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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 12/ 2/2010

Under the rug

By Tom Toles

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***
It's the hap-happiest time of the year!

Okay, this is my SAD talking. The full forces of darkness are being brought to bear now. It is December, the month honored to have the shortest, darkest, most useless little days of the year in it. Pretty nearly all of them. A long, unbroken string of them. About the only affection I have for December is that it is not November, which is a month of watching the slow-motion water balloon of black paint heading for my face. It is raining out as I write this. Windy, sunless, with raw air cascading in, bringing Republicans like neighbors' leaves.Thomas Friedman has chimed in with another of his dire tomes about how the U.S. is losing it, by not recognizing the actual issues we face and dealing with them like normal, awake people might. On a day like today, it sure seems about right.

There, I got that out of my system, and feel better already. You, too? Of course not. That's why sharing bad moods is a really unfair thing to do, and I apologize.

Shall we shift our thoughts to better days? Yes, let's! The calendar brings its run of darkness, but it yields. The small dark dreams of incapacitating the government as the means Americans have to work together on common problems will give way eventually to something brighter and smarter. Right? --Tom Toles
***
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By Tom Toles  | December 2, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Economy and jobs  
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Comments

~~~ insightinc~~~
Never said that....suggest you learn how to read.
Might prove to actually be insightful...

Posted by: bertzel | December 2, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

bertzel, regarding your comment that all the unemployed have to pay is income tax. Do not unemployed pay property tax, gas tax, tax on utilities, etc too? It is amazing to me that people are so callous to point fingers at those who lost their jobs and are suffering the most in this economy while continuing to defend tax cuts for the ubber-wealthy!! Our world has turned up-side-down when billionaires are defended and people who lost their jobs, houses, health insurance, etc. through no fault of their own are PICKED ON. Kick the weak. That's what playground bullies do to garner favor with the strong. Disgusting.

Posted by: insightinc | December 2, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

~~~First of all, we Americans are not "over-taxed," except in our own minds~~~

Perhaps YOU are not over taxed where you live....I am not just talking wage taxes. We've got sales tax, gas tax, property tax, sin tax,blah, blah, blah....never ending and those on unemployment do have to pay tax on their comp.
Government WASTES a lot of tax dollars. Don't care for THAT either!

Posted by: bertzel | December 2, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

One wonders what would happen if Democrats switched strategy and promoted continued tax cuts for the wealthy, even claimed it was their idea.

My Reply...
Actually; it makes no difference if the tax cuts are extended or not.
We need more money in the economic system not less money in the economic system.
Economics is a dynamic system and has to grow and shrink in accordance with the demand for goods and services.
It is the function of the government to regulate the economic system in accordance with the best possible outcome.
To start with; Economics is a dream that makes reality come true.
Economics is not a physical entity; it is non-physical social system that makes possible the exchange of goods and services.
Civilization depends on the system of economics to make possible functional societies.
Economics is not restricted by rules of physical entities like gold or silver.
Economics is however a non-physical system that makes possible the physical availability of physical entities such as products and the performance of service that change reality.
Government is traditionally the social system that is responsible for the management of economics for the benefit of the society.
Economics is not a religion; it is a human device that is devised to make possible a functional society.
At this present time and space, our economics is dying of "Lack of Funds" disease.
Our government has the authority to create "New Funds" to provide the necessary funds to provide a functional, just and equitable economic environment.
At present we are cutting off the branch that we are sitting on when we need to be growing more branches.
No government is not an option if we want to survive in a survival of the fittest world.
Our foolish concept of economics as a static system and not a dynamic system is destroying the quality of the society and our ability to defend ourselves.
Self-destruct is not a good choice for anyone.
The Government can establish a "super fund" just like they did after World War Two to put our people to work rebuilding our nation.
Part of the problem with our economy is that we were working with old pre-world war tools after the war while other nations were retooled with new and advanced equipment.
Sad but true; it is economic savvy that makes a great nation not hard labor.
We have all of the resources for a great nation and are squandering them because of our faulty concept of economics.

Posted by: OckamsRazor | December 2, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

First of all, we Americans are not "over-taxed," except in our own minds. Of course, we would all like to pay less taxes and have more benefits... and ponies. But the reality is that benefits cost money, and somebody has to pay for all this stuff. I am STILL waiting for the tax cutters to tell us what each of them, individually is willing to give up in order to pay less tax.

Not what I should give up, but what each tax-cutter is willing to give up. I'm basically okay with the taxes I pay and what I receive in return for them.

Second, people who are jobless are not likely to see much in the way of tax hikes because taxes are paid by people with earned income.

Last, I predict Obama and the Democrats will cave on taxes. The new Republican wins put Republicans in the position of being able to obstruct progress even more than they have been for the last two years, and they are giddy with power. On the bright side, this, too, will pass. Not soon enough, but eventually.

The rich will continue to get richer, and the poor will continue to be poor in the richest country on earth, and life will go on.

Perhaps we expect too much from our particular form of government... but "overtaxed?" Not so much. That's so 60's.

Posted by: jonroesler | December 2, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

One wonders what would happen if Democrats switched strategy and promoted continued tax cuts for the wealthy, even claimed it was their idea. Would the Republicans oppose that (since they automatically oppose anything the Democrats do), paradoxically protending that they care about the deficit? Republicans don't care about taxes or the economy or the deficit, or anything except for one thing. As their leader said, their one and only goal is to defeat Obama. And if the rest of us have to suffer to serve their purposes, so be it. We elected these guys, we deserve them.

Posted by: DaveHarris | December 2, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

http://www.daylightmap.com/

This might make it better - or worse...
Anyway, interesting!

PS Love yer stuff!

Posted by: gmadoll789 | December 2, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

~~~ GRIDLOCK is sounding like sweet music.
Posted by: finsher771 ~~

Sure. With an all around well-balanced perception such as yours these United States are in good hands...Thank you. I can now sleep soundly at night.

Of Course Gridlock is the best way to solve the current problems our Country faces...why didn't anyone think of that before??? Ohh wait, they did, didn't they...and here we STILL ARE.

Posted by: bertzel | December 2, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

finsher771 writes
"Americans are literally repulsed by the Democrats' policies, their ineptitude, their play-deaf "never mind the rabble" elitism"

Never mind the rabble? The Dems ARE the rabble. Dems are the struggling middle class. Dems are the blue collar union workers. Dems are the urban minorities. Dems are the poverty stricken.

How can you reasonabley characterize policy positions of taxing the rich as some kind of 'elitist' program that ignores the rabble? Who's arguing for extending unemployment benefits? If the unemployed aren't the 'rabble' just who are you talking about?


.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 2, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Silly, circular-logical liberals with their eternal "alternate perception."

Compromise, riiiighht. THAT'S why Americans voted out Democrats en masse. "Compromise" so the leftist hacks can continue pushing their warped Marxist agenda albeit in diluted "compromised" form.

In the real universe, though, Americans are literally repulsed by the Democrats' policies, their ineptitude, their play-deaf "never mind the rabble" elitism -- their way of doing things in general. As for Obama, this is not at ALL the "hope and change" the then-beguiled "moderates" were promised and expecting to be carried out. NO "transparency"; NO "laser-like focus on jobs"; NO "post-partisan ship" (one of the most partisan and balls-to-the-wall arrogant administrations ever, in fact); NO "post-racial" tone as the Democrat race-baiting took on a new and detestable level of false-witness-bearing hyperbole; NO "end to politics as usual" as the closed-door backroom corrupt dealings reached new lows. On and on and on ....

But keep telling yourself it's about "compromise."

To the tens of millions of mainstream Americans who rejected the Democrats and their "ruling class" reckless governance and legislating, GRIDLOCK is sounding like sweet music.

Posted by: finsher771 | December 2, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I just started using a 10,000 lux light box every morning for an hour to combat SAD. Too soon to tell if it works. I find myself turning off the radio in the middle of even NPR stories these days. Maybe the box will help fight my inability to listen to the absurdity of GOP contradictions, hypocrisy and inability to put the country ahead of their focus on total control.

Posted by: martinjohnson | December 2, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

PrarieDog...great post. You should be making more money.

Posted by: insightinc | December 2, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/11/peak-oil-production-supply

… in a Joint Operating Environment report from the US Joint Forces Command … “By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day,”

BY 2012 ... that would be with the next twelve months.

There's a reason for those mega-bases and mega-embassies/command and control centers, being constructed in Iraq and Afghanistan and that reason = war, war and more war.

Not to mention global warming which is about to tip over some very big points and go berzerk on our a$$es.

'Better days' aren't coming in our lifetime.

Posted by: spigzone | December 2, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

TT, living in the north, I am familiar with the long days of darkness this time of year brings. Sorry about your SAD. Hang in there. The solstice is only 3 weeks away, and the days of light will follow!

On another note, are we really over-taxed as people so often suggest? I don't feel I am. I gross about $42,000 a year, and I don't feel like I'm losing too much to the government. What I would like to see though, is less of my tax money going for wars of aggression that are mostly focused on securing fossil fuels for the future. I'd gladly send more of my money to the government if they'd invest in rebuilding our electrical grid (to make it easier to get geothermal, wind, solar, etc, on the grid); if they'd spend less on the military; if they'd make elections publically financed; if they'd modify the health care system to take profit out of the equation; and if they'd honestly start working to improve education in the US.

Santa, are you listening?

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | December 2, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/11/peak-oil-production-supply

… in a Joint Operating Environment report from the US Joint Forces Command … “By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day,”

There's a reason for those mega-bases and mega-embassies/command and control centers, being constructed in Iraq and Afghanistan. War, war and more war.

'Better days' aren't coming in our lifetime.

Not to mention global warming which is about to tip over some very big points and go berzerk on our a$$es.

Posted by: spigzone | December 2, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Oh and Toles...thanks for putting that stupid x-mas song in my head. Hate it when that happens !

Posted by: bertzel | December 2, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

~~~If Republicans really don’t want to do anything unless tax cuts for everyone are made permanent then the Democrats should let all the tax cuts expire.
Posted by: EarlyBird1~~

And what words of 'encouragement' do you suggest to the already 'over taxed' and/ or unemployed, soon to be extinct, middle class Americans??
Clearly the republican rich are holding the American People hostage.
The only immediate outcome for this doomed scenario would be a Temporary tax extention which would be 'traded' for extended unemployment comp.....Hopefully that 'one party' will come to it's senses sometime in the near future...yes, we can always hope.
Then there is also the possiblity of government shut down. Maybe that wouldn't be such a bad idea....we could make it permanent and start from scratch...one can always dream...

Posted by: bertzel | December 2, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Obstacles are opportunities. The unified Republican threat to do nothing unless tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans are approved is a golden opportunity for the Democrats.

There continues to be little coverage over the fact that around 90% of Republicans and some Democrats have signed and abided by Grover Norquist’s No New Taxes Pledge. The underlying issue is that anyone who signs the pledge has essentially pledged not to participate in a primary function of government. By refusing to raise taxes, Senators and Representatives are abdicating their role in an effective government, which must adjust taxes to conform to the ever changing realities of our capitalist system.

Congress must be able to adjust taxes to end loopholes that don’t benefit America. Congress must also be free to adjust to the reality of the 21st century, where massive credit default swaps by unregulated hedge funds can crash the economy yet escape taxation because of blind devotion to No New Taxes.

Our current massively convoluted personal income tax system should be replaced by progressive tax brackets that only allow deductions for individuals and their dependents. Such a system should have way more brackets than we currently have to allow Congress to adjust taxes for poor, middle class, wealthy and filthy rich Americans in a straight forward manner. By using current effective tax rates, it could be done in a revenue neutral manner so that on average, everyone pays the same taxes as they do now.

A financial transactions tax of 0.1% on stock trades, commodities trading, credit default swaps, currency exchanges etc would raise hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade. It would also discourage some of the worst practices of Capitalism.


The financial sector continues to suck off at out-sized portion of the profits of production. A financial transactions tax is the best way for government to skim off some of those profits and would be wildly popular among Americans who rightly believe that the banks got off too easy.

If Republicans really don’t want to do anything unless tax cuts for everyone are made permanent then the Democrats should let all the tax cuts expire. Instantly, we would have the 4 trillion needed over the next 10 years to stabilize our deficit without Congress lifting a finger. Does anyone really think Congress will find 4 trillion in savings any other way?

Posted by: EarlyBird1 | December 2, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Your sketchpad has Dick Cheney written all over it.

Posted by: pjohn2 | December 2, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Dear Tom,
This is the second time I've noticed you mention SAD. Maybe quiensabe is right and it is a reference to climate change. But if not, do check out SunBox.com for a light. I've used one for twenty years now, an hour every morning from fall to spring, and it does wonders. Science-based and tested by the NIH, this is no crackpot thing. All the best!!

Posted by: lsmith1 | December 2, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, Tom. I thought it was going to be a Monopoly board rug.

Posted by: elfpix | December 2, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Looks like Democrats are finally going to stumble on the truth about global warming.

Posted by: billybeer6 | December 2, 2010 5:19 AM | Report abuse

You know, AMarinaF, your comment is a dear, helpful one. Keep your wits about you, though, because Tom's not sad at all...he's mixing his metaphors. Or rather tying climate change to Republicans.

Posted by: quiensabe | December 2, 2010 3:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry you're dealing with SAD. For me, year round, I have to have clear sunlight. Overcast for more than a couple of days does me in.

It's the reason why I have so many full-spectrum tubes & bulbs in the house--I am very sensitive to brightness/spectrum of light, and the closer it is to full-spectrum or sunlight, the better I feel. I'm in the Bay Area, where we have more seasonal affect than I experiences in Southern California. I like it as a gardening climate, but then there's that dark issue.

My MiL has two OTT floor lamps for illuminating a dark area of our great room, as well as for giving her watercolor students the pure-color light they need in class.

I have a "HappiLite", a brand of FS 10K lumens panel-lights that are meant for people with SAD. It is of course on more during our rainy winters in CA than at any other time during the year. Do a websearch to find one you like, consult with your doctor about getting it "prescribed", so that it can be paid out of your FSA and help your taxes a bit.

Engjoying your cartoons & commentary, and wishing you well in the dark of winter.

Posted by: AMarinaF | December 2, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

"Never depend upon institutions or government to solve any problem. All social movements are founded by, guided by, motivated and seen through by the passion of individuals. "

Margaret Mead

Posted by: EarlyBird1 | December 1, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead

Posted by: EarlyBird1 | December 1, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

May not be the darkness of December that afflicts, but the New York Times could be the malady?

Posted by: jornolibist | December 1, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Congress can do anything if the American People and/or the President push hard enough and long enough. Rarely does anything of consequence get done any other way.

Posted by: EarlyBird1 | December 1, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Shall we shift our thoughts to better days? Yes, let's! The calendar brings its run of darkness, but it yields. The small dark dreams of incapacitating the government as the means Americans have to work together on common problems will give way eventually to something brighter and smarter. Right? --Tom Toles

My Reply...
Reality is supposed to be the results of dreams and lately it has been mostly the result of nightmares.
We need to shift our dreams to the actions that create our dream of the government as the means Americans have to work together on the common problems that will eventually lead to something brighter and smarter.
Dave

Posted by: OckamsRazor | December 1, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Get out of the city and head for Cancun. It will cure your ills. For a while anyway.

Posted by: vacarollm | December 1, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Toles always the optimist. Even though i always agree with you have a happy holiday and we look forward too seeing more of your cartoons and rants.

Posted by: JohnA5 | December 1, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

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