Former Senator John Edwards went off the rails, but he was right about their being two Americas. The bottom 50% of income earners live in a relatively capitalist and merit based economy. One in which you work more hours or work harder/smarter or maybe take a night class to upgrade your skill set, is rewarded with a little more money. The opposite is also true for that America. Screw-up or be incompetent and you are probably going to pay for that. You’re certainly not going to be rewarded. The other America, the one where John Boehner (R-OH) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) live plays by different rules. It is an America where implementing disaster is rewarded. It is an America that rewards gross incompetence. It is an America that rewards not having a proper skill set. Conservative Republican Leaders’ Spokesmen Reveal They Don’t Know Anything About Tax Policy
During a town hall meeting today, Doug Edwards, the former Director of Consumer Marketing for Google, asked President Obama to please raise his taxes. “I would like very much to have the country to continue to invest in things like Pell Grants, infrastructure, and job training programs that made it possible for me to get to where I am,” Edwards said, noting that he is unemployed by choice because he was “fortunate enough to work for a start-up down the street here that did quite well.” “It kills me to see Congress not supporting the expiration of the tax cuts that have been benefiting so many of us for so long,” he said.
The spokesmen for both House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) — Brendan Buck and Brad Dayspring, respectively — proceeded to mock the exchange on Twitter by densely insinuating that the man only wants taxes to go up because he is unemployed and wouldn’t have to pay them:
These two — either out of ignorance or because they’re being disingenuous — completely missed Edwards’ point and the point behind the “Buffett rule” that the administration has proposed. Many people, Edwards included, make their income through investments, which are taxed at a much lower rate than wages. The Bush tax cuts not only lowered income tax rates, but also the rate on capital gains, taking it all the way down to 15 percent.
When asked after the event if he supported raising the capital gains tax, Edwards replied that he did. This jives with what billionaire investor Warren Buffett has said:
The mega-rich pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. It’s a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot…I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off.
Remember, it was the raging socialist President Ronald Reagan who totally equalized the treatment of investment income and wage income, rejecting the argument that investors needed to pay a lower tax rate. Edwards, meanwhile, is earning enough income from his stock options in Google to donate all of the proceeds from a book he wrote to charity, while supporting three children.
But the spokesmen for the two most powerful congressman in the House managed to miss the point entirely. When it was pointed out to Dayspring that Edwards was still likely making investment income, all he could respond with was “he is welcome to pay more.”
Since conservatives used to like to compare government budgets to household budgets, let’s do that. John Boehner (R-OH) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) both voted to spend all the families money plus max out all the credit cards and then borrowed money to spend on more stuff. Now they’re apparently clueless about where the money is going to come from to pay for the financial wreckage they left for President Obama to clean up. Making the people who benefit most from a stable government and infrastructure pay more, is apparently unfair to these two hypocritical clowns. Even though many wealthy Americans think they should be taxed at a higher rate – say rates similar to those under Reagan or Clinton. Americans wonder why government is broken, it is because we have utterly incompetent spinmeisters like John Boehner (R-OH) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) in Congress. They screwed over America for eight years during the Bush era. They’re screwing over America now. If things go their way they’ll be screwing us all for the foreseeable future.
Cantor was among the leaders of the conservative clown posse that was actually hoping and working for the U.S. to default on the debt ceiling. Cantor has a combination of qualities which are highly esteemed among conservatives – maliciousness and willful stupidity.
I like the summary in this post about President Obama’s speech in California – Obama and Reality Versus The Republicans
At a fundraiser in San Jose, Calif., Obama said that some in the audience might be former Republicans “but are puzzled by what’s happening to that party,” and voters should back him if they believe in a “fact-based” America.
“I mean has anybody been watching the debates lately?” Obama said. “You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change.
“It’s true. You’ve got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don’t have healthcare. And booing a service member in Iraq because they’re gay.”
The remarks represent some of the most direct and combative for Obama so far as he has struck out on the campaign trail in earnest following the July debt-ceiling debate and the August break.
Obama continued his critique of Republicans, saying of the boos in the audience at recent GOP debates: “That’s not reflective of who we are.”
“This is a choice about the fundamental direction of our country,” the president said. “2008 was an important direction. 2012 is a more important election.
Miller spreads the false impression that the two parties are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, sort of mirror images of each other. In reality, we have one centrist party, the Democrats, and one far right extremist party. The best way to advance center-left, pragmatic solutions to our problems at this point in time is to vote Democratic next year. The other alternatives, the far-right Republicans or the imaginary solution of a third party, will lead to failure.
We’re back to Obama not being the reincarnation of FDR we had hoped he would be. Here’s a great idea let’s further fracture the Democratic Party with a third party that has an ice cubes chance in hell of gaining traction. Obama doesn’t have to be perfect to be seen as progress. Anyone want to go back to Bush-Cheney or to a Rick Perry or Herman Cain or Mitt Romney who would all double down on the crazy, and throw in another Antonin Scalia on the SCOTUS for the cherry on top.
COKE CEO: The US Is So Screwed-Up Now That China Is A Much Better Place To Do Business. Another multimillionaire who has never done an honest day’s work in his life, living off the corporate gravy train saying that China – a capitalist country with an authoritarian government is peaches. This guy does realize he sells carbonated sugar-water and junk food for a living. In 2010, I have no reason to think things will change much this year, than COCA-COLA CEO John F. Brock made $19,114,318.00 yet Coca-Cola only paid $8 million in taxes. The median household income ( two wage earners) in the U.S. is around $52k. Brock made as much as 368 American households or 736 people. I doubt he did work equal to that or has the intellectual gifts of all those people combined ( I know some scientists, two mathematicians and a surgeon who make far less). I guess the subject of that article, Muhtar Kent, is Coke’s new CEO. All anyone should ever hear from Kent’s mouth is thank you world for rewarding me with far more than I will ever rightfully earn.
In case you missed it – The Crumbling Case for Cutting Spending to Stimulate the Economy
Empirical support for the view that sharp, immediate cuts in government spending would be good for the U.S. economy was never strong, and it’s getting weaker.
The Economist is on the case, highlighting two new studies showing that austerity and growth don’t mix in the short term.
Frank Rich has an epic rant – In Praise of Extremism, What good did bipartisanship ever do anybody?. I’m not so sure about some of the specifics, he berates Obama for even trying the Jobs Bill. He is correct about one thing. Never underestimate the power of crazy. Bush and Cheney were off the charts ideologues. They failed. What did the far Right learn. They should have failed bigger. They should have gutted all financial regulation. They should have cut taxes completely or only had taxes on people who earn minimum wage. They should have let people without insurance drop dead. They should have deported gay citizens along with the immigrant grape pickers and dishwashers. I wrote just recently that even right-wing seniors would forgive Perry for wanting to gut Social Security. As of today it seems they will not forgive him for one thing, in-state tuition for immigrants. I remember writing about the tea baggers and the rise in xenophobia on the Right two years ago. I said never underestimate the ability of the Right to gain traction on issues that are relatively incidental to the real core problems the country is having today. Thus the Al Capone of New Jersey, Chris Christie has a shot at becoming the new winger poster boy.
So who are these guys? In July, Christie attended a meeting with a “who’s who A-list of successful fundraisers,” as FOX News put it to discuss a possible presidential bid. The group reportedly included several billionaires, including its host, Home Depot co-founder and venture capitalist Kenneth Langone, who appears to be the most enthusiastic driver of the Christie boomlet.
[ ]…Another key Christie backer: FOX News CEO Roger Ailes. According to New York Magazine, Ailes begged him to run before the presidential race got under way and brokered a meeting between Christie and Rush Limbaugh.
Forget what anyone else thinks – Rupert Mudoch’s Fox News will decide who will be the Republican presidential nominee.