Thursday, September 20, 2012

poor willard

And by poor I mean ridiculously rich, but seriously folks, have you all seen the "secret romney video" at Mother Jones?  Let's start with the 47% comment.  There are several offensive elements in:
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49, 48—he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. And he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that's what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people—I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not, what it looks like. "   
First off(ense), the 47 % willard is talking about is the 47%, out of the current 48.3%, that support the Re-Election of President Barack Obama.  According to willard that 47% is completely made up of self-proclaimed "victims" who are "dependent on the government".  To all those who do support the President and aren't a retired senior, veteran, student, unemployed or working poor, I'm sure willard didn't mean you.  If he ever speaks to you I'm sure he'll say the opposite. The 47% of people who do not pay federal income tax, which does not mean they do not pay taxes, are broken down like this according to the Tax Policy Center.  44% are paying no income tax due to Elderly tax benefits, 30.4% due to credits for children and earned income tax credits, 5.6% for education credits, and the remaining 19.9% are due to tax exemptions, deductions, capital gains and dividend rates.  If willard releases his tax returns for years prior to 2010, we may find out that he is part of the 47% that support the President.  There's something else wrong with this statement, which is even more offensive when heard/seen than read.  More Americans paying no federal income tax live in states that support willard than states that support the President.  It isn't even close.  The people that do not pay federal income tax include seniors, students, veterans, and those making than $30,000 in income.  Imagine for a second, living on less than $30,000 per year.  Now imagine it with a family.  Middle class and wealthy families are also included in the 47% that pay no taxes. The most offensive part of candidate willard's statement is that his "job is to not worry about those people" and that they will never be "convinced that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives".  Tell that to a senior who paid into social security and medicaid there whole lives.  Tell it to a student trying to pay their way through college.  Tell it to veteran home from serving his or her country.  Tell it to a poor person working any job they can to keep food in their children's mouth. Yes, I believe that All people are Entitled to food.  I assume by his statement willard thinks the We should just let people starve.

Candidate romney claims that "95% of life is settled if you're born in America".    Not everyone was given  stocks and money from their car company owning, Governor father when they graduated from their provided for Ivy League education, willard.  I thought you and yours said that you build your own success and it has nothing to do with the United States government or it's policies. The video from the $50,000 a plate event continues with willard giving his fatalistic, "kick the ball down the field" example of leadership when it comes to striving for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and more of his foreign policy (not) know how when it comes to diplomacy.  His saber rattling on Iran's still non-existent nuclear program was much less believable and much more rehearsed than his republican presidential predecessor.  Candidate willard called the President's foreign policy approach naive.  This from the foreign policy wizard who undermined the United States Government and its Commander in Chief while Our embassies were under attack and who's stance on Russia (yes folks we are still in the cold war) has lead to vlad putin thanking him.  His dillusions actually have him and his believing violence won't occur simply by him being in office.  Now that's naive.

Perhaps the most ridiculous statement in the "secret video" was willard's comment on how much better he would have it if his father was Mexican born:
"my dad, you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company, but he was born in Mexico. And had he been born of Mexican parents I'd have a better shot at winning this, but he was [audience laughs] unfortunately born of Americans living in Mexico. They'd lived there for a number of years, and, uh, I mean I say that jokingly, but it'd be helpful if they'd been Latino…"
First, his father was born in Mexico because his American born father (willard's grandfather) moved there to be a polygamist, fleeing the United States laws against it.  Secondly, the idea that the current republican nominee would be better off if his father was a Mexican is ludicrous and unbelievably out of touch with the malevolence with which Mexicans and other immigrants are treated in this country, particularly by his party (see immigration policy and birther movement).  And of course it assumes that Latinos will automatically vote for a Latino candidate no matter their position on say... immigration.

Candidate willard is a man concerned about taxes but thinks we have no right to be concerned about his.  A man whose father put him on third base with a world class education and stocks and cash to get him started, but claims to have built it all by himself.  A "man" who built his success by the gordon gekko method.  First, you put as little of a down payment on a company as possible.  Then borrow hundreds of millions to purchase full control of said company.  Saddle the company with the debt from that loan, and then charge the company a management fee to tell them who to lay off and fire until they inevitably go bankrupt.  A process by which willard made millions, ceo's and management got nice bonuses and workers lost their jobs and their pensions.  Candidate willard is a "man" who won't mention his republican presidential predecessor but surrounds himself with the same advisers that got Us into this mess in the first place.  A "man" who rattles his sabre about America's strength, even though he avoided fighting for his country in Vietnam by living in a castle in France to push his religion.  I thought Vietnam Veteran John Kerry seemed French (or should I say Freedom).  Candidate willard offers no specifics on any policy, no tax returns from before 2010, and no fight accept for cutting taxes even more for the wealthiest Americans and corporations.  Candidate willard is an empty corporate suit, the last choice of his party's primary (and there were some doozies!), and a weather vane on almost every issue.  He is Not who I want running My Country.

Friday, September 07, 2012

the New Gilded Age (Aristocracy Shrugged)

“It is a time when one’s spirit is subdued and sad, one knows not why; when the past seems a storm-swept desolation, life a vanity and a burden, and the future but a way to death. It is a time when one is filled with vague longings; when one dreams of flight to peaceful islands in the remote solitudes of the sea, or folds his hands and says, What is the use of struggling, and toiling and worrying any more? let us give it all up.” 
― Mark TwainThe Gilded Age

In a time when the uber-rich are openly buying elections and elected officials, it's easy to fall into a "let us give it all up" mantra.  That overt buying and selling of our democracy was made legitimate and legal by the Supreme Court's "citizen's united ruling", which proclaimed that money is equal to free speech.  Take a moment to think about that.  The people of America enjoy the right to Free Speech.  Some Americans have a louder voice than others.  Some Americans, due to physical or psychological restraints may have softer voices.  They all enjoy the right to speak freely, regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, belief or upbringing.  Money in America is not as equal across the population.  The divide between the top 1-10% of income earners and the bottom 90-99% is Big and getting Bigger.  In today's politics, it doesn't take long to find examples of how this ruling is playing out with 1-10%ers like sheldon adelson privately funding $16.5 Million to disgraced speaker of the house gingrinch's presidential campaign.  Recently adelson stated his desire to buy a seat in the House of Representatives for $500,000.  He isn't the only 1-10% to be throwing tons of "speech" into purchasing candidates.  Republican presidential candidate rick santorum had one too. Maybe republicans settled for willard romney as their candidate, because he didn't have a sugar daddy (aside from his actual daddy early on).  He is a 1% percenter after all.  This is not an admonishment of being rich.  The problem is that an already corrupt system has gotten more corrupt.  So much so that it is out in the open, aside from donor disclosure by members of Congress, which is something that the republicans are openly fighting. By saying money equals speech, a branch of the United States government is saying that the more money you have the more speech you have and the less money you have the less speech you have, if your voice is heard at all. 

The income of average Americans used to rise with the income of the top earners, but with the advent of "trickle down economics" that trend has dramatically changed.  Since the idea that 'tax cuts and loopholes for the top grow the economy and create jobs' was put into effect, average wages have stagnated and even dipped, while income for the top 1-10% has grown almost exponentially.  The "bush (and by extending them obama) tax cuts" put into effect in 2001 have only exacerbated this phenomenon.  Not to mention were less than lack luster when it came to creating jobs. And the republican candidates for President and Vice President want to cut taxes even more for the wealthiest Americans while cutting services (no specifics of course) for non-defense programs that America's have nots and have not as muches depend on to live or to assist in living in a world where everything's going up but wages (for middle and working class workers).  The idea that $250 million dollar (that we know of) willard romney paid 13.9% of his income to taxes in 2010, and $51,000 per year me paid 16+% does not seem right.  The idea that major corporations like exxon and ge pay an effective rate of Zero or less is ridiculous and maddening.  To those out there that say well "51% pay no taxes", does that include payroll taxes? Sales taxes? And with the troubles the US economy has been having (due to the financial sector) saying the US should tax those making less than $25,000 per year more and not add 3% to those making over $250,000 per year, doesn't make sense.  Imagine raising a family today on less than $25,000 per year.  Yeah they should have more "skin in the game".  To those that say "the 1% pay 40% of all income taxes", doesn't that percentage make a bit more sense when you take into account the percentage of US income they earn or US wealth they hold?  It is not the dollar amount that people pay that matters.  It is the percentage of their incoming cash.  The US doesn't tax money, it taxes Americans.  I'm no accountant, but the idea that incoming moneys earned from investments are taxed at a lower rate than incoming moneys earned through "clock punching" labor seems wrong too.  

In my ideal America, if someone needs help We lift them up.  We don't tell them they need to sacrifice more.  In my ideal America, as First Lady Michelle Obama put it, "when you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through the doorway of opportunity... you don't slam the door behind you.. you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed".  In my ideal America, those that work, make a living, and/or make a fortune appreciate the economic system, the infrastructure, the teachers, and everyone and everything else the Government provides to help make their "living" possible.  No one gets rich in a vacuum.  Businesses are not built in a vacuum. Asking those that make over $250,000 per year to pay 3% more in taxes or the same effective rate has the majority of Americans is not some marxist plot, it's shared sacrifice in "these hard economic times".  Helping the poor and needy in America is not some Christian plot, espoused vocally by that religion's namesake, it's just the right thing to do.  In my ideal America, we believe that "We're all in this together" is a far better philosophy than "You're on your own".