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‘lie to me’

April 30th, 2009

 

Spot the conservative

 

The most disingenuous rhetoric coming from Barack Obama is the “we tried it their way for the last 8 years” lie. 

The Democrats controlled both houses of congress since 2006, the same branch of government that controls the budget and spending in Washington, perhaps Obama should be familiar with this since he was a member of that house during this time. Okay so that still leaves the previous six years - you know the six years that Bush himself admitted he abandoned conservatism for to handle the full fledged war on terror. Spending of which was voted on by a large majority of both parties.

Just look at the events of the last six months alone. We had a Republican president who proposed the most liberal and  largest socialist private industry intervention legislation in the history of the United States (until the next one), a Republican and Democratic presidential candidate who both supported that legislation, and a Democratic controlled congress who voted the legislation into law. 

During the last eight years there were no fiscally conservative leaders shaping any policy in any form. Both the Republican and Democratic parties were in a full fledged orgy of spending. 

This spending created a culture of irresponsibility, irresponsibility that directly lead to the financial crisis we find ourselves in today.

Change? Please, neither presidential candidate was offering change. Our choice was between socialist and quasi-socialist. Change was not offered this time around, sorry. 

Today, Obama is picking up where Bush led off, extrapolating that spending (with his even larger socialist legislation) into the stratosphere. So can someone please explain to me how this is a deviation from the last 8 years of policies? Please anyone? Can any single person make a case that Obama is drastically deviating from “the last 8 years” by following up record government spending with even higher record government spending?

Now, many Republicans are coming out of the woodwork as conservatives advocating fiscal responsibility and prudence.  Is this new found conservatism hypocritical? Yes. Is this new found conservatism politically convenient? Yes. Is this new found conservatism what this country needs to survive? HELL YES.

I don’t care what the motivations of the Republican party are that have lead them to this new found appreciation of fiscal conservatism, all I care is that it is right path to take and hopefully not too little too late. If only someone would listen. 

So when he says “we tried it your way for the last 8 years” Obama should really be saying “we all liked spending a crap load of money when your guy was in charge, so now it is only fair for us to get a crack at spending a crap load of money now that I am in charge”. All the while ignoring the fact that spending is what’s killing us.

Unfortunatly the American public is too stupid to realize that we only had one political party for the last decade, the Spendopublicancrats. The Spendopublicancrats, consisting of every elected official in Washington, except maybe Ron Paul, had a fun time bickering about social policy, but gained consensus when it came time to spending money that this country does not have.

Seeing the damage caused, most Republicans have left the Spendopublicancratic Party and rediscovered their charter, the one about personal responsibility and liberty. By large they have found their message, broken free from the addiction of spending (for some anyway), and are calling Obama out.

His reply, “we tried it your way the last 8 years”, but we really know what he means is, “come on guys lets keep the spending going, lets keep the Spendopublicancratic Party strong”.

JAM Economics, Politics , ,

  1. Another Scientist
    April 30th, 2009 at 20:57 | #1

    I don’t think Obama is saying that his “change” is less spending, but rather changing our spending priorities and our social policies. I mean a change in our war policies, environmental policy, health care policy, science funding, women’s rights, etc.. He has differing views from the previous administration on these and other issues. I don’t write his speeches, but I would think these are the types of changes he’s been talking about. I’ve never heard him say that he was a fiscal conservative, or that these “changes” would be free. Also, he’s not a socialist. I mean really? That’s essentially equating our financial system with the Soviet Union’s, Cuba’s, and (old) China’s. Granted, there’s more government intervention in private industry right now, but that’s not because Obama wants the government to take over private industry, like a real socialist would, but because he’s trying to fix the economy. You can argue that it’s not the best way to do it, and that’s a different discussion, but to say that we’re in a socialist economy, or really even heading towards one is a complete hyperbole.

  2. April 30th, 2009 at 22:49 | #2

    When on the discussion of the economy - the largest issue of the day - Obama says “we tried it their way” - my point is no we did not. He is suggesting that fiscal conservatism is not the way out of this because it has been tried and failed. This is disingenuous, a lot of things got us in this mess, and conservatism was not one of them. I am not naive enough to think that Obama is gonna try his hand at conservatism, however, he should be honest about his intentions. The moves he is making now are more about his vision of social justice and engineering than about fiscal underpinning. He is using this crisis (much as Bush was accused of with 9/11) to push through an unrelated agenda. He himself admitted that he wants to raise the capital gains tax to 30% out of “fairness”, not necessity.

    This brings us closer to socialism, it is a fact and not hyperbole. It is not exaggerating to say that my hard earned tax dollars being used to give tax credits to those who do not pay income tax (as a backdoor redistribution policy) brings us closer to socialism. It is not an exaggeration to say the federal government deciding on which CEOs to keep and fire brings us closer to socialism. It is not an exaggeration to suggest that propping up failing industries brings us closer to socialism. Holding the largest percentage of preferred, and now possibly common stock in our major financial institutions brings us closer to socialism. How far does it have to go before we reach the consensus that we are entering socialism, maybe not permanently, but none the less socialism.

    I do not want to find out - I work too hard - I have always made the right choices - done the right thing - lived bellow my means - saved my money - been responsible - to have anything additional taken from me out of “fairness”. Sorry that is not what America is about.

  3. April 30th, 2009 at 22:57 | #3

    I believe we need to drastically curb our spending - once the “rich” are soaked who will pay the bills? Will we just get more from China - or just print some more? I really can’t understand how fiscal responsibility is not a theme that can resonate with everyone. Do you believe the current spending under Obama, and before under Bush, is responsible?

  4. Another Scientist
    May 1st, 2009 at 11:49 | #4

    Really? Aren’t the people who are making a lot less and raising families working just as hard? Don’t they deserve some kind of safety net if they lose their job and health insurance? That’s obviously not where all of your tax dollars go, but it is the basis for this “redistribution” that people label as socialism. It’s hardly redistribution when compared to actual socialism though. I’d hardly call raising the capital gains tax from 28% (according to the IRS website) to 30% a strong step towards socialism. The income gap between wealthy Americans (CEOs and the like) and regular workers seems to keep growing and growing, so I don’t really feel that bad when the tax-rate on the wealthy goes up slightly. I’m sure you do work hard for your money, but so do people who make a lot less than you and are not doing as well. Having a tiny bit of redistribution doesn’t take away your reward for working hard; you (you, in the general sense, not necessarily you personally) are still probably doing a lot better than those who are on the receiving end of the redistribution.

    I don’t understand this knee-jerk reaction to the word socialism, either. I’ll certainly agree that a completely socialist system is bad, but so is a completely capitalist system, which has never really existed in recent history in this country. Are you completely opposed to any sort of publicly funded help for those in need? Should we just drop medicaid because you don’t want any of your tax dollars to help those who can’t afford to get healthcare? There are certain things that I think are essential and basic rights in this country, such as healthcare and education. You can’t really count on the free market to provide things like this to everyone, because the free market isn’t in the business of guaranteeing rights to everyone. The motive of the market is to provide a service or product at a profit, not provide something that everyone needs and should be able to have. I think a bit of a social net is a good thing for the country. We can argue about the scale of this social net, but the idea that we’re approaching anything resembling true socialism seems a bit far fetched.

  5. May 1st, 2009 at 12:21 | #5

    The capital gains taxes are currently at 15%, anyone who is invested in this economy knows this. 30% would be a doubling of that tax. And any man that promises no new taxes on any “middle class family” has his head up his ass if he considers doubling a tax that will cripple a large percentage of retired Americans, not a tax on the middle class.

    See your philosophy gets us in the game of deciding who works harder than whom and who deserves what based on some cosmic justice. I say the only way to determine this is by letting the chips fall where they may. I have prepared myself for the future and have allocated the appropriate funds to mitigate the risks of living in a free society.

    You talk about a safety net, but what you are describing is a safety hammock. If I lost my Job and my house I would shovel shit to keep myself going – I would not feel owed anything. How is the government modifying mortgages for those who speculated and bit off way more than they can chew, a safety net? What do you say to me who bought what I can afford and gets no such “help” but my neighbor who makes the same as me but bought an apartment twice the size of mine, gets to make the same payments as me because he is resting on that safety net you talk about?

    You say the wealthy will be paying slightly more. First, what do you define as wealthy? My apartment is 450 sq ft, and I paid $360,000 for it, does that make me wealthy? How big is your home? Secondly, the “wealthy” already pay a lot more, so isn’t adding just “a little more” to what is already a lot more, a little more than a lot? The “wealthy” already pick up 90% of the total tax bill - I happen to think that is a lot. They also happen to account for most of the spending in this country. So when we are trying to save businesses from failing why are we taxing them more, in addition to their largest customer base?

    What Obama and maybe you fail to realize is that putting the “fairness” issue aside, when you tax a behavior you change that behavior. If you tax investing, people will find something else to do with their money - if you tax the consumption of elastic good,s people will not buy those goods. How is this good for anyone?

  6. Another Scientist
    May 1st, 2009 at 14:27 | #6

    I was referring to the maximum allowable capital gains tax, which for some things is 28%. Also, while I’m not an expert on the economy, everything that I’ve read has stated that the 15% rate is being raised to 20% for those individuals making over $200,000. Now, you’re in the news world and I’m not a financial expert, so maybe you’re seeing something I’m not, but that’s what I’ve read.

    http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc409.html
    http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/27/obama-budget-small-business-personal-finance_obama_budget.html
    http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/taxes/Factsheet_Tax_Plan_FINAL.pdf

    • May 1st, 2009 at 15:32 | #7

      The 28% is short term - 15% long term (investments held over a year)

      Obama claims he will not be raising taxes on the middle class. If you live and work in Manhattan and earn $200,000 a year you are not rich, so what are you?

      A person earning as much will see an increase in federal income tax, state income tax, new york city income tax, capital gains tax, the loss of the personal deduction, the loss of the $102,000 social security cap, the loss of the mortgage deduction over the 25% bracket, a lowering of the charitable donation deduction, ineligibility of the student loan deduction, significant energy cost increases if cap and trade goes through, a 100% tax on a bonus if he works for a financial institution. This is hardly a “little more”. It is disproportionately targeting those who already contribute the most. When is enough enough? How is this fair?????

      The intent behind these taxes are socialism, they are designed as social justice. Someone (Obama) is deciding that a “rich man’ does not deserve his money as much as a “poor man” deserves it. It is about tearing down and targeting the successful instead of stimulating the stagnant.

  7. Another Scientist
    May 1st, 2009 at 16:51 | #8

    The social security cap goes up almost every year…that’s not really just an Obama thing. And I believe that energy costs will be higher across the board; that’s not disproportionate. And I might be wrong, but I think the mortgage deduction is dropping to 28%, not 25%. I do disagree with the tax code changes for charitable donations and taxes on bonuses from financial institutions…I’m not really sure how they expect these financial institutions to attract good employees that way. And yes, it is disproportionate…the entire tax code has been that way for quite a while.

    I mean I guess it just boils down to the fundamental question of whether we think that government should be spending (and therefore, collecting) as much as they do. For me, the answer is yes, for certain large things like healthcare and education (I’m on the fence about the bailout). The tax burden for these and other things is already disproportionate, but I guess my reasoning is: These things have to be done, and raising the taxes at these rates on people making a significant amount of money isn’t going to overly burden them in most cases, while raising them on the poor will. Yes, I guess you could put the label “social justice” on it, but if government is going to be in the position of helping those who need it, who is going to pay for it? The same people who are in need in the first place? I don’t agree with the “safety hammock” analogy you used, although I think it’s clever. I don’t think that most people want to lounge around and just pick up money that government throws at them. No one wants to reward people for sitting back and not working. I’m talking about the people who are working, but lose their access to healthcare, or all of the people who don’t make a lot of money but have the opportunity to send their kids to free public schools. There are certain areas which, I agree, there could be cuts. Federal subsidies for these TV converter boxes, for example, is ridiculous.

    Yes, I agree that making $200,000 in Manhattan isn’t nearly the same as making $200,000 in Blacksburg. Perhaps something should be done to change these cutoff points in areas where the cost of living is extremely high.

    • May 1st, 2009 at 17:11 | #9

      Actually he has talked about completely eliminating the cap on social security not raising it (he may have amended this but I don’t think so) - this is a huge tax on the “rich” since their maximum payouts will not increase accordingly.

      I agree with a safety net, however, I do believe it has crossed over to a safety hammock. Perhaps, I am exposed to more of it because of my proximity to a large urban area, but I can tell you that a sh*t load of able bodied people are living off of the system - I have family and friends who are cops and social workers and government employees who see it first hand every day - I refuse to believe it is humane to keep these people on the government teat so an entire socioeconomic demographic of people can never rise up from poverty because they are given too much to lose by trying.

      I know you are a really smart dude, but I doubt you would appreciate it if you had to spread your GPA around with your fellow scientists who did not put as much effort into studying. Or if you had a research paper published and you had to share credit with someone who simply freeloaded the whole time.

      My problem is with the government waste, and over spending - especially deficit spending. It makes no sense that getting us in more debt will solve a crisis that was caused by debt -perhaps you agree with government spending on large programs, but I can’t see how these programs have anything to do with getting our economy back on track - as Obama says.

  8. May 1st, 2009 at 17:28 | #10

    Also, I do not believe the mandate of the Federal Government is to “help people who need it”. I don’t want help from the federal government. I want them to build me roads, protect me from invading armies, and get me my mail, that’s it. I think programs to help people should be relegated to local governments such as the state, where people are given more choice and have a stronger vioce and a vested interest in success.

    The federal government was not set up to back your mortgage or to send your kids to school. It was not intended that they run the car industry or dispense redistributive policies to even the playing field. This is simply not the role of the federal government.

    We are arguing two separate realities, if I believed in your premise of a government set up to help people, I would agree that large taxation would be required to pay for such a task, however, me and many others, including those who set up the government, would not agree with your premise.

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