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 Mr_SmartFun
Joined: 1/16/2009
Msg: 26
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?Page 2 of 17    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17)
Mermaid-

We can agree to disagree.

- Yes, Wikipedia may not be the Holy Grail, BUT it is constantly monitored by people who care that it is accurate. It's usually transparent in where it gets its facts. And it is a better resource than simply an outlet of a ideological think tank.

- Put together Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security make up 44% of the budget (according to Wikipedia). Yes, that's as big as it gets (and why it deserves attention over things like chefs and typists). But, in my mind, this is the primary point of the Federal goverment. People may or may not ever go to Federal parks, they may or may not use a specific program (like Head Start), but Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security touch everyone. So, let's have a national conversation about them. In doing so, you would see just how few people are willing to either tax themselves more or reduce their benefits- for THEMSELVES -in regards to these 2 programs. I see a lot of noise from people about wanting to do away with vague areas of goverment spending, or do away with stuff that they never use. I don't see Joe and Jane Taxpayer stepping up, saying "take this away from ME." And that's the core of why we never seriously reduce spending- 44% of it is untouchable.

- Just to be clear, because it looks like I wasn't- the goverment spending/taxing imbalance is weighted in that we aren't getting enough tax revenue- NOT that we're spending too much. I don't have time to source this, but I heard that the percentage of GDP that went to goverment spending was lower in 2005 (0r 2006) than it was in 1980. Yet budget deficits are even larger than they were in 1980, because the revenue is so much lower. And a simple bit of research will show the tax rates for the highest income levels, not to mention taxation on non-income (investments, inheritances), have fallen greatly. The rising tide since 1980 has NOT lifted all boats. A greater percentage of the wealth and income has gone from the bottom 80% and 90% to the top 10% and esp. the top 1%. The truest way to balance our books is LESS about cutting spending (we are spending less, pergentage-wise) but to RAISE taxes on that top 10% and 1%. I argue that the international community understands this more than the average American, and that said community will not take us seriously until we tackle it from the REVENUE end.

-First, I have a breakdown of conservative/MODERATE/liberal, which that page showed breaking into roughly 1/3rd each. Hence, 1/3 rd of the country can be "conservative" and McCain gets 48% because the balance is the "moderate" vote. The race was a two-way affair, the labeling is three ways (to me).

Secondly, being "more liberal" than some conservatives' perception does not equal "liberal." I'll agree the Bush Adminstration didn't hew to the True Conservative Playbook when it came to balancing a budget- but in no other way could they be called "liberal", and the same for McCain (for him, on immigration reform). Ask a liberal if they claim either one as one of theirs.

"Socialist creep"?? Huh? I don't see any "socialism"- except the economic elites trying to "socialize" their losses (they suren't haven't "socialized" their gains). The exploding federal deficit occured under G.W. Bush's watch- tax cuts while launching two wars, a historic first. The only thing close to socialism I see is the imminent nationalizing of banks- none of which came from the "Left" in this country. Those bankers- who are about as conservative as you can get in every other way- turned their banks into de facto casinos- and lost. Then they asked Uncle Sam for a bailout. If they took it like a principled conservative and went down with their ships, that would be one thing. They are clamoring for help, and have been aided by their buds in the Treasury and elsewhere. Not very "socialist" to me.

You've been polite as well- polite is as polite does, to quote F. Gump
 Mr_SmartFun
Joined: 1/16/2009
Msg: 27
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 2/23/2009 8:50:45 AM
Mermaid-

This link ought to help make things clearer-

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/22/AR2009022202003.html
 MermaidSari
Joined: 2/4/2007
Msg: 28
view profile
History
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/6/2009 3:31:26 AM
Thank you Indian Bob...

And I like the way you are thinking here:

We need to stop treating politicians like royalty

Considering elitisim...one would think we might have separated from British ideology when declaring independence.

Mr. SmartFun...thanks. If you study politics abroad, you will find in Europe that the democrats here are called the 'socialist' party. I am stating a 'global' perspective and what I was taught at the University level and read as far as 'global' reporting on policy and what is referred to in scholarly circles as communist creep. There is debate on elistist control over this sector and I do not challenge you on this.

The economy however is being drained by social security outlays as baby boomer seek retirement [democratic professors of gov. even teach this] as well as governemnt spending that often goes to administrative costs unrealized by the general public. To be sure I work for the governement and have awareness of the overhead costs of doing business. In government this as my opinion in the area that I have well studied I find spending being quite extensive and beyond reason.

The creation of 'larger' government will lead to 'larger' expenses beyond the initial investment. Again the general public will not always consider the fact that 800 billion today equates to over 1.2 Trillion in 'real' dollars given the time span and course of three to four years. Then still then -- the program/building/office/overhead is still being fed tax payers dollars even beyond its useful period.

Taking 'politic sides and partisan' outside of the 'over' spending we do see as a governement that it might be a more realistic approach at helping the economy to create venture to 'make money' via outside sources [increase exports to other countries] verus spending what we do not have.

You are free to disagree as you have and I still thank you for your politeness.
 Mr_SmartFun
Joined: 1/16/2009
Msg: 29
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/6/2009 1:47:11 PM
Mermaid-

I like the fact that we can discuss this politely. It is not going so well for me on other threads.


If you study politics abroad, you will find in Europe that the democrats here are called the 'socialist' party.


You have to take this in the correct perspective, however. In Europe, socialism is a perfectly acceptable ideology. It's not that everyone agrees with it, but it is not demonized as it is here. So when in Europe, they explain American politics by describing the Democrats as the "socialist" party, you have to understand what they really mean: of the two major US political parties, the Democrats are the ones closest to where the Socialists stand. This is said to give context to Europeans, though they usually quickly find out that the Socialist Party is nonexistent in the US, and that the Democrats are hardly any substitute. You are probably aware that this tag is merely descriptive, as in most Eurpoeans' eyes being called "socialist" is not a slur.


The economy however is being drained by social security outlays as baby boomer seek retirement [democratic professors of gov. even teach this]


This is why Social Security is currently running a surplus. The boomers have been addressed- at least somewhat- by the hike in SS taxes in the early '80s. That quote I pasted earlier demonstrated that SS won't tap into the surplus until 2017 and it won't "run out" until 2042 or somewhere around there. This stuff has already been accounted for, at least partly. Everyone knows some entitlement reform is coming- and they know it includes tax hikes.


Then still then -- the program/building/office/overhead is still being fed tax payers dollars even beyond its useful period.


I don't get what you're saying here.


we do see as a governement that it might be a more realistic approach at helping the economy to create venture to 'make money' via outside sources [increase exports to other countries] verus spending what we do not have.


Problem is, many economists have pointed out when you're in the situation that we're currently in- 0% interest rates, no availabe credit, unstable banks- that option isn't really there. That is, the private sector is not in a position to restart the economy. If we were to sit back and wait for them to do so, however you want to propose, we would be waiting a long time, perhaps forever. The one entity that is able to self-start is the federal goverment. Yes, it takes on debt to do so. But the argument, that I agree with, is that the debt is preferrable to deflation and/or a Depression.
 Mr_SmartFun
Joined: 1/16/2009
Msg: 30
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/10/2009 12:23:47 AM
"With the exception of Japan and Korea, every prosperous country in the world taxes more than we do.

We’ve been taxing 28% of GDP for decades. Europe’s been taxing 40%. But they’ve grown just as fast as we have.

And every global financial meltdown in those decades has emerged in countries that tax far less than other prosperous countries: Japan, Asia, Latin America, and here.

Again, excepting Japan and Korea, no prosperous country has taxes even close to our low levels."

Interesting comment (# 12) from:
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/19/economists-ideology-and-stimulus/
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 31
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/10/2009 2:07:19 AM

We need to stop treating politicians like royalty. Way to much money is spent on these yahoos.


Same goes for CEOs, especially those who don't perform.
 Mr_SmartFun
Joined: 1/16/2009
Msg: 32
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/10/2009 3:55:15 PM

that we are not taxed enough


Let's get this straight- the top 5% of this country and multinational corpoarations are not taxed enough. That's not the same as saying EVERYONE isn't taxed enough. Or take it from Warren Buffett, the billionare. He observed that his secretary has a higher tax RATE than he does. Does that sound right?


Heck move there


This response is a non-starter. Why do I have to move? When something happens in this country that you don't like do you say "that's it, I'm moving to Boliva"?? Fighting to make your country a better place is a noble tradition, right? Or does it only apply to people on one side?


Don't sit around here wasting your time trying to talk people here into being socialists....


For the umpteenth time, it's not "socialism". It's Social Democracy. Secondly, I'm not trying to talk people into anything. I don't care if they don't agree- obviously. I got a point of view, and I'm expressing it, the good old American way. Whether or not people change their mind (not likely), I'm confronting their arguments and providing my own. This is Freedom of Speech and Expression in action. What a pain, eh?


We don't need to turn into any European Country.


Seeing as they have a better educational system and everyone has health care over there, they're ahead of us. Cheers.
 Mr_SmartFun
Joined: 1/16/2009
Msg: 33
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/10/2009 4:14:27 PM

Those countries touted by U.S. Socialists also do not spend much on their defense.


I know- I envy them for it.


We ought to withdraw our troops from Europe and let them fend for themselves.


Pirate, on this you and I agree. I think it's high time, now nearly 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, to pull our troops (what is it- still as many as 50,000?) out of Western Europe. Perhaps out of NATO altogether. There is no longer a Warsaw Pact. As for Russia, you would think that the European Union would have enough to hold the line with them.

However, there is a double-edged sword with that. America has held sway over the rest of the non-communist world since WW2 for two reasons- the world's oil markets trade in US dollars, and the size and strength of our military. Now the dollar may not longer be the only currency OPEC deals with- they may switch over ot the Euro, or take it as well. Either move will weaken the US dollar. That leaves the military. Sure, it's high time to stop having such a huge (and expensive) presence in Western Europe. But while withdrawing is solid from an economic standpoint, it will reduce our "influence". That will be fine with most people- until it isn't. As long as everybody is aware of costs vs. savings.


Corporate taxes in the U.S. are much higher than in other countries.


"In a January 30 editorial, The Wall Street Journal asserted, "Democrats object to cutting the U.S. 35 percent corporate tax rate -- which is higher than in all of Europe." But the Journal's comparison of the U.S. statutory corporate tax rate to the statutory rates of other nations is misleading. According to an August 2008 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), "Statutory tax rates do not provide a complete measure of the burden that a tax system imposes on business income because many other aspects of the system, such as exemptions, deferrals, tax credits, and other forms of incentives, also determine the amount of tax a business ultimately pays on its income." Indeed, World Bank and GAO data indicate that the U.S. effective corporate tax rate is lower than 35 percent and lower than several developed -- including some European -- economies. "

From this link (including a link to the GAO report)
http://mediamatters.org/items/200902030003


If people want higher taxes move to Sweden


I just want this to be a better country than it is. I ain't moving, though Canada is always tempting.

Didn't know that John Adams had a sense of humor.
 cncgandolf
Joined: 7/29/2007
Msg: 34
view profile
History
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/10/2009 6:18:02 PM
"As far as your mention of the war...it was a minor outlay in comparisan to social security...which is the larger cause of our economic down fall that is falling to be addressed by Gov. (baby boomer's retiring)."

It isn't appropriate to compare the cost of the war .... which had no source of funding for it so it had to draw its funding from monies that were supposed to pay for other things (like gas tax for transportation infrastructure) or from debt. The social security expenses for retirees who have contributed to it ... the baby boomers ... were fully funded by those baby boomers who are just asking for the money back, with reasonable interest, that they have been paying in for their entire working careers.

If they hadn't spent the money we paid for social security on things like war then the money would be there for us to receive.
 Rabbitman49
Joined: 10/20/2005
Msg: 35
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/10/2009 6:53:25 PM
What $13.00/paycheck? I'm self-employed, so I don't get a tax break. The deal applies only to employees, not business owners. ...And even though I make less than $150k/year, my income taxes in 2009 are going to double! Yes, that's a great deal indeed.
 cncgandolf
Joined: 7/29/2007
Msg: 36
view profile
History
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/10/2009 7:35:16 PM
"even though I make less than $150k/year, my income taxes in 2009 are going to double! Yes, that's a great deal indeed."

What is your source for that claim? Every source I have read has those of us business owners and self employed under $250k as paying less not more. So, naturally, I am curious to hear of a source that says differently.
 Rabbitman49
Joined: 10/20/2005
Msg: 37
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/11/2009 7:21:09 PM
RE #47:
What is your source for that claim?

1) Certain expiring benefits in the tax code that the current administration is letting expire.
2) AMT (the alternative minimum tax). Really hits property owners, as state/local taxes are NOT deductible under it. This one is the real killer as it resets in 2009 back to 2000 levels.
3) The charities I historically contributed to have gone out of business. This is the easiest one to fix, but requires money (or property) on hand, not merely owed.
 Mr_SmartFun
Joined: 1/16/2009
Msg: 38
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/13/2009 2:57:23 AM

Anyway.... Just because I don't agree with you, don't think I'm not listening (reading) what you have to say and believe you have a right to say it. I just have the same right to disagree.


Yes you do. Well said. Fair enough.


I find Olbermann and the rest over there so bias left, it's pathetic. I know Hannity is bias too. But I will say he speaks more my language than those on the left.


Both are preaching to the choir. And Olbermann speaks my "language".

However Hannity has a history full of distortions. And Olbermann will often back up what he says on air with sources, and they are more independent sources. Hannity pulls from the universe of conservative think tanks and right wing media, purposely designed so someone can go on TV and say junk with the authority of "The Heritage Foundation released a report today that said...". (BTW The Heritage Foundation is a right wing think tank)
 Mr_SmartFun
Joined: 1/16/2009
Msg: 39
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/13/2009 3:06:06 AM

1) Certain expiring benefits in the tax code that the current administration is letting expire.


If you are speaking of Bush's tax cuts, they never should have happened in the first plae, not with TWO wars going on. They should expire. However I have read that the top tax rate will be going from 35 percent to 39.6. So let's not act as if this was some sort of incredible increase.

The AMT is a real complicated one that BOTH parties have been kicking down the road for about 25 years.

Sorry to hear about #3.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 40
view profile
History
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/13/2009 4:42:30 PM
TWO wars! At that rate, World War II must have been at least TWENTY wars. Funny it's never been called World "Wars" II. Maybe people have always referred to Burma, the Pacific, Africa, Europe, etc. as "theaters" in the same war because they weren't trying to play tricks with words to distort their meaning. Sounds so much more dramatic--and damning--to say the U.S. has TWO WARS going on, than just to say it's waging war against Islamic jihadism in several theaters. But if you don't have facts for the jury, you can always try to snow them with hype instead.

As for the administration's efforts, I'm sure when they say they can't afford to waste a crisis like this, that's just what they mean. What Mr. Obama and people like him believe in is centralizing power in the federal government, and that's what he's doing. These projects, if carried through, will make every American even more subject to central control. Increasingly, in the ordinary things we do--take out loans, buy cars, use health services, etc., we will have less and less personal freedom. All hail to the State!

President Obama's comments during the campaign, lamenting that the Constitution wasn't better adapted to redistributing wealth, are telling. Both the President and Vice-President have taught constitutional law, but neither one seems to have much time for the Constitution. It grants the federal government enumerated rights only, and it happens to be the highest law of this country. Nowhere does the Constitution authorize a totalitarian, redistributionist United States. President Roosevelt was reminded of this fact when the Court held the NRA--the centerpiece of the New Deal--unconstitutional.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 41
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/14/2009 3:31:15 PM
Hmmm ... Let's see. I used to be able to make a deposit of $10,000 with no questions asked. I used to be able to make a phone call overseas in privacy. I used to be able to rest assured that no President could label me an enemy combatant and throw me in jail indefinitely. My parents could smoke pot if they wanted to. (They didn't, but that's beside the point). I used to be able to buy all the gold I wanted to without having to report the transaction to anyone.

These actual infringements on my freedom occurred pursuant to which agenda: Liberal or Conservative?
 Rabbitman49
Joined: 10/20/2005
Msg: 42
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/14/2009 6:39:44 PM
RE #50:
Can someone explain to me what this cr@p all means...
I don't think that even Congress knows, and they wrote it! All 1,200+ pages....

RE #52: As far as the "Bush tax cuts" go and rates, those rates apply to those with income $250k and above. Those aren't the benefits I'm talking about.

The AMT isn't as complicated as it sounds. Congress just likes to make it sound complicated. It's basically a flat tax.


The "stimulus deal" is an economic fraud. Banks aren't lending more than they would without it, and that was supposed to be one of its major purposes. There's no accountability.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 43
view profile
History
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/14/2009 6:44:46 PM

These actual infringements on my freedom occurred pursuant to which agenda: Liberal or Conservative?


When, specifically, was it legal for your parents to smoke pot, and just how have the relevant laws changed since then? The trend has been just the opposite of what you're suggesting. Well before 1980, the use of marijuana had been decriminalized--you could walk in a police station almost anywhere smoking a joint and not be arrested. That was not the case in the 1950's and '60's, when people routinely were imprisoned even for possessing marijuana, let alone for selling it.

How has any of the things you mentioned infringed your freedom, in practice? Can you name even one American citizen President Bush wrongly named an enemy combatant or wrongly detained? If you can, please do. And have you really suffered any injury in making any of the financial transactions you mention?

Why would any U.S. official listen in on a phone call you or I made overseas? I don't believe the Patriot Act authorizes that except for calls to the U.S. made overseas by people there is good reason to believe are jihadists. FISA is an outmoded joke, and the politicians and columnists who insist on complying with it know very well that severely hampers our ability to track jihadists. I believe that's just what they hope it will do.

As a conservative, I regret ALL government intrusions on personal liberties that aren't clearly authorized by the Constitution. But I also realize that when our national security is clearly threatened, some intrusions we shouldn't otherwise tolerate become necessary. Justice Rehnquist wrote two books on just this subject--inter armas silent leges. And I agree with the line, from a Supreme Court decision, that "the Constitution is not a suicide pact." But apparently you think 9/11 and the continued efforts of Islamists to kill us don't warrant taking any extraordinary measures to defend ourselves. I think they do.

As to infringing on liberties, anything being done now pales in comparison to the measures Presidents Wilson and Roosevelt--both politically progressive--took during the World Wars. Wilson created a federal secret police force that had 250,000 members by 1918. Its members arrested 50,000 men (80% of whom were later released for lack of evidence) for resisting the draft, in a single raid in New York. Wilson also authorized part of this force to act as a vigilance committee, with very broad--and very doubtful authority to spy on and arrest U.S. citizens. And that is only the beginning of the drastic measures he took to protect against possible German sympathizers.

Even before the war, FDR and his advisors had pushed forward the greatest experiment in social planning the U.S. had ever seen before now. When the Supreme Court frustrated his will by invalidating the NRA, FDR threatened to enlarge the Court to twelve Justices. And as Commander-in-Chief, he was also completely responsible for the Army's internment of Japanese-Americans. I think that was just a trifle more draconian than checking on bank deposits over $10,000, but you may not agree. He also orchestrated the trial and execution (as "unlawful combatants") of captured Nazi saboteurs. He made so clear to his AG that he wanted them dealt with that the man nearly resigned, out of concern Roosevelt was telling him to disregard the law. One of the men electrocuted may have been a U.S. citizen, and the government tried, convicted, and imprisoned his father and uncle for the crime of treason.

I'm no great admirer of President Bush, and he is very far from being a conservative. But conservatives favor less centralized government and are guided by the same political ideals the Framers believed in. "That which governs best, governs least." Our Constitution reflects those ideals by granting the United States only certain enumerated powers. Apparently a large part of our population is either ignorant of that fact, or has contempt for our laws. I suspect both are true.

Unprincipled and mediocre educators have--I believe intentionally--taught millions of people who live here contempt for dead white men and their thoughts. And the self-esteem they've told their students they deserve has made them foolishly sure they know better than any Locke, or Smith, or Montesqueue, or Jefferson, or Monroe, or whatever other irrelevant DWM you want to name! No wonder we see these people constantly running our country down and cheering for our adversaries.

People who call themselves progressive or liberal tend to have less faith in individual decisions, private charity, religious traditions, and democracy. Instead, they tend to place their faith in a unified, centralized government, guided by experts. This government, ideally, "comes together" and gets things done, and what it does affects many, or even most aspects of its citizens' lives.


What these progressives often fail to realize, however good their intentions, is that this "totalitarian" (in the sense of "all-encompassing") model of government is fundamentally incompatible with American tradition and law. It is for some foreign country, one the people who designed and created this country never meant it to be. They also seem oblivious to the ease with which totalitarian governments can use the utopian promise of centralized social planning to justify evil acts. That is a mind-boggling blindness, considering the awful, lurid examples 20th century Russia, Germany, and Italy provide.
 Mr_SmartFun
Joined: 1/16/2009
Msg: 44
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/15/2009 2:04:59 AM

Sounds so much more dramatic--and damning--to say the U.S. has TWO WARS going on, than just to say it's waging war against Islamic jihadism in several theaters. But if you don't have facts for the jury, you can always try to snow them with hype instead.


The fact that the truth hurts must move you to play games with semantics. In your mind it may all be the same as World War 2 (various battles all over the place) but to the US goverment, to the media, to every American I know they are TWO- count em- TWO wars. That's the real fact, Jack. And to cut taxes while fighting them- shameful.


What Mr. Obama and people like him believe in is centralizing power in the federal government, and that's what he's doing. These projects, if carried through, will make every American even more subject to central control.


First of all, you can't talk of "centralizing power in the federal government" and not mention the Bush Adminstration. They did to a horrific degree- for all the wrong reasons and all the wrong people. Exactly who was it that increased domestic spying, hmm? It's no secret that they sought to increase Executive power greatly- something Republicans now have a problem with. In contrast, Obama is actually trying to get the Federal government help (shudder) actual people, not simply multinationals and the well connected.


Increasingly, in the ordinary things we do--take out loans, buy cars, use health services, etc., we will have less and less personal freedom.


The paranoia here is quite comical. BTW, that "greater personal freedom" (known to the rest of the world as "a lack of regulation") is what got us into the current financial mess. That self-regulating thing worked out great. Ask Alan Greenspan.


Nowhere does the Constitution authorize a totalitarian, redistributionist United States.


Regulations are not equivalent to totalitarianism. However when corporate interests can run riot over the civil sector and the body public, with undue influence through lobbyists and cold hard cash, that creates a far greater threat. Your ire is directed in the wrong direction.

Further more the term "redistributionist" is thrown around carelessly. Who pays for the roads we drive on, the military that protects us, the police and firemen in our towns? We all do. Is not our money collected and then used to pay for the civic sector? Some might call that "redistributionist". It would be correct in a descriptive sense- but not in a negative sense.
 Mr_SmartFun
Joined: 1/16/2009
Msg: 45
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/15/2009 2:14:49 AM

The AMT isn't as complicated as it sounds. Congress just likes to make it sound complicated. It's basically a flat tax.


The complicated part isn't what it is- it's adapting it to current conditions. It was designed for a measure of tax fairness in the 1960s for high earners. Inflation, as you know, has it hitting the upper middle class. The trick is to fix it while dealing with the loss of revenue.


The "stimulus deal" is an economic fraud. Banks aren't lending more than they would without it, and that was supposed to be one of its major purposes. There's no accountability.


Two completely different things here. The stimulus deal is to increase economic activity through (obviously) government spending. I beg to differ that it is a fraud. The bailout is supposed to get the banks lending- though some see it as a means simply for them to keep their doors open. You got a problem with a lack of lending and accountability, take it to the guys who run the banks who told Paulson and the Congress the entire economy would collapse without it.
 Mr_SmartFun
Joined: 1/16/2009
Msg: 46
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/15/2009 3:07:13 AM

Can you name even one American citizen President Bush wrongly named an enemy combatant or wrongly detained? If you can, please do.


That would be quite a trick since the Bush Adminstration sheilded so many people from due process.
"However, the possibility that prisoners might be tortured after a transfer to another government outside the criminal justice system — known as extraordinary rendition — was on the minds of the Justice Department. The memo suggests ways that U.S. officials could transfer prisoners to countries where they may indeed be tortured without making them legally liable for their treatment."
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29495514/

"The Justice Department on Monday released a long-secret legal document from 2001 in which the Bush administration claimed the military could search and seize terror suspects in the United States without warrants.
The legal memo was written about a month after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. It says constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure would not apply to terror suspects in the U.S., as long as the president or another high official authorized the action"
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29469663/



Why would any U.S. official listen in on a phone call you or I made overseas? I don't believe the Patriot Act authorizes that except for calls to the U.S. made overseas by people there is good reason to believe are jihadists.


Easy for you to say. Since we know that the FBI and CIA have abused their powers in the past to spy on the likes of MLK and anti-war activists, most sensible people need more than good faith that they're only going to do it with a "good reason".


I'm no great admirer of President Bush, and he is very far from being a conservative.


He is VERY MUCH a conservative. What, did he start writing for the Village Voice recently? He didn't hew to strict conservative principles (like balancing a budget or limited use of government) but his ideology in no way resembled liberalism.


Unprincipled and mediocre educators have--I believe intentionally--taught millions of people who live here contempt for dead white men and their thoughts.


A bunch of people don't hold Dead White Men, like the Founding Fathers, in the highest regard. They are called women, non-whites, and Native Americans. If you weren't granted the right to vote, if it was legal to OWN you, if the Federal government was used to basically eradicate you and your culture, and it was pretty much all done by the same demographic- which ISN'T you, you might have an issue with that.

I get that within the context of 1776 they were pretty radical- no divine right of kings and all that. But then I'm a white guy (and a property owning one), so "I" have gotten a fair deal from the start. Not the groups I mentioned above.


People who call themselves progressive or liberal tend to have less faith in individual decisions,


To be brief, actual life experience and history has demonstrated there is good reason to have less faith. There are many people who are happy to be prejudical against other races and religions. There are plenty of powerful entities who think their power means they aren't answerable to something resembling decency. And there are people who think injustice and suffering are just the status quo and inevitable. None of these things, that I've seen, were overcome by simple reason, or by everyone waking up one day and changing their behavior. It had to be done via some "centralized" authority or legal proces, aided by those (usually) in the civic sector. For instance the Federal government had to use that "centralized authority" through the '50s and '60s to attack the Southern states over civil rights violations. This was considered the "liberal" position at the time- "conservatives" were concerned with "states rights". (And don't bother conflating the Southern Democrats who were in the way- after the Voting Rights Act they moved into the Republican party over the next 25 years).

On the flip side "conservatives" are absent when it comes to addressing concerns of the truly marginalized and abuses of power via industry or militarism. They keep paying lip service to the notion that everyone can fend for themselves well enough, that in every instance "less" government must be better. They simply have no serious answers for the actual conditions in the Real World, like how we get better health care simply "by ourselves." They keep constructing fables of how profit motive and a free market can only drive to the best possible decisions and conditions, as if every situation in life dovetailed with someone making a profit to remedy it (and the unspoken inference that if you are in a situation that someone won't make a profit helping you, you deserve your misery). And lastly, the claim every attempt by progressives to redress ills via the government must lead directly to the most extreme examples of true centralized power, i.e. Soviet Russia, Communist China, Nazi Germany, etc.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 47
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/15/2009 9:42:22 AM
I'm no great admirer of President Bush, and he is very far from being a conservative.


Actually, I think he represents the conservative approach _in_practice_ quite well indeed.


But conservatives favor less centralized government and are guided by the same political ideals the Framers believed in. "That which governs best, governs least." Our Constitution reflects those ideals by granting the United States only certain enumerated powers. Apparently a large part of our population is either ignorant of that fact, or has contempt for our laws. I suspect both are true.


This is certainly what conservative claim. But when it comes right down to it, the so-called conservatives just have a different menu of governmental intrusions that they not only are willing to tolerate, but actively advocate. The Drug War, bans on abortion, bans on scientific research, the Patriot Act. In fact, if you can find a way to make something sound patriotic, you can get conservatives to go along with just about anything.

Unprincipled and mediocre educators have--I believe intentionally--taught millions of people who live here contempt for dead white men and their thoughts.


Well, if that has occurred then it was because of an uncritical acceptance of a Marxist distortion of what started out as a very good concept--increased representation and inclusivity. Those dead white men remain relevant, but there are also other important contributors to our cultural heritage that should not be ignored. Of course, what the conservative "black-and-white" label it pejoratively and then dismiss it if it doesn't fit our worldview approach does is throw out the baby with the bathwater. If we are a representative democracy, then broader representation and inclusion strengthens us, even if it means that we adapt in ways that are unfamiliar.


And the self-esteem they've told their students they deserve has made them foolishly sure they know better than any Locke, or Smith, or Montesqueue, or Jefferson, or Monroe, or whatever other irrelevant DWM you want to name! No wonder we see these people constantly running our country down and cheering for our adversaries.


Well, this isn't an either-or proposition. Self-esteem earned through progressively higher achievement is not incompatible with the wisdom of our predecessors.


People who call themselves progressive or liberal tend to have less faith in individual decisions, private charity, religious traditions, and democracy. Instead, they tend to place their faith in a unified, centralized government, guided by experts. This government, ideally, "comes together" and gets things done, and what it does affects many, or even most aspects of its citizens' lives.


Well, which do you prefer? Experts with some scientific backing or religious authority? Because conservatives don't seem shy at all about proposing sweeping interventions on the basis of religious authority.

Don't get me wrong. Unthinking liberal dogmatists are dangerous and damaging. But so are conservative dogmatists.

Whoever said that we are involved in a war between moderates and extremists was right. However, we aren't going to win that war either by favoring one extreme over the other, or by desperately trying to make nice while ignoring history. If we are going to get through the changes that are coming with some semblance of civilization, we're going to have to identify the principles that make for effective moderation and hold to those. Otherwise, the conservatives will chip away at our rights on the one hand and the liberals will do so on the other, and eventually we will neither have the freedom, nor the resource base, to move at all.


They also seem oblivious to the ease with which totalitarian governments can use the utopian promise of centralized social planning to justify evil acts. That is a mind-boggling blindness, considering the awful, lurid examples 20th century Russia, Germany, and Italy provide.


I couldn't agree with you more on this point. However, let me also point out that Fascism, just one of those horrifying and lurid examples, pitched itself as a conservative ideology.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 48
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/15/2009 9:45:20 AM

Last time I made a deposit and withdrawal of 10K no one asked me any questions. Not a peep from anyone in the bank.


No, they didn't mention a thing about the report they had to file with the IRS about it?

No one I know has been detained as an enemy combatant. However, when the government starts to arrogate power like that, my ears prick up. I hope that yours do too.
 cncgandolf
Joined: 7/29/2007
Msg: 49
view profile
History
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/15/2009 1:37:13 PM
"probably the freest country on the globe. "

Actually, it was not under Bush II. 26 countries lived with greater freedoms than we did. Some of the things Obama is doing will restore some of the freedoms the Bush Administration denied us.

This was all foretold by a former Secretary of Treasury over a decade ago in "A Time for Truth" and "A Time for Action"
 BCLVR
Joined: 7/5/2008
Msg: 50
The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?
Posted: 3/15/2009 6:22:03 PM
I agee with Dave. not ONE thing has changed in my life with regard to the loss of any freedom I have had PRIOR to BUSH II. Please, share what freedoms you have lost ...
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