you’re also using the same $500 billion to what? Say your funding health care. Your own actuary says you can’t do both. […] What’s the $500 billion in cuts for? Preserving Medicare or funding the health-care law?’

Sebelius’ reply? “Both.”

This is the first ObamaCare lie that the White House has admitted to.

Just imagine how many more there will be…

When we finally “find out what is in it.”
=========================================

More of that DeVry math liberals love to use. Tells us how intelligent their fact-checking supporters are.

Posted by: Brigade | March 8, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

""it goes back at least to Aristotle and is embodied in our constitutional system, or at least it was until modern liberals effectively destroyed it.""

qb, would women's suffrage fall into that destroying the constitutional system somewhere? I'll concede that not every single liberal idea has worked out perfectly but I think voting rights are pretty well received by both parties and the majority of Americans. I'm sure there are Conservatives who wish this wasn't true but you have to deal with the voting blocks you've got not the ones you wish you had. I still contend that Scott's idea is an extreme one in the 21st Century, which is the one we live in. He conceded it was a little out there as well. I could read Aristotle and the Federalist Papers all day every day and still believe that voting should not be limited to property owners or taxpayers only.

Considering the broad redistribution of wealth to the upper income earners I don't think you guys need to be concerned that your money will be redistributed to the poor people who work minimum wage jobs and still try to raise a family and feel entitled to vote. The minority has plenty of champions in Congress and the Courts and money can influence a lot of votes, you guys are winning, so what's the problem?

Posted by: lmsinca | March 8, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

qb1, you really think wealth is the best way to apportion voting power? That Paris Hilton should have thousands of times more voting power than Sarah Palin pre 2008?

As for the Constitution, it is definitely meant to prevent the majority to impose its will on the minority in certain areas. You can't use the Constitution to argue against any law which affects a minority. You can't say the Constitution protects the majority of non-rapists from violating the rights of the minority of non-rapists.

Sorry, buddy, but you kind of have to stick to what the document actually says. There is no protection against a progressive income tax.

But I'll repeat this for the millionth time. Progressive taxation is good for the country. That is the first and last reason I'm in favor of it. We want to maintain certain standards of living for every member of our society. We want to maintain a good infrastructure and a good military. We want to spur certain behavioral results such as attendance in college, marriage, home ownership, small business start ups, etc. All of these things cost money. We can't keep running deficits, so we need to get the money through taxation. And we need to get this money through a taxation plan that has as little economic impact as possible. The best way to do that is through a progressive income tax. It's as simple as that.

Now you may disagree with my premises. You and I have vastly different value systems. But most Americans share my values. Which means accepting my premises. And if you accept the premises, the conclusions are inescapable. I know you think the Bush tax cuts have 0.00% impact on the deficit, but you'll have to forgive me if I'm not interested in deriving the laws of basic arithmetic with you.

Want what's best for the country? Then you want a progressive income tax. Yeah, it's that simple.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 8, 2011 7:42 PM | Report abuse

What happened to original intent, and " all men are created equal"? Those right wingers sure are very selective about when they want to rely on original intent, and when not to.

It is hard to get around that all being created equal bit, but they sure will keep on trying to do so.

They are nostalgic for the days when people of color were oppressed, and women were kept barefooted and pregnant.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 8, 2011 7:49 PM | Report abuse

" I know you think the Bush tax cuts have 0.00% impact on the deficit, but you'll have to forgive me if I'm not interested in deriving the laws of basic arithmetic with you."

Hi DDAWD! Hope all is well with you! Just for clarification purposes, I'm the one who thinks that the Bush tax cuts have "0.00% impact on the deficit." (and I still believe that!) I don't think QB has ever written that.

Have a great one! :-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 8, 2011 7:53 PM | Report abuse

I see 5 O'Clock Charlie is sputtering in, as usual.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | March 8, 2011 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Brigade, I know. DDAWD would be blocked if I could use Kevin's gizmo. What I said was really for lmsinca.

Posted by: quarterback1 | March 8, 2011 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Brigade, I know. DDAWD would be blocked if I could use Kevin's gizmo. What I said was really for lmsinca.

Posted by: quarterback1 | March 8, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

This is a long piece and I don't know how many of you are that interested but I think it's important. Yves Smith explains why this mortgage settlement is really just for optics and won't actually fix anything or even change anything that much. The foreclosures will come anyway, they need to for us to hit bottom, and the banks will survive but at what cost? It's pretty hard to discuss income redistribution away from the wealthy through the voting booth when the truth of the matter hits you upside the head. I don't think it really matter who we vote for anymore.

""The argument defenders of the deal make are twofold: this really is a good deal (hello?) and it’s as far as the Obama Administration is willing to push the banks, so we have to put a lot of lipstick on this pig and resign ourselves to political necessities. And the reason the Obama camp is trying to declare victory and go home is that it is afraid that any serious effort to deal with the mortgage mess will reveal the insolvency of the banks.

Team Obama has put on a full court press since March 2009 to present the banks as fundamentally sound, and to the extent they needed more dough, the stress tests and resulting capital raising took care of any remaining problems. Timothy Geithner was even doing victory laps last month in Europe. To reverse course now and expose the fact that writedowns on second mortgages held by the four biggest banks and plus the true cost of legal liabilities from the mortgage crisis (putbacks, servicer fraud, chain of title issues) would blow a big hole in the banks’ balance sheets and fatally undermine whatever credibility the officialdom still has.

But the fallacy of their thinking is that addressing and cleaning up this rot would lead to a financial crisis, therefore anything other than cosmetics and making life inconvenient for the banks around the margin is to be avoided at all costs. But these losses exist already. The fallacy lies in the authorities’ delusion that they are avoiding creating losses, when we are in fact talking about who should bear costs that already exist.""

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/03/mortgage-settlement-term-sheet-bailout-as-reward-for-institutionalized-fraud.html

Posted by: lmsinca | March 8, 2011 7:59 PM | Report abuse

They are nostalgic for the days when people of color were oppressed, and women were kept barefooted and pregnant.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 8, 2011 7:49 PM
====================================

Hahahahahaha. Can't think of a single point that doesn't call for the race card, can you?

Posted by: Brigade | March 8, 2011 8:03 PM | Report abuse

I see 5 O'Clock Charlie is sputtering in, as usual.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | March 8, 2011 7:54 PM |

That is the time when the Short Bus drops him off at home.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 8, 2011 8:06 PM | Report abuse

It's sad that some posters can't read or follow links...

Apparently most of that oil is closer to Norway and they make the $$$ not the Brits.

http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/9/17/135527/399

"The historic oil production and consumption data are taken from the 2006 BP statistical review. The historic import and export data (1965 - 2005) are calculated by subtracting the oil consumption from the oil production figures. This shows that the UK became a net exporter during 1980 and the data point to the UK becoming a net importer during 2006."

Anyone...and of course that excludes potty mouth Brigade can see that indeed the Brits are IMPORTING oil at an ever rapacious pace even though their demand remains relatively constant...it's because their output is dropping like a rock.

Look at the chart...oops charts...a mental midget like brigade first can't follow the link and secondly..charts..far beyond his meager comprehension.

There there Brigade I've returned your hatred and stupid post tit for tat...hope that makes your night since you obviously have nothing of SUBSTANCE to offer...or I stand corrected..perhaps you do and are saving it for some other blog because here all you do is come on at the end of the day and offer your childish and sophomoric insults. What a freaking bore you are Brigade! Too bad you always manage to contaminate the start of the evening roundup.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 8, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse

That's right it's "Debbie Downer" Tuesday. Anyone want to know what happened to the budgets, take a peek.

""WASHINGTON — The number of Americans who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth rose at the end of last year, preventing many people from selling their homes in an already weak housing market.

About 11.1 million households, or 23.1 percent of all mortgaged homes, were underwater in the October-December quarter, according to report released Tuesday by housing data firm CoreLogic. That's up from 22.5 percent, or 10.8 million households, in the July-September quarter.

The number of underwater mortgages had fallen in the previous three quarters. But that was mostly because more homes had fallen into foreclosure.

Underwater mortgages typically rise when home prices fall. Home prices in December hit their lowest point since the housing bust in 11 of 20 major U.S. metro areas. In a healthy housing market, about 5 percent of homeowners are underwater.

Roughly two-thirds of homeowners in Nevada with a mortgage had negative home equity, the worst in the country. Arizona, Florida, Michigan and California were next, with up to 50 percent of homeowners with mortgages in those states underwater.""

Posted by: lmsinca | March 8, 2011 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Good Evening.

Imsinca:
Yeah, there are a lot of places where homeowners are permanently toasted. Even the ones that put down a prudent 20%.

The banks are toast too. Even if they can find, or ever even had, proper documentation to foreclose all that does is pound down the value of their remaining loans.

Posted by: TominColorado | March 8, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse

There there Brigade I've returned your hatred and stupid post tit for tat...hope that makes your night since you obviously have nothing of SUBSTANCE to offer...or I stand corrected..perhaps you do and are saving it for some other blog because here all you do is come on at the end of the day and offer your childish and sophomoric insults. What a freaking bore you are Brigade! Too bad you always manage to contaminate the start of the evening roundup.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 8, 2011 8:13 PM
=======================================

No, not saving anything. The substance is that your idiotic comment was refuted by Fairlington in another thread, but since you're such a glutton for punishment, I'll be happy to reiterate. Read carefully, now---you might learn something.

There is nothing in your link that supports your wild theory that the Brits are kissing Libyan butt, or however you put it, because they are desperate for oil. That was your premise. No one---not me, not Fairlington---is disputing the facts; we are disputing the hogwash you conclude from the facts.

I contaminate the start of the evening thread? And yet you are on here all day every day and sometimes well into the night, contaminating each and every thread with your insults and moronic gibberish. It wouldn't be so bad if you ever really had anything relevant to say. You claim to be in business cleaning teeth and selling choppers, but it must not be much of a practice if all you ever do is troll blogs. Have you ever heard the expression, "get a life?"

Posted by: Brigade | March 8, 2011 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Tom, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think we're about 3 years into a lost decade personally. Hope I'm wrong.

Posted by: lmsinca | March 8, 2011 8:34 PM | Report abuse

"What happened to original intent, and " all men are created equal"? Those right wingers sure are very selective about when they want to rely on original intent, and when not to.

It is hard to get around that all being created equal bit, but they sure will keep on trying to do so."

You haven't made any real argument here, but the one you imply is simply begging the question. It also mixes up our founding documents. Harry Jaffa might find that okay, but it doesn't work here.

"They are nostalgic for the days when people of color were oppressed, and women were kept barefooted and pregnant."

I would like to see a return to a time when the basic principles on which the country was founded weren't considered protofascistic or plutocratic, sure.

Mainly I am nostalgic for the time before I'd heard of the babbling nincompoop Liam.

Posted by: quarterback1 | March 8, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, the country is in the best of hands.

While borrowing 0.4 of every dollar they spend our politicians are debating whether to cut about 0.003 or 0.03 of the budget. When they're not entertaining themselves by poking mooselimbs with sticks in a three-ring Hearings circus or something.

They better not audit the Federal Reserves... we really really don't want to know:
http://www.zerohedge.com/article/primary-dealers-flip-53-just-issued-7-year-bond-back-fed-under-two-weeks

Posted by: TominColorado | March 8, 2011 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Greg asked, "what else is happening?"

I wasn't positive he would lead tomorrow with the story about the White House's fuzzy math, so I thought I'd reference it here. After all the fuss about the CBO scoring of the healthcare bill, aren't any of you liberals even a little bit embarrassed that our President has been exposed by his own subordinate as a lying sack of sh*t right at the time when he has lost all credibility concerning Gitmo and essentially vindicated the Bush/Cheney approach to terrorism? Not even a little?
Poor saps.

Posted by: Brigade | March 8, 2011 8:43 PM | Report abuse

lms,

I didn't say anything about women's suffrage, did I? I'm not even making any particular arguments about any particular voting scheme or qualification scheme. I'm simply making the point that the principle(s) underlying Scott's position have a legitimate history, and indeed more of one than modern liberal principles do, in American and western civilization. The idea is that no one -- even the sainted poor -- should have political power over others such that they can treat them with injustice to their own advantage.

Liberals can mock the idea that this can ever be a legitimate consideration except when applied the other way around, but in that sense it is indeed liberalism that is radical and out of the American tradition. The founders thought one of their main jobs was to prevent democratic means from being used to redistribute property or impose unjust tax burdens. It's right in Federalist 10.

As for your claim of "redistribution to the rich," we've been over that before. Ain't no such thing. I'm filthy rich according to Obama. You probably are too. (Funny that I have to wonder how we'll pay for all the college, wedding, retirement, etc.) I can assure you that nobody at lower income levels is suffering because I pay too little to the government compared to them.

Posted by: quarterback1 | March 8, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Imsinca: "3 years into a lost decade"

Agreed, and I don't think we've found bottom yet.
The Federal Reserve has propped up the Treasury bond auctions in order to keep rates from rising, but I don't think they can do that forever without wrecking the dollar with inflation.

Right now, with interest rates at record lows, the interest payments on the Federal Debt consume a significant part of the Federal Budget. If interest rates return to norms that will balloon. But in periods of inflation interest rate exceed norms.

I think if we don't cut the budget hard and start paying down the debt, inflation / dollar devaluation is probably the only way out.

Posted by: TominColorado | March 8, 2011 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Hi all! Hope everybody's having a great evening.

I'm in favor or reducing the size and scope of government. Many commentors on here, and in Congress are not. I just don't see this helps. Either the Administration should argue for a more muscular government and command economy, or argue that the size and scope of government is too big and advocate real cuts. Lying about what they're doing doesn't help anything.

Thanks for reading (or not)!

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2011/03/obama_and_the_white_houses_hal.html

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 8, 2011 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Republicans playing House is not interesting.

The American housing crisis sure is, but no one seems to care.
So much of the unemployment rate has to do with that, the housing jobs lost are the meat of the 'structural' argument. So what are those folks [construction, real estate, etc] with no more that a high school education but desperately willing to work supposed to do, become entrepreneurs? Have the next big idea?



Posted by: shrink2 | March 8, 2011 9:04 PM | Report abuse

"You can't use the Constitution to argue against any law which affects a minority."

No kidding.

"You can't say the Constitution protects the majority of non-rapists from violating the rights of the minority of non-rapists."

Actually, you can. In that rapists do have some constitutional rights.

"Sorry, buddy, but you kind of have to stick to what the document actually says."

Indeed, and what the document "says" establishes a system of government with limited powers, checks and balances, and other features designed to prevent the effects of majority faction.

"There is no protection against a progressive income tax."

Never said there was. You really have trouble sticking to a point.

"Now you may disagree with my premises. You and I have vastly different value systems. But most Americans share my values. Which means accepting my premises. And if you accept the premises, the conclusions are inescapable."

To the extent this is even coherent, every part of it is wrong except that we have vastly different value systems. You aren't even aware of most of your own premises, and most Americans for sure don't share your values.

Posted by: quarterback1 | March 8, 2011 9:06 PM | Report abuse

I get a kick out of how the Fed excludes "volitile food and energy prices" from the monthy inflation numbers.

Heck, on a weekday about the only things we consume are Food and Energy (well, also soap, toothpaste, deo and beer, but Beer = Food)

Posted by: TominColorado | March 8, 2011 9:08 PM | Report abuse

"I think if we don't cut the budget hard and start paying down the debt, inflation / dollar devaluation is probably the only way out."

Well, now, Tom, that just won't do. The Democrats say "we aren't broke" and need to keep right on spending and spending even more.

Posted by: quarterback1 | March 8, 2011 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Tom, if people thought food and energy prices mattered, they might lose confidence. They might not believe that prosperity is inevitable.

Tom, to tell you the truth, food and energy prices only matter to poor people.

The Fed is not in the welfare business.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 8, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Shrink:

Wish we had an easy solution to an overbuilt housing market and unemployment of the builders but I haven't heard of an easy one.

Even when strong econ growth returns I don't think it will get prices in NV, FL, AZ, Central CA back to par.

We have quite a few former carpenters working on our drilling rigs in ND, Wyo and S.Texas. Local booms in those areas. $22/hr starting pay but not for the aged or lazy. 14/14 rotating shifts, outdoors in winter etc. Realtors and brokers not found there.

Posted by: TominColorado | March 8, 2011 9:24 PM | Report abuse

qb

I understand the history, I just don't agree that protecting the wealthy minority from the "sainted" poor justifies disenfranchisement. I probably should have explained that the reason I mentioned women's suffrage is because it took a constitutional amendment to rectify that shortcoming in the Constitution and over 100 years. I respect our Constitution and the Founding Fathers but that was over two centuries ago and the ruling class still exists regardless of who gets the vote. Scott and I were talking about voting rights afterall.

Also, I'm not talking about rich like you and I (you've probably got me beat anyway) I'm talking about the Fortune 400 rich. They now own more wealth than the bottom 60% (it went up from 50% in 2009) of the population. I know that's just hunky dory with you, but it sort of bothers me.

Posted by: lmsinca | March 8, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Tom, you get it.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 8, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

lms,

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-08/bofa-segregates-almost-half-its-mortgages-into-bad-bank-under-laughlin.html

Posted by: tao9 | March 8, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

I think we're fixing to find out that prosperity isn't inevitable.

The Fed is in the welfare business... for the major banks and brokerages.
0.25% rate at the Fed window, buy Bonds etc yielding 2-4% on 10-20x leverage, it is a license to print. But still doesn't clear all the underwater housing loans on the books at the banks.

I think I read somewhere that in Q4 the prop-trading desks and Goldmans and JPM never closed a down day. Not one.

Posted by: TominColorado | March 8, 2011 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Tom

My daughter's in Golden, at CSM, Core Master's student. Research this summer along the Green River in Utah, a real pretty outcrop.

Posted by: lmsinca | March 8, 2011 9:37 PM | Report abuse

"I think I read somewhere that in Q4 the prop-trading desks and Goldmans and JPM never closed a down day."

Yep. You get it.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 8, 2011 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Brigade-
Serious question: How has the Bush/Cheney approach to terrorism been vindicated?

Posted by: LeftCoast5 | March 8, 2011 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Brigade-
Serious question: How has the Bush/Cheney approach to terrorism been vindicated?

Posted by: LeftCoast5 | March 8, 2011 9:41 PM | Report abuse

TrollMcWingnut: I'm in favor or reducing the size and scope of government.
Then you are opposed to all the Republican attempts to overrule local governments - Federal overruling states and now governors trying to overrule local?

Posted by: LeftCoast5 | March 8, 2011 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Tao

This sort of stuck out though.

""Laughlin said regulators have reviewed the bank’s foreclosure processes and “no findings came out of those exams that basically said the foreclosure process was fundamentally flawed.”"

According to Yves Smith they couldn't have done a remotely thorough exam in the amount of time they say they did. Just another layer to the BS.

We'll see if BofA survives. I always said the banks were hanging onto their cash for a reason, LOL.

Posted by: lmsinca | March 8, 2011 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Imsinca:

Congratulations, sounds like you have raised a fine daughter.

CSM is one of the best. I'm not a Geo (I'm M.E.) but am familiar with that part of Utah, great place to spend a summer doing field work. When does she graduate?

Posted by: TominColorado | March 8, 2011 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Tom

2012. First degree Chem, second Geo, now Master's Geo. She's also working for two months in Midland. She got her Grandpa's brains. :) She wanted to work in water, but oil made her an offer she couldn't refuse and there wasn't any research money in water, the government's broke apparently. We're making the road trip in two weeks to get the lay of the land.

Posted by: lmsinca | March 8, 2011 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Imsinca:
BSCh + MSGeo... yeah the O&G Co's will "money-whip" to get her, for sure!
She has a great career ahead of her.

I have 30 yrs as drilling engr/supt/mgr US and N.Europe and wouldn't trade it for anything else.
Great adventures, great people.

Posted by: TominColorado | March 8, 2011 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Brigade-
Serious question: How has the Bush/Cheney approach to terrorism been vindicated?

Posted by: LeftCoast5 | March 8, 2011 9:41 PM
=========================================

Here's a good place to start. If this doesn't impress you, there's probably no point in elaborating further.

-------

"Two years ago, Obama vowed in an executive order to close the infamous military detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Today, in another executive order, the U.S. president created a formal system allowing the indefinite detention of Guantanamo prisoners. His administration also announced that it will start new military commission trials for detainees of the prison."---WAPO March 8,2011

"While the order is new, most of the ideas it contains are not. This is the third time such a board has been created for nearly the same purpose. Two similar processes to review detainee cases were in place during the Bush administration. Like its predecessors, the Obama administration's review process will operate outside the courts and will be subject to no independent review. Also like the Bush White House, the Obama administration alone will choose all members of the review board and appoint a "personal representative" to advocate on behalf of the detainees."---propublica.org, March 8, 2011

Posted by: Brigade | March 8, 2011 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Tom:

""I get a kick out of how the Fed excludes "volitile food and energy prices" from the monthy inflation numbers.""

It doesn't. The monthly numbers include two figures, CPI and CPI "ex food and energy". You and anyone else who thinks the "ex food and energy" number is meaningless can ignore it and simply use the generic CPI number. The inclusion of the ex food and energy number provides more, not less, information.

Posted by: ScottC3 | March 8, 2011 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Scott: yeah, I know the "Headline" number includes the whole basket... but they make policy on the ex-F&E number and are generally saying there's "no inflation".
Tell that to the family on a tight budget.

Posted by: TominColorado | March 8, 2011 10:32 PM | Report abuse

"Hanoi's foreign exchange black market is on alert, as authorities look to fight inflation and a weak currency. Some of the city's gold shops, which also double as money changers, said they had stopped dealing dollars fearing a crackdown. The government wants to limit black market currency trading to bring the value of the dong closer to official exchange rates."

Official exchange rates. So old school. Just make the black market the pay-to-play market, tax it as desired and pretend to celebrate the free market: all will be well.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 8, 2011 10:33 PM | Report abuse

"I always said the banks were hanging onto their cash for a reason."

No joke. There is no distinction between America banking and American government, as there was, it went away this time.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 8, 2011 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Greg and his boss, George Soros, the Nazi collaborator, are still hoping and praying for the next Holocaust. Their ulitmate wish did not come through on the first one.

Posted by: mges123 | March 8, 2011 10:46 PM | Report abuse

The conservatives on here post a lot of sick stuff but this suggestion that the vote is some sort of privilege that should be restricted to a few, presumably of the conservatives' choosing, is really over the line.

You guys are disgusting.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 8, 2011 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Tom:

""but they make policy on the ex-F&E number and are generally saying there's "no inflation". ""

True enough, but there are long-standing reasons for this and has always been the case. It's not as if they have, since 2008, decided to exclude food and energy so that they can pretend there is no inflation.

And, while inflation is bad for people on tight budgets, it is also good for people in a lot of debt. Often the same people.

Posted by: ScottC3 | March 8, 2011 10:50 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca:

Remember, Aristotle's understanding of "Democracy", (Rule by Demes, by the way, not rule by the Demos, the people) was that the particularly wealthy, (that is people who were worth perhaps 400 times as much as the least wealthy citizen of Athens) tied up as many citizens in permanent debt, while all important government functions like police, fire, education, public maintenance, were done by slaves, and most of the people living in Athens weren't citizens, just businessmen and mechanics.

Sort of a Republican ideal, really.

Posted by: ceflynline | March 8, 2011 10:52 PM | Report abuse

""No joke. There is no distinction between America banking and American government, as there was, it went away this time.""

Yep, that's why I said earlier it doesn't really matter who we vote for anymore. Demonstrators shut down a BofA yesterday in DC and no one noticed.

Posted by: lmsinca | March 8, 2011 10:56 PM | Report abuse

""Sort of a Republican ideal, really.""

Yeah, it sounds vaguely familiar doesn't it?

Posted by: lmsinca | March 8, 2011 11:01 PM | Report abuse

"I get a kick out of how the Fed excludes "volitile food and energy prices" from the monthy inflation numbers. Heck, on a weekday about the only things we consume are Food and Energy (well, also soap, toothpaste, deo and beer, but Beer = Food) Posted by: TominColorado"

Quite obviously including volatiles in a long term number makes the long term number meaningless. So trying to decide long term inflation by including gas prices at the pump gets hard because, depending which day you decide to use to get your gas price, and just what time of that day you do pick, gas prices can be rocketting up or dropping like a rock.

So for long term predictive data you have to leave out gas.

Still, even the volatiles left out inflation umbers do reflect changes in those volatiles, just long term trends and not short term spikes and sags.

Posted by: ceflynline | March 8, 2011 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Scott:

Debt and inflation... yeah, I have enough cash in brokerage acct to pay off the house but just re-fi'd a year ago at 3 3/8% on 15yr fixed.

On one hand, paying it off is similar to buying a tax-free bond yeilding 3 3/8%

On the other hand, 3 3/8% is a cheap rate to pay for investable cash.

Posted by: TominColorado | March 8, 2011 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Have a good night all, I'm out!

It's the housing market, stupid. :)

Posted by: lmsinca | March 8, 2011 11:09 PM | Report abuse

"You guys are disgusting."

Hi cao! Hope you're having a great morning!

Can you elaborate on the above for us? A lot of things are "disgusting." Flesh it out a little for us, won't you?

Thanks, I'm really looking forward to your comments! ;-). Have a fantastic day!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 8, 2011 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Good night Imsinca... thanks for the dialog

Posted by: TominColorado | March 8, 2011 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Earlier I heard some guy talking on NPR about every country getting it other than America on global warming. He was talking about the Euros. China, India, America, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, the oil states...no one gets it.


Posted by: shrink2 | March 8, 2011 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Save it, Troll. I don't count barbarians as friends.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 8, 2011 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Brigade: Here's a good place to start. If this doesn't impress you, there's probably no point in elaborating further.

If Obama does it, that's vindication?

Posted by: LeftCoast5 | March 8, 2011 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Go back far enough and one can use historical precedent to justify sort of atrocity. Why stop at restricting the vote to taxpayers? Restrict it to the wealthiest landowners, restrict it to men. And why stop with voting rights? For the nation's first 90 years, and all of its colonial period, slavery was legal. Just imagine the shareholder value that could be realized by eliminating those pesky wages. And the money saved by not educating people who were ordained by birth to short lives of labor not requiring literacy.

So it shouldn't be so surprising that the morally subhuman Bobbsey twins trot out suggestions that the anathema of redistributive taxation justifies a return to oligarchy. Can slavery and the reversal of suffrage be far behind? So very preferable to allowing people to vote themselves government benefit "at someone else's expense."

I mean, that's just "fundamentally wrong."

Posted by: caothien9 | March 8, 2011 11:37 PM | Report abuse

If Obama does it, that's vindication?

==

He didn't answer the question at all. Gitmo has almost nothing tondo with terrorism. Most of the prisoners there were just rounded up at random for bounty.

Bush's terrorism policy gave us attacks on basic liberties and two wars, and the enduring enmity of the Muslim world.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 8, 2011 11:42 PM | Report abuse

"Save it, Troll. I don't count barbarians as friends."

Hi cao! Rest assured, I'm under no illusion that we're friends. And I am sorry and saddened that our idealogical differences has made friendship apparently impossible. With that understood, help me understand what you mean when you write "You guys are disgusting." I'm assuming, perhaps wrongly, that I'm included in the "you guys." Disgusting how? Are there things more disgusting than me/us? If so, what are they? If not, could you name the disgusting thing that is just slightly above us? It's important for me to know just how disgusting you think we are.

Thanks in advance! And I hope your day goes well! ;-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 8, 2011 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Hi cao! Rest assured, I'm under no illusion that we're friends.

==

Good to know. Just as I'm under no illusions that this perky routine of yours is anything other than passive-aggressive phoniness.

At one point I regarded you as a cut above the real gutter-huggers here, but that ended with your "ideals are for chumps" thing. I can't stop you from addressing me on here but as far as I'm concerned you can take your emoticons and your phony well-wishes and stick them. Just so we're clear.

I am literally ashamed to be a citizen of the same country as you guys. If not the same species.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 9, 2011 12:50 AM | Report abuse

"At one point I regarded you as a cut above the real gutter-huggers here, but that ended with your "ideals are for chumps" thing."

Thanks for the response cao! Fascinating as usual! You've referred to a sentence I wrote in response to some questions from shrink. Specifically: "ideals are for chimps". What do you think I meant by that sentence?

Thanks in advance!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 9, 2011 1:07 AM | Report abuse

That is the time when the Short Bus drops him off at home.

==

Yeah, brigade says he's a COBOL programmer, may I be forgiven the juxtaposition of those two words. Earlier he wrote about coding in "machine language," which sets off my BS alarm in a big way.

Q: what sort of person can't get on a computer during the working day?

A: the sort who goes to work in bib overalls, or whose monitor only shows a list of hamburger and fries combinations.

No wonder he's so enraged, after a long day of repeating "would you like fries with that?"

Posted by: caothien9 | March 9, 2011 3:33 AM | Report abuse

For the record, I never post from my "work computer" as that would be tantamount to stealing from my employer. If you are going to turn that into a "Short Bus" comment, so be it. As to anyone living abroad who is literally ashamed to be a citizen of the same country as me, I suggest that you stop into the closest U.S. Embassy office immediately and formally renounce said citizenship, you Commie chickenshït.

Posted by: clawrence12 | March 9, 2011 4:35 AM | Report abuse

Careful with the blood pressure, Jake.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 9, 2011 5:24 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't sound like you've ever worked in an office, Jake, at least not since the days of blotters and quill pens. Any company so tyrannical as to object to browser breaks by employees who're getting their work done went out of business a long time ago.

It's called "fair use," Jake, not "stealing."

As for renunciation, I'd rather all you anti-redistribution types took a road trip in a sealed garage.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 9, 2011 5:33 AM | Report abuse

Pearls from cao:

"Q: what sort of person can't get on a computer during the working day?"

I wouldn't know. I never said I couldn't get on a computer during the working day; in fact, that's how I make my living. I think you meant to say, "get on the internet."
-------

"Doesn't sound like you've ever worked in an office, Jake, at least not since the days of blotters and quill pens. Any company so tyrannical as to object to browser breaks by employees who're getting their work done went out of business a long time ago."

I can't speak for clawrence, but as I've said, I check in from time to time and read the comments; I just don't post here---or anywhere else---during the day. It's not part of my job description. And, unlike some people I could mentioned, I've never devolved to the point of trying to get co-workers fired or transferred because they weren't quite PC enough for me; and I've yet to be replaced by some bit-shuffler from India.

Oh, and as regards the Bush/Cheney vindication thing: obviously no one is vindicated if you believe the whole approach was wrong. But as with the invasion of Iraq, Congressional Democrats and their supporters have now lost any moral high ground they may think they once occupied. Gitmo open. Indefinite detentions. No civilian review. White House makes the rule. Military tribunals. Drones bombing Pakistan. Can't leave Afghanistan, or even Iraq, where the invasion was authorized by a majority of Dems.

All the best.

Posted by: Brigade | March 9, 2011 6:50 AM | Report abuse

I've never devolved to the point of trying to get co-workers fired or transferred because they weren't quite PC enough for me

==

Neither have I. But I just about popped shirt buttons when some guy with politics and insults exactly like yours refused to stop sending me harassing emails between his work account and mine, and even included my obsequiouly polite request in his luridly impolite refusal, and HR failed to see the humor.

Funny about "you people" and "PC." I just love it. No longer being able to call a black man a ni66er and still be regarded as a gentleman was one of the worst culture war defeats "you people" ever endured. But it was far from the last, and having gay weddings in military chapels is going to be sweeeeeet.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 9, 2011 7:01 AM | Report abuse

"Actually, you can. In that rapists do have some constitutional rights."

And so do the wealthiest Americans. But again, there's no Constitutional protection against a progressive income tax. Yeah, the Constitution will protect the minority IN SOME AREAS. Maybe you should wait until FOX starts running Red Eye before you try and wrap your mind around this stuff. Constitution is pretty clear as to what rights are protected. You may feel high taxes are wrong, but only in your mind is it Unconstitutional.

"To the extent this is even coherent, every part of it is wrong except that we have vastly different value systems. You aren't even aware of most of your own premises, and most Americans for sure don't share your values."

I posted what those values are. Every one of them polls well. Want to know what doesn't? The need to protect the richest Americans from a progressive income tax. You probably are unaware of the polling that took place during the Bush tax cut debates last year since they don't confirm your position, but raising taxes on the upper class was quite popular.

So I don't know which values of mine people disagree with or which of yours people agree with. Any kind of evidence shows that I'm more in line with mainstream America. Although you probably think the opposite since Bill O'Reilly has a habit of switching numbers in poll results.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 9, 2011 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and as regards the Bush/Cheney vindication thing: obviously no one is vindicated if you believe the whole approach was wrong. But as with the invasion of Iraq, Congressional Democrats and their supporters have now lost any moral high ground they may think they once occupied. Gitmo open. Indefinite detentions. No civilian review. White House makes the rule. Military tribunals. Drones bombing Pakistan. Can't leave Afghanistan, or even Iraq, where the invasion was authorized by a majority of Dems.

==

Obviously you're happy to lay the perseverance of Bush policies at the feet of Democrats, and now that they've been given Democratic sanction you're happy to excoriate them.

Yet back when they were Bush policies you were no doubt doing that distended-bladder aboriginal taunting dance and hooting at the ineffectaulity of attempts to consider more carefully before going to war.

I dont even mind agreeing with you on this score, Democrats are spineless and whipped to go along with these policiies, Obama has betrayed his supporters and the 21st century chapter of American history is one long diary of shame. But it was your idol Bush who squandered American honor to feel like bigshot, and Democrats who allowed themselves to be bullied into going along.

There is nothing in these two wars for anyone to be proud of.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 9, 2011 7:28 AM | Report abuse

But again, there's no Constitutional protection against a progressive income tax.

==

Nor is there any such protection against the practice that the Conservative People call redistribution. It's an essential function of responsible government.

Some people are born unable to earn tneir own money. Others suffer accidents or diseases that leave them dependent on others. Under the libertarian cookie jar notion of taxation espoused by the crude conservative posters on this blog, those people should be left to die, since "taking" money from someone else to support them is "fundamentally wrong."

I wonder how "let the lame die in the street" polls?

Posted by: caothien9 | March 9, 2011 7:38 AM | Report abuse

We'll be spending more on healthcare no matter what, too bad it doesn't help.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12674976

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8201711.stm

But maybe we'll be too broke to fight the Taliban. They can have the world's opium patch. I feel really bad for the women and girls, but sooner or later, we're leaving and we can't take everyone with us.

"There has been a large increase in the number of civilians killed in the war in Afghanistan for the second year in a row, according to a UN report. More than 2,700 civilians were killed in 2010 - up 15% on the year before."

Still not even close to the civilian toll in the Mexican drug gang battles.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 9, 2011 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Funny, funny stuff.

"And so do the wealthiest Americans. But again, there's no Constitutional protection against a progressive income tax."

You continue to beat a straw man.

"Yeah, the Constitution will protect the minority IN SOME AREAS. Maybe you should wait until FOX starts running Red Eye before you try and wrap your mind around this stuff."

Hilarious.

"Constitution is pretty clear as to what rights are protected."

So one might think. So I might think. But if you think so then you've got a lot of difficult explaining to do, like where it is "clear" that abortion and homosexual marriage are protected rights.

"You may feel high taxes are wrong, but only in your mind is it Unconstitutional."

Only in your mind have I said that. What I said is that the Constitution establishes a system of government that was designed to (try to) prevent the effects of majority faction, one of the chief instances of which was the masses using government (voting power) to redistribute property, pile taxes on the few, etc.

Are you capable of understanding the difference between a constitutional right to X and structural features of the constitutional system of government designed to prevent deprivation of X? Do you have any idea what "unconstitutional" even means? Or are you really this dense?

"I posted what those values are. Every one of them polls well."

No, you claim to hold values that equate to "Mom and apple pie," but your true values are quite different from the benign ones from which you say your extremist positions and demands flow. What you exhibit in virtually all your comments amounts to little more than anger, hatred, and resentment. You believe in envy, blame, scapegoating, all those wonderful Michael Moore values that most definitely are not shared by most Americans.

Posted by: quarterback1 | March 9, 2011 8:10 AM | Report abuse

No, you'll have to explain it to me. There are a few things which can never be done, but everything else is left up to a 50% vote. Everyone but you and Sean Hannity are waaaaay to dumb to figure out how you are deriving protection against a progressive income tax in the Constitution.

"What you exhibit in virtually all your comments amounts to little more than anger, hatred, and resentment. "

My anger, hatred, and resentment are directed towards people who have screwed up value systems, like yourself. Those who put being Conservative above being American.

How do you think that would poll?

Posted by: DDAWD | March 9, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I did explain it to you about five times. You apparently can't "wrap your mind around" the Constitution and why its system of government was set up as it was. I can only suggest for the 1000th time that you might start with reading the Federalist Papers.

"There are a few things which can never be done, but everything else is left up to a 50% vote."

No, actually that's completely untrue. There's actually nothing in the Constitution that puts anything up for 50% vote, unless you put the electoral college in that category. Only in your cartoon constitution do we live in a democracy.

"Everyone but you and Sean Hannity are waaaaay to dumb to figure out how you are deriving protection against a progressive income tax in the Constitution."

You and that straw man should get a room.

Posted by: quarterback1 | March 9, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Now there's a good one. A guy who wants the vote to be a privilege of the wealthy calling someone else "extremist."

Hey, QB, perform this little exercise. How much of America is to your left (all) and how much to your right (none)? How exactly are you anything other than "extremist" yourself?

Funny, OK not really, how you never quite get past the insults and into the, you know, the rebuttal.

I bet you're a simply splendid lawyer.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 9, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse

"No, actually that's completely untrue. There's actually nothing in the Constitution that puts anything up for 50% vote, unless you put the electoral college in that category. Only in your cartoon constitution do we live in a democracy."

Um, ok. Amendments aren't a 50% vote. What else?

Posted by: DDAWD | March 9, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

All, Morning Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/03/the_morning_plum_202.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | March 9, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

QB- The Constitution put in place structural protections against the majority oppressing the minority, but it was far from a guarantee against such acts. I trust that if the minority goes too far in cutting itself a piece of the wealth that the structural protections will kick in or that the actions will back fire economically.

What's baffling to me is that we are talking about this at a time when the majority possesses as little wealth as they ever have in comparison to the majority. There's no evidence that wealth is actually being distributed anywhere but upwards. It makes no sense to me.

As for basing voting rights on federal income tax, it seems a rather arbitrary factor and is obviously open to manipulation. The people that currently do pay income tax have a big say in the current salary of those who don't so they could just not give people raises and effectively end their right to vote.

I become baffled again at the fact that someone can look at the following fact: "That most of the people in our country, the richest in the world, make so little money that they don't even pay federal incomes taxes" and the thing they take away is the need to protect the wealthy minority from the poor.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 9, 2011 8:42 AM | Report abuse

"Um, ok. Amendments aren't a 50% vote. What else?"

You're the one who made the claim. So show everyone where the Constitution puts everything except protected rights up for 50% vote.

Posted by: quarterback1 | March 9, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

ashot,

"The Constitution put in place structural protections against the majority oppressing the minority, but it was far from a guarantee against such acts."

I haven't said any more than that. Folks like DD think it's outlandish even though it is the very basis of the constitutional system.

"I trust that if the minority goes too far in cutting itself a piece of the wealth that the structural protections will kick in or that the actions will back fire economically."

You mean majority? I don't share that trust. The federal government's powers and interference with society and economy have been expanded too far, too many structural restraints ignored by Congress and the courts. The dynamics of modern society (mass politics, technology, advertising, demogogic appeals and propaganda 24/7) heighten the effects. Nor do I think it is comforting to rely on the economic consequences of democratic abuse as a corrective.

"As for basing voting rights on federal income tax, it seems a rather arbitrary factor and is obviously open to manipulation."

I haven't really argued for or against that particular idea. I've only defended the legitimacy of the principles underlying it.

"I become baffled again at the fact that someone can look at the following fact: "That most of the people in our country, the richest in the world, make so little money that they don't even pay federal incomes taxes" and the thing they take away is the need to protect the wealthy minority from the poor."

Of course, you are putting a certain characterization on the situation. You could alternatively say, we have a tax system that is so steeply progressive and concentrated on the highest incomes that they pay almost all the taxes, and the bottom half gets a free ride.

Remember that we're talking about politics and government, and simply the question of whether I, if I can persuade 50% of people to join me, can vote for you to pay all the taxes, or for your money to be transferred to us. If you don't think that "the wealthy" merit "protection," do you think they deserve the protection of laws against theft, burglary, etc? If there are principles of justice underlying those restrictions, do they in any way translate to politics and democratic voting power? Or are there no limits to how government can be used, consistently with "justice," to redistribute money, property, etc.

The founders certainly thought there were limits as part of natural law and rights. In fact, it was one of their basic assumptions.

Posted by: quarterback1 | March 9, 2011 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Of course, you are putting a certain characterization on the situation. You could alternatively say, we have a tax system that is so steeply progressive and concentrated on the highest incomes that they pay almost all the taxes, and the bottom half gets a free ride.

==

At this point in American history that would not be even remotely unfair.

Posted by: caothien9 | March 9, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

QB- Let me start by saying much of what I was saying wasn't meant to as a rebuttal to what you have said. It was merely expressing my viewpoints some of which are pretty similar to yours in many respects.

I recognize you aren't advocating for voting rights to be based on federal income tax. I also don't really disagee with much of what you have said in discussing that idea.

I never said the wealthy don't merit protection, I just don't know how you can look at the current economic situation and think their interests aren't being protected. Again, there is a fundamental difference in how we view the problem, but let's discuss it on your terms.

Yes, the wealthy pay a giant percentage of the income tax burden, it's not something anyone can argue. But their burden has only gone up in relation to the burden of othe tax payers despite the fact that Bush cut their taxes. So what's your solution? If you cut their taxes again, why wouldn't their burden increase again? How will cutting government spending change their tax burden?

As long as the wealthy have the overwhelming majority of the wealth, they are going to pay the overwhelming majority of the taxes. If you agree with this, then the only solution to what you see as the problem, the tax burden on the wealthy, is for the wealth disparity to shrink. If we can agree on that point at least we are having the same conversation and we can then debate the merits of various solutions and the role of the government in those solutions. I do think you would be surprised at my opinion on the solutions so to speak.

To be contentious briefly, if the tax system is "steeply progressive" how are the wealthy managing to gain a greater and greater share of the wealth and income? They obviously see the benefits of increased income and wealth to outweigh the tax burden they end up paying.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 9, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

ashot, appreciate Tue thoughtful response. Heading for the office and will rely later if I can. I don't think we are likely separated too far in principles here.

Posted by: quarterback1 | March 9, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

ashot, appreciate Tue thoughtful response. Heading for the office and will rely later if I can. I don't think we are likely separated too far in principles here.

Posted by: quarterback1 | March 9, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

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