Archive for the ‘Democratis’ Category

Why Obama’s left leaning is no tactical feint

March 9, 2009

Obama: “It was hard for me to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question.”

Well, President Obama may be just shocked that some think he is far left and maybe even socialist; but some that wonder about his socialism include FT and The Wall Street Journal….


Can Democracy Fail With Obama’s Socialist Help?

Obama Doesn’t Understand What Many Americans Are Thinking


By Clive Crook

On this page last week I argued that Barack Obama’s first budget showed him to be more of a left-leaning liberal than I and many others – sceptics and admirers alike – had previously supposed. People I respect have accused me of going off the deep end about this, or of neglecting Mr Obama’s tactical finesse, or both.

Mr Obama is calling for little that he did not promise in the campaign, I am reminded, so he cannot be accused of springing a surprise. I welcome many of the budget’s main elements, notably healthcare reform and the cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, and the president made it clear all along that he wished to reverse the Bush tax cuts for the high paid. So the revelation that Mr Obama is a progressive liberal must arise from the proposal to curb high earners’ income-tax deductions. That was a surprise, but a small matter: hence the charge that I am getting carried away.

Alternatively, I am told, Mr Obama is playing a shrewder game. Like any good negotiator, he has adopted a maximalist opening position. He expects to be walked back from it, ending up where he wanted to be in the first place, with a more centrist plan than the one he pitched.

An outside view of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall street. ...

On the first point, the tax-deduction proposal is not so small. Instead of applying the highest marginal rates of tax to each deduction, the plan would apply a 28 per cent rate. This is equivalent to a tax increase of roughly $35bn (€28bn, £25bn) a year on households earning more than $250,000. Hardly chicken feed, it is roughly half of the amount raised by returning high earners’ marginal rates to their pre-Bush levels.

Not everybody would regard two-earner households with an income of $250,000 a year as rich; and many of the taxpayers in question have seen their retirement savings, college funds and housing equity destroyed. The scandal of widening inequality that still animates the Democrats’ thinking is a story about the top fraction of one per cent of the income distribution, not the top end of the middle class. Also, it is out of date: as though the housing and stock market meltdowns had never happened, the budget raises taxes on the “rich” to where they were before the Bush administration – and then some.

Granted, other things being equal, reducing the value of tax deductions – not just for the highest earners, but for every taxpayer – makes sense. It broadens the tax base and requires lower marginal tax rates for any given amount of revenue raised. But look at Mr Obama’s proposal in context. He is not broadening the base to lower marginal rates. He is raising marginal rates on the highly paid, and increasing their effective tax rate by rolling back deductions. The measure is an unexpected element of redistribution in a package that was highly redistributive to begin with.

Standing back, the budget’s two great innovations are healthcare reform, an enormous undertaking only partly paid for in the plan, and cap and trade, a big new source of revenue. A centrist administration might have married the two – arguing, correctly, that a public investment as costly and far-reaching as healthcare reform should impose some costs on most taxpayers, not just on a few million at the top. Instead, the revenues from cap and trade are spent mainly on wage subsidies and tax cuts tilted toward the working poor. The down-payment on the cost of healthcare reform is financed by an additional tax increase on the rich.

A centrist administration would have thought about how to create a political constituency for cost control in health, and in public spending more generally. The administration rightly emphasises that healthcare cost control is the single biggest challenge in fiscal policy. Without it, public debt will stay on its present unsustainable path until it hits the wall of a new financial crisis. The need to create a wider constituency for fiscal discipline is the best argument for associating healthcare reform with a new and broadly based tax. Instead, the budget makes this already small constituency even smaller, telling almost all taxpayers they can have everything for nothing.

This message comes through loud and clear in the budget taken as a whole. Mr Obama is not a centrist – unless the second point is correct and I am underestimating Mr Obama’s tactical intelligence. His political skills are undeniable. Yet I find the view that you make a phoney offer and aim to be bargained down difficult to credit.

The question is, who is Mr Obama supposed to be bargaining with? If the answer were a Republican-controlled Congress, this theory might be worth entertaining. Scare conservatives with a pitch for social transformation – a new New Deal – then settle for a judicious nudge to the left. But the bargains Mr Obama needs to strike are not with Republicans, who for the moment are clueless, leaderless and powerless. The people he needs to do business with are members of his own party – and unless I am much mistaken, those people are liberals.

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Venezuela’s Chavez Urges Obama, U.S. Down Socialist Path

Obama’s Radicalism Is Killing the Stock Market

NYT: After March 6 Economic News, “2009 is Probably a Lost Cause”

Obama’s First Weeks: Economic Disaster, Socialist Agenda, Congressional Pork, Limbaugh Attacked, and “We Won”


Stimulus: Senator Predicts Colleagues Will Not Read Final Bill

February 13, 2009

The size and scope of the stimulus means the bill won’t even be read much less fully understood by House and Senate members who vote the biggest spending package ever in the history of the United States into law.

Isn’t there an old saying: “If you want it bad you get it bad”?

This is a bad bill and we have Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to thank….

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. gestures during a news ... 

Obama, Stimulus in Past Tense

 Stimulus: Right, Left, All Have Reason To Feel Slighted


Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) predicted on Thursday that none of his Senate colleagues would “have the chance” to read the entire final version of the $790-billion stimulus bill before the bill comes up for a final vote in Congress.

“No, I don’t think anyone will have the chance to [read the entire bill],” Lautenberg told

The final bill, crafted by a House-Senate conference committee, was posted on the Website of the House Appropriations Committe late Thurday in two PDF files.

The first PDF was 424 pages long and the second PDF was 575 pages long, making the total bill 999 pages long.  The House is expected to vote on this 999-page bill Friday, and the Senate either later Friday or Saturday.  [Editor’s note: The first PDF, as posted on the House Appropriations Committee website as of 8:20 AM Friday morning, had grown by 72 pages to 496 pages, increasing the length of the total document to 1,071 pages.]

Of the several senators that interviewed on Thursday, only Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) claimed to have read the entire bill–and he was speaking of the preliminary version that had been approved by the Senate, not the final 999-page version that the House-Senate conference committee was still haggling over on Thursday afternoon.

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Led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, center, lawmakers ... 
Led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, center, lawmakers announce agreement on the $789 billion economic stimulus measure at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009. President Barack Obama could sign the bill within days. Reid is joined by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, left, and Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)


Obama Stimulus is “Ponzi Scheme” Plus Other Criticisms….

January 30, 2009

“It’s not an ‘economic stimulus;’ its a political pay-off to Democratic contsituencies,” Ben Stein said on Glenn Beck’s Fox News program this evening.

“We have to get the banks to lend and lend without fraud,” Stein said.

He said a Ponzi Scheme takes money from unsuspecting investors and then never really invests.  Any pay-off comes from the money from other “investors” and not from profits.

The economic stimulus borrows the money and then simply passes it around, Ben Stein said.

“This stimulus will cause an 80% inclease in domestic discretionary spending in one year,” Karl Rove said.

And the government pay-out won’t be over after the stimulus.  There still needs to be a big bank bailout — maybe to the tune of $3-4 Trillion.

Rove said the “stimulus” is full of garbage.

Conservative economist Thomas Sowell said the stimulus bill won’t create jobs fast enough and soon enough and the bill is filled with now job-making spending.

Sowell is the author of Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One.

Stein speaking at 2006 National Summit on Retirement Savings
Below by Thomas Sowell



Everyone is talking about how much money the government is spending, but very little attention is being paid to where they are spending it or what they are buying with it.

The government is putting money into banks, even when the banks don’t want it, in hopes that the banks will put it into circulation. But the latest statistics shows that banks are lending even less money now than they were before the government dumped all that cash on them.
Even if it had worked, putting cash into banks, in hopes that they would put it into circulation, seems a rather roundabout way of doing things, especially when the staggering sums of money involved are being justified as an “emergency” measure.

Spending money for infrastructure is another time-consuming way of dealing with what is called an immediate crisis. Infrastructure takes forever to plan, debate, and go through all sorts of hearings and adjudications, before getting approval to build from all the regulatory agencies involved.

Out of $355 billion newly appropriated, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that only $26 billion will be spent this fiscal year and only $110 billion by the end of 2010.

Using long, drawn-out processes to put money into circulation to meet an emergency is like mailing a letter to the fire department to tell them that your house is on fire.

If you cut taxes tomorrow, people would have more money in their next paycheck, and it would probably be spent by the time they got that paycheck, through increased credit card purchases beforehand.

If all this sound and fury in….

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Related from Michelle Malkin:

Biggest Beneficiary of U.S. Economic Stimulus?

 Economic Stimulus About “Soul of America”

Hill Republican: Stimulus aids illegal immigrants

January 29, 2009

The $800 billion-plus economic stimulus measure making its way through Congress could steer government checks to illegal immigrants, a top Republican congressional official asserted Thursday.

Associated Press

The legislation, which would send tax credits of $500 per worker and $1,000 per couple, expressly disqualifies nonresident aliens, but it would allow people who don’t have Social Security numbers to be eligible for the checks.

Undocumented immigrants who are not eligible for a Social Security number can file tax returns with an alternative number. A House-passed version of the economic recovery bill and one making its way through the Senate would allow anyone with such a number, called an individual taxpayer identification number, to qualify for the tax credits.

A revolt among GOP conservatives to similar provisions of a 2008 economic stimulus bill, which sent rebate checks to most wage earners, forced Democratic congressional leaders to add stricter eligibility requirements. That legislation, enacted in February 2008, required that people have valid Social Security numbers in order to get checks.

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