American Culture

Paint it tan

by Djerrid

Democrats have had some success painting McCain as an older, grumpier version of W. But Republicans have had a harder time trying to stick a label on the unique phenomenon known as Obama. But that hasn’t stopped them from trying.

As part of S&R’s spotlight on racism, we bring you the über anti-tax Grover Norquist, who calls Obama “John Kerry with a tan.”

Obama with a farmer's tan

Categories: American Culture

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34 replies »

  1. Holy cow he said that?? well, I wonder how black Republicans would feel about that. What was the guys’ name from Norman OK ? I can’t remember his name but I can still see his face. My husband and I met him at his office in Washington DC (husband Rep, so we don’t talk politics ) and he was a decent guy, an ex-minister.. Jesse something..
    anyway..that is just too ignorant..
    Ingrid

  2. Interesting. They knew they couldn’t touch the “black” thing, so they had to try for “oreo”. I hope the press jumps on this joker like a pack of starving dogs. I think what scares Republicans most is that Obama’s speechwriters have him sounding a lot like Kennedy. I know Democrats are still feeling the sting of Dukakis’ Kitty/death penalty thing, but I imagine Republicans are still worried about /scheming over Bentson’s “You’re no Jack Kennedy” barb. These next four months are going to be ugly.

  3. I just hope America wakes up to the fact that Obama wants to increase income taxes, increase capital gains taxes, impose windfall taxes, roll back the tax cuts(incerasing taxes for everyone), reduce speculation and lift the cap on Social Security taxes. The only thing he offers is hope and change, Never mind, the fact that he doesn’t define what hope and change is, and leaves it up to your imagination. He kind of reminds me of “Chance the Gardener.” He says something and lets the people attach their own meanings. He’s brilliant that way.

    I will say that the palindrome, Soros, is going to be labeled as a kingmaker, as his Obama will probably win.

    Oh well, his win will probably move markets(many attribute the current stock market malaise to his ascendency), and I’ll do OK. I might pay a few more taxes, but then again, I might book a lot of stuff offshore…we’ll have to see.

    Jeff

  4. Which is worse, Jeff? Raising taxes to pay for what you’re investing in or borrowing up to $1 trillion from China, creating the nastiest debt in human history?

  5. @ Jeff. Psst. We’ve seen what “no new taxes” looks like. It’s a corrupt government that borrows to stay afloat and is incapable of responding to disasters. Taxes shouldn’t be treated like a four-letter word. The idea is that we give our government money so that they can serve us. If your concern is waste, that’s something different. A government should never get so big that it becomes a command economy, but it shouldn’t get so small that it can’t sustain any economy at all.

  6. Folks,

    All this fuss about China having our dollars is a rehash of the same argument made in the 80’s when everyone was concerned about Japan owning all our treasuries. It’s no big deal. All governments borrow money to stay afloat, even the Chinese government who is awash in dollars. Their debt is priced pretty cheaply, and there’s a reason for that….corruption.

    Our debt as a proportion to GDP vs that of Euroland would surprise you. The Europeans are on a borrowing binge that makes us look like Scrooge. They have to in order to pay for their cradle to grave security, plus they have to pay high taxes. We don’t have the nastiest debt in history, as we have the means to pay it back. Nasty debt reminds me of Argentina, Russia, and Mexico. We’re too big to default, and that’s a simple fact.

    The best way to raise government revenue is to lower taxes, thereby increasing the velocity of money. The Laffer curve does work when left alone.

    Dr. Slammy, I’d rather borrow the money from China then raise taxes. The money from China will come back to us(just like it did from Japan in the 90’s), whereas the money paid in extra taxes will go down a black hole. If the private sector has to go through contractions and expansions, the government should be subject to the same contractions and expansions. Government just can’t get bigger and bigger like it has since the 30’s. Somewhere, there has to be a breaking point. As for feeling good about paying higher taxes if you know that the money will be well spent…..we all know that this is a fairy tale:)

    Anonymous:

    One can look to the Singapore model for low taxes, with minimal corruption. That’s the model we should emulate.

    Ingrid,

    This government isn’t in major doodoo, as the media would like to program you to believe. Major doodoo is something like 1945 Berlin, post WWI Germany, or post WWII Japan. We’re in an economic slowdown, that’s all. We’re not in a recession, as the released GDP figures show, just a slowdown. I’m rather bullish about the state of humanity, as the living standards of the world continue to rise. India has a middle class that’s as large as the US population. China’s middle class is growing at a fast rate also. While this worldwide growth of the middle class is going on, there will be competition for resources, as everyone wants their slice of the pie. Competition is a good thing, as it increases productivity, decreases waste, and lifts up entire populations. Our task in the USA is to compete, and everyone will benefit.

    There is no free ride anymore.

    Jeff

  7. Jeff

    Interesting.

    Europe is on the road to becoming a ‘superpower’ which is why they would not let us vote on the constitution for a new Europe. The little powers (countries) are joining up to create a large, integrated, organised bloc with the intention of having real clout on the world stage.

    There will always be state socialism is some form or another. Capitalism, unrestrained, does too much damage otherwise.

    Until the social policies (derived directly from the left) came into being the minority lived well…and the majority did not. Poor really meant being poor.

    For your interest…

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200801/fallows-chinese-dollars

    Elaine

  8. Ekaine,
    While that article is interesting, Fallows has several fundamental flaws in his thinking. He ignores China’s reluctance to float it’s currency, and treats China as sort of a juggernaut. He makes unscientific assumptions about economic activity depending on the strength and weakness of the dollar. In other words, this is a poorly written article that should be on the op-ed page instead of being treated as an excercise in scholarly research.

    As a side note, my grain dealer friends who deal with China describe the official corruption as among the highest in the world. They have to pay 5% just to get a grain deal approved. Countries like that usually end up imploding. It’s in the interests of the ruling junta to keep the people down….China doesn’t really want a middle class, as they’re too hard to control.

    I humbly disagree with you about damage from unrestrained capitalism. I believe that free market capitalism is the best road to prosperity. The thing is that capitalism doesn’t work for the lazy, the dreamers, or the negativists. I do believe in some restraints, such as truth in advertising, safety standards, and contract enforcement. However, the free markets should be left to their own devices. There’s too much of Adam Smith and Ayn Rand in me to ever believe in any kind of socialism.

    Jeff

  9. Jeff

    If you do not care about your neighbour’s interests as well as your own then that is a route to hell. Without government controls, regulations, protection of basic rights for workers, a minimum living wage, unemployment benefits etc, the right to withdraw labour (legally) then employers would return to the practices of the early 1900s and prior. Those were not good times to be around in.

    The lazy always find a home in any ‘ism’.

    Some of the laziest people in history have been rich idlers…

    Thank you for the comments in the first paragraph. Appreciated.

    Elaine

  10. Elaine,

    I deeply care about my neighbors well being, and have a clear conscience regarding my community service. I’ve passed the strong need of community service down to my son as well.

    My beliefs reflect that of Adam Smith’s “Theories of Moral Sentiments” in which it is the duty for the mercantile class to look into improving society, if nothing more than to benefit capitalism….after all, if everyone is poor, you’ll have no customers:) Hire the right employees, take care of them, treat them fairly, and they will return then favor with loyalty and productivity.

    It has been my experience that there aren’t too many rich idlers around anymore, and there is plenty of studies done that show that most rich people in this country are self-made. I disagree with the any minimum wage law,as those laws tend to be very inflationary. Anyways, the marketplace is always ahead of the minimum wage by at least a dollar/hour(at least in my neck of the woods) I always tell the supporters of increasing the minimum wage that they should increase the minimum wage to $100/hour. Then everyone will make $200K per year and custodians will make as much as lawyers. That’s fairness:)

    Unemployment benefits are insurance and should be protected. Basic rights for workers is an iffy subject, as recent court cases have ruled on. The legal system needs to actually define what a basic right of a worker is beyond the obvious safety, legal, and moral issues.

    As for the right to withdraw labor, I 100% agree with you, with the caveat tnat it should be “employment at will” where either side can withdraw labor. Many states have adopted this practice,and they aren’t suffering the general malaise of the rust belt areas.

    Jeff

  11. Jeff

    “I deeply care about my neighbors well being, and have a clear conscience regarding my community service. I’ve passed the strong need of community service down to my son as well.”

    I have no doubt you do…and many individuals, worldwide, do.

    Business people, historically, often do not so they must be controlled by various labour laws and regulatory measures.

    I remember when I lived in Duisburg (withs its huge steel industry) and there were recognised health problems in the local populace. They (Germans) would tell us how the snow used to come down coloured yellow… Their idea of a joke was to say at least we can fish now…although we must not eat the catch from the lakes. One British family sent their child back home to live with the Grandparents because she developed breathing problems. They cleared up on her return to Britain.

    Growth is all very well but society is not always happier because of the growth that business brings.

    Business may have no qualms about trampling over other peoples cultures, national identities, local community cohesiveness and belief systems but it is not ALL ABOUT what large, ruling companies want…

    Growth at what price? Growth does not always make a nation happier. We do require our basic needs to be met and that should and must be met by the system in which we live, thrive and prosper. The people give the mandate not the rich few…

    Trade is one thing. Powerful bodies that answer to nobody (because they are increasingly active in putting forward politicians who do their bidding) is something else altogether…

    Elaine

  12. Elaine,

    I don’t know if or how one would go about quantifying as to whether growth makes one happier or unhappier. I know how governments can make people unhappier, but I don’t know how they would make their citizens happier, thinking that the private sector takes care of the happiness.

    I’m sure growing the middle class of India(300 million strong) is happy with the growth.

    We are witnessing a global shift in power, with the banking and large industrial interests usurping the traditional roles and powers of government. This is a juggernaut that probably won’t be stopped with anything short of an armed conflict. The protesters at the WTO are just fleas on the camel’s back.

    Big business satisfies needs that the government is incapable of doing. Business provides consumer items(stuff) at low cost…..and all people want more stuff. Government just can’t compete with a model like that.

    Expect business to get bigger and government to become more irrelevant, with the murky lines between fading even more.

    Glad your kids are coming here to get their degrees. Despite what many people say, (especially on this blog), the USA is a great place to succeed, and to make a buck. If you can’t succeed here, you can’t succeed anywhere.

    What school are your kids going to attend?

    Jeff

  13. Jeff,

    I support an increase to our taxes and rollbacks of most tax cuts put in place by the Bush administration. (My one exception is the so-called marriage penalty.) I support a lean government. One of the biggest sources of waste in our current federal government is the amount of tax dollars going towards interest payments.

    I’m against debt and a fervent believer in LBYM (we have a mortgage, that’s it). If I believe the average citizen should live below their means and strive to be completely debt free, I should believe the same for my government. Not throwing money at interest payments increases the purchase power of the individual/government, as does having cash reserves earning interest.

    Now whether Obama will have the leadership ability to convince Congress to repeal tax cuts & slash programs to help our federal government become solvent again, remains to be seen.

    -Lara Amber

  14. Jeff

    My two eldest are taking up residence in the USA post their initial degrees…

    No 1 daughter is already at Loughborough University studying Product Desgin BSc. She will do a Masters in Business as a follow on after moving out to live with her Dad in Virginia.

    No 1 son is looking at Bath University or Warrick Uni or Birmingham University to take a degree in International Business/Management Studies (they all have differing titles but along those lines). Again he will follow that up with a Masters in the USA when he lives with his Dad in Virginia.

    Money saved? Huge amount. Neither wanted to attend USA Community Colleges to obtain their degrees either.

    USA has always been No 1 in my book. But I have learnt more about the USA because of the blog than I otherwise would have…so I am thankful for that.

    My kids have been part living in the USA since very young as their father took out USA citizenship years ago and works for the USA military as a contractor. His area is related to scientific/technical things for the the USA soldier and other related capabilities…

    I will cogitate over the rest of your points… 😉

    Elaine

  15. Laura,

    In other words, you want to pay more taxes? Obama’s tax hikes aren’t just for the rich, as I’m sure you know. Rolling back the tax cuts means you,personally, will pay more taxes. That will mean less money for you, and that’s your money. Do you honestly think that Obama will wave his magical wand and change the status quo in Washington, and your extra money will be well spent? Do you think that Obama, the second most liberal senator, will slash programs and cut spending? His laundry list of tax hikes are well known, and don’t need to be rehashed. His likely election is already affecting the equities market, and lowering the value of your 401-K, your retirement.

    As for taxes going to pay interest on debt. It’s a well known fact that all governments have debt as witnessed by the fact that every government……including N. Korea, sells bonds, treasuries, and notes, and operates at some type of defecit most of the time. Government is not meant to be run at a profit….if an area of government is profitable, it should be privatized or the profit should be given back to the real taxpayers.

    Whether our federal government is solvent or not is not even an issue. If we’re not solvent, then the EU is in real trouble with their debt vs. GDP.

    Fnallly, despite the fact that we’re not in a recession, we are in a cyclic slowdown. It is never wise to raise taxes during a slowdown, and I cite Michigan as an example.

    Jeff

  16. 1. “I don’t know if or how one would go about quantifying as to whether growth makes one happier or unhappier. I know how governments can make people unhappier, but I don’t know how they would make their citizens happier, thinking that the private sector takes care of the happiness.”

    Happiness Matters even to the economists:

    http://www.wwz.unibas.ch/wifor/staff/as/happinesssurveyJEL.pdf

    2. “I’m sure growing the middle class of India (300 million strong) is happy with the growth.”

    “The burgeoning middle class isn’t exactly showering the government with praise for the country’s rapid progress in recent years. Slightly more than half say governance has worsened in the past 10 years. Improving economic performance and reducing corruption are seen as top priorities for the government.”

    http://www.forbes.com/2007/11/10/india-middleclass-survey-face-markets-cx_rd_1108autofacescan01.html

    This is the same corrupt government that opened the floodgates to create a new middle class…

    One blogger recognises that people need to be educated in order to remain competitive. Schools, therefore, need to be accessible and free to everyone. Since when does a school that operates along business lines come free? :

    http://nitawriter.wordpress.com/2007/06/15/one-in-every-50-indians-owns-a-pc-today/

    Proper Government still, therefore, would need to drive policy with regard to learning. Education as a driver/tool is a major part of any aspiring economy as well as an established economy. It is within all our interests to ensure that education is delivered to children. Poorly managed schools make for a bad environment and poor educational progress and thus unhappiness and the potential for misery. Good schools, with effective teaching methods make for a more disciplined and well managed environment thus delivering better results. Those kids would certainly be happier.

    Government, therefore, can directly influence happiness as well as the potential for happiness that comes with a good income because of a good education by providing well managed schools for all. That is not a capitalist enterprise but the domain of society and how it chooes to govern.

    3. “We are witnessing a global shift in power, with the banking and large industrial interests usurping the traditional roles and powers of government.”

    No doubt. That is why so many people are moaning about it. Millions are unhappy about it. Private enterprise is certainly failing millions in the happiness stakes.

    http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/4899

    4. “This is a juggernaut that probably won’t be stopped with anything short of an armed conflict. The protesters at the WTO are just fleas on the camel’s back.”

    The USA does not have to put out the fires of the world forever…

    There will be growth of a different kind in the emerging nations. And re-adjustment. Internal settlement of problems within another country’ borders will of course upset the supply chain created by the thirst of First World Business to find cheap labour by creating the factories of the East in the first instance.

    Primark, as an example, delivering cheap goods to the West is at the expense of child labour. No matter what the stated intentions are of said company. Of course, NOW, they are firing…

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7456897.stm

    5. “Big business satisfies needs that the government is incapable of doing. Business provides consumer items(stuff) at low cost…..and all people want more stuff. Government just can’t compete with a model like that.”

    I believe the need was created, artificially, and like a pusher supplying his various wonder drugs business feeds us fashion and clothing at a rate that has become obscene. I, for one, hate my daughter’s closet. Half the stuff she does not wear. Just how many dresses does a girl need? How many times do we have to have a new car? New anything?

    So much waste…

    6. “Expect business to get bigger and government to become more irrelevant, with the murky lines between fading even more.”

    I believe that good governance is more important today than it ever was. And that governance does not belong in the hands of big business.

    Someone like Obama offers hope because of that need in people. May he start the process, for all, should he win the No 1 job. A job NOT created by private enterprise but by a people’s mandate. He needs to take that position back for everyone…as a true leader should.

    Elaine

  17. In other words, you want to pay more taxes?

    I’ve never fully understood the rank animosity to paying any taxes in this country. This is the school of thought that says increasing taxes is always bad and lowering taxes is always good, irrespective of any other factors. I am much more concerned with how well my money is spent than the percentage of my paycheck.

    The percentage amount that we pay in taxes is historically very low; so it is in comparison with the other industrialized nation around the world. From 1936 to 1981 the top income bracket paid 70% to 94% of their income to federal taxes. During the same time period the lowest income tier fluctuated between 4% and 23%. I think our economy did pretty well during that period. The richest now only pay 35% of their income, the lowest since the great depression.

    Obama’s plan to repeal the Bush tax cuts would return the current rate of 35% to 39% for the richest 5% of earners and lower taxes for everyone else.

  18. Djerrid,

    Study your history. From 1936-1981 we had two wars with scarcity(one with rationing), the inflation of 1946-1947. The only good period during that time was from 1954-1969, and there were several recessions during that 15 year period. The 70’s were a perfectly horrible time in the economy with high inflation, a currency disruption, two oil shocks, and stagflation. The 70’s were plagued with extremely high taxes. The economy didn’t start moving until Reagan’s tax cuts took hold in 1982-1983.

    First of all, one should look at exactly what we pay in taxes. We pay income taxes(someplaces are state, federal and local), sales taxes, property taxes, telephone tax, cable tax, surcharge on electricity and natural gas, gasoline tax, alcohol tax, tobacco tax, capital gains tax, intangibles tax, personal property tax, alternative minimum tax, road tax, bridge and highway tolls, transaction fees, tax on garbage collection, transfer tax, impact fees, special assessments, motor vehicle fees, licensing fees, business taxes, payroll taxes, inventory taxes, occupancy taxes, social security taxes, taxes on insurance, title tax…I could go on with a few hundred more taxes we pay, but this small list should suffice. Add it up, and you’ll see that we already pay enough taxes.

    You neglect to mention that although Obama would repeal (raise) the tax cuts, he wants to double the capital gains tax. It’s well documented that 50% of people making less than $50,000 reported capital gains last year. In other words, Obama wants to raise taxes for the lower incomes.

    While I believe that many responders here think that the tax increases will only “soak the rich” it will affect them also. The rich might pay a lower tax percentages than a secretary, but you pay dollars to the treasury, not percentages.

    I wouldn’t have problems with a fair, flat tax rate, no loopholes. I think the 14th amendment would agree with me.

    As for being concerned how your money is spent…c’mon, be real, this is Washington we’re talking about:) Our money is going down a black hole of pork, entitlements, and mismanagement.

    Jeff

  19. Jeff,

    Well I said I supported a tax increase. It would be hypocritical for me to support a tax increase and not want to personally pay more in taxes.

    Did I say government entities should be run for profit? Nope, though I do believe they should be efficient and fiscally sound. (Which is why I support state & local run programs over federal.) Just because a goverment entity can be run below budget or not need tax dollars, doesn’t mean it should be privatized. They can do the same with the excess dollars that private corporations do: put aside for future budget problems (downturn in collected tax revenue, unexpected crisis, etc).

    My husband works for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. They don’t take a penny from the state tax coffers. While they do receive some federal wildlife grants, they earn their money from selling hunting & fishing licenses and fines. They also have done some fiscally sound things, like stay in an older paid off building vs. moving to some slick new location, even though they have received some pressure to move from other government agencies.

    I argue with “it’s a well known fact that all governments have debt”. Just because it’s a fact doesn’t make it a good, or desirable. The average American is also running around with $9,000 in credit card debt. While it may be a fact, that doesn’t mean I have to accept it as normal and okay. I view it as a sign that something is very, very wrong with our country.

    The government can borrow money, carefully. Borrowing for a one time big project like investing in our infrastructure is one thing. Borrowing just to cover our day to day operations is bad. There is also a big difference between domestic national debt and foreign national debt. Selling bonds to your own citizenry is one thing. Taking money from countries that are still considered our military adversary is another. China is not an ally. My father is not allowed to step foot in that country thanks to the military information in his head, and his company, which makes military hardware can’t make any deals with them (though has contracts with S Korea, Japan, etc).

    The value of my 401k, by the way, dropped way before Obama became the presumptive Democrat nominee. That’s not true, let me restate: the value of some of my retirement funds invested stateside dropped well before, in fact the steady downturn started before January. That has a lot more to do with lack of confidence in the consumer market, companies reporting larger on-hand inventory (sales slowing), and the weakening of the US dollar (partly due to the sheer amount our government is borrowing). A very good reason to diversify investments, make sure a portion is invested in staples (people will always buy toothpaste), and make sure a good chunk is invested overseas.

    By the way, what does “second most liberal senator” mean? I’m a very socially liberal person, but I support small goverment and local control of programs. Or is it just being used as an epithet?

    Lara Amber

  20. Laura,

    Obama’s ascendency has severely affected the market….I do this thing for a living and know about the “Obama Effect.” He has affected your 401-K whether you like it or not.

    You’re very smart with investing in staples. Commodities will do well in the long run.

    Despite what the pundits say, the weakness of the dollar has not caused us to be in an official bear market. Pundits and financial reporters would be trading instead of reporting if they were any good. The market topped out because of other factors, of which the USD had little effect. Consumer confidence and slow sales has been low because the 5th estate has been preaching the negative, just like they caused the recession in 1991-1992. There are many factors regarding the value of the USD, which has little to do with the actual borrowing of money. If that were the case, the Euro would go to hell in a hand basket right now. As far as it goes, all currencies are steadily losing value, just at different rates, which is why we have pair fluctuations.

    As far as debt is concerned, there is no difference between foreign debt and domestic debt, as all debt is fungible. Note that nobody in the media ever makes mention of the trillions of dollars, euros, pounds, ruples, yen and yuan in foreign debt that the USA owns…….very interesting, wouldn’t you say?

    As for the average American carrying $9K in credit card debt, that’s their own fault, and as heartless as I might seem, they need to work it out themselves.

    As for second most liberal senator, just look up Obama’s voting record….when he’s actually there.

    Jeff

  21. As for the average American carrying $9K in credit card debt, that’s their own fault, and as heartless as I might seem, they need to work it out themselves.

    I completely agree with this sentence. When I said “something wrong with this country” I was talking about the people’s mindset (borrowing is okay and normal) not that the government was at fault/should bail them out.

    Lara Amber

  22. Elaine:
    1)Happiness Matters even to the economists

    Frey and Stutzer sure can do a good tango without even hearing the music.

    2)”This is the same corrupt government that opened the floodgates to create a new middle class”

    It’s not the Indian Government that creates the middle class, it’s the people. The government is an archiac bureaucracy that stymies development on both an infrastructure level and a personal level.

    3)”No doubt. That is why so many people are moaning about it. Millions are unhappy about it. Private enterprise is certainly failing millions in the happiness stakes.”

    Only the losers are moaning and unhappy.

    The entire planet is on an upward trend.

    4)”The USA does not have to put out the fires of the world forever”
    Who’s going to do it then?

    5)”I believe the need was created, artificially, and like a pusher supplying his various wonder drugs business feeds us fashion and clothing at a rate that has become obscene”

    Don’t blame business, a they are only supplying a market demand. As to whether it’s artificial or not, the demand creates jobs and wealth.

    6)”Someone like Obama offers hope because of that need in people. May he start the process, for all, should he win the No 1 job. A job NOT created by private enterprise but by a people’s mandate. He needs to take that position back for everyone…as a true leader should.”

    Obama is just a tool of George Soros, who says nothing, and offers hope, without giving concrete solutions. He thrives on class warfare, having Michelle tell people to settle for less, while they grab the golden ring. Obama is a politician and hypocrite, pure and simple, who has never had a job in the private sector. He preys on the collective racial guilt of a certain set of educated white liberal voters, and plays it like Itzhak Perlman bends a note. I will say, he’s good at offering BS. While McCain isn’t my ideal choice, at least with him, you know what you’re getting…..same with Hillary.

    Jeff

  23. Uh, never had a job in the private sector? It says right there in his bio that he was a member of a law firm from 1993 to 2004. That sounds like private sector employment to me.

    What collective racial guilt? I’m white and I like him and it has jack to do with his skin color. It has all to do with his attitude. (Before someone says my guilt is subconscious or some other BS, I once told someone my people are Celtic and I’m still pissed about the Romans, so where is my pound of flesh? That makes about much sense as blaming me for the Civil War.)

    Lara Amber

  24. Laura:

    I stand corrected about his job at the law firm. Sorry for the inaccuracy.

    I will stand by my collective racial guilt statement. I know many liberal contenders out there, such as Kucinich, preached more to the choir, yet he lost out.. When I challenge my friends on the left to tell me what Obama has really done during his meteoric rise, they are at a loss of words. They just like the taste of snake oil.

    Jeff

    Jeff

  25. Kucinich lost of a simple reason that has nothing to do with race. He is funny looking. He has dumbo ears. Now he does have a very friendly smile, but when you put an older guy who looks like he can be your Uncle Dennis who always has candy & stand him next to Obama, an attractive younger man, who quite frankly can wear a suit, well damn. A great deal of time was spent by the media speculating, so why is this hot redhead with Kucinich? (Well mainly by The Daily Show, but let’s be honest, that’s where we all get our news.)

    Plus younger liberals are skewing away from democrats who were active in the 1960’s & 1970’s and were responding to Obama’s message of hope and reconciliation. Quite frankly, do I really want battle lines drawn 30 or 40 years ago still affecting politics? I wasn’t even born yet! Plus Kucinich did support some things that would turn off voters. I’m not sure how much of the independent vote he could really get considering he was pro-gay marriage (I agree, but such a hot button topic the republicans would have laughed all the way to the polls), legalizing marijuana, abolishing the death penalty, immediate withdrawal from Iraq (most voters realize that isn’t possible), and withdrawal from NAFTA. He also had a fundraiser at Hustler, which would not have gone well with conservative America.

    Lara Amber

  26. 1)”Happiness Matters even to the economists.”

    “Frey and Stutzer sure can do a good tango without even hearing the music.”

    “Not surprisingly, the authors confirm that unemployment and inflation nurture unhappiness. Their most striking revelation, however, is that the more developed the democratic institutions and the degree of local autonomy, the more satisfied people are with their lives. While such factors as rising income increase personal happiness only minimally, institutions that facilitate more individual involvement in politics (such as referendums) have a substantial effect.”

    http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7222.html

    …so we humans are not just about wanting more “stuff” – no surprises there!

    2)”This is the same corrupt government that opened the floodgates to create a new middle class.”

    “It’s not the Indian Government that creates the middle class, it’s the people. The government is an archaic bureaucracy that stymies development on both an infrastructure level and a personal level.”

    “This commitment to their own idea of India and their central role in its economic rise makes the middle classes sure of themselves. But at the same time, their sense of citizenship is weak: they do not, on the whole, extend a sense of solidarity to the poor; they often do not acknowledge the role of the state in their own rise or its capacity to solve any of the country’s problems; and they are, in general, politically apathetic.”

    http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=9776

    3)”No doubt. That is why so many people are moaning about it. Millions are unhappy about it. Private enterprise is certainly failing millions in the happiness stakes.”

    “Only the losers are moaning and unhappy.

    The entire planet is on an upward trend.”

    “The already marginalised sections, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, are the greatest sufferers in this process. Referring to the tribals, Dr. Ambedkar had said: “Civilizing the aborigines means adopting them as our own, living in their midst and cultivating fellow feeling, in short loving them”. But the developmental path we have adopted is hurting them and threatening their very existence. It is well known how the large river valley projects are uprooting the tribals and causing them untold misery. The mining that is taking place in the forest areas are threatening the livelihood and the survival of many tribes. It is through enlightened developmental policies that we can resolve such dilemmas of development. One pre-condition for the success of developmental projects in our extensive tribal areas is that we should take into confidence the tribals and their representatives, explain the benefits of the projects to them, and consult them in regard to the protection of their livelihood and their unique cultures. When they have to be displaced the resettlement schemes should be discussed with them and implemented with sincerity. This could avoid many critical situations, and we will be able to carry the tribals with us. We have laws that are enlightened and which prohibit the transfer of the tribal lands to non-tribals, private bodies and corporations.”

    http://www.meaindia.nic.in/speech/2001/01/25spc01.htm

    “Schumpeter’s most popular book in English is probably Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. This book opens with a treatment of Karl Marx. On the surface level, this piece seems to support socialism. Schumpeter’s reasoning was that an overt defense of capitalism would prompt the book only to be read by those who already supported capitalism. Therefore, he believed that he must masquerade as a supporter of socialism to entice the young socialist to read his work. In the end, he hoped to awaken self-recognition in the reader to the flaws of socialism. [3] Whilst he is sympathetic to Marx’s theory that capitalism will collapse and it will indeed be replaced by socialism, Schumpeter concludes that this will not come about in the way Marx predicted. To describe it he borrowed the phrase “creative destruction,” and made it famous by using it to describe a process in which the old ways of doing things are endogenously destroyed and replaced by new ways.

    Schumpeter’s theory is that the success of capitalism will lead to a form of corporatism and a fostering of values hostile to capitalism, especially among intellectuals. The intellectual and social climate needed to allow entrepreneurship to thrive will not exist in advanced capitalism; it will be replaced by socialism in some form. There will not be a revolution, but merely a trend in parliaments to elect social democratic parties of one stripe or another. He argued that capitalism’s collapse from within will come about as democratic majorities vote for the creation of a welfare state and place restrictions upon entrepreneurship that will burden and destroy the capitalist structure. Schumpeter emphasizes throughout this book that he is analyzing trends, not engaging in political advocacy. In his vision, the intellectual class will play an important role in capitalism’s demise. The term “intellectuals” denotes a class of persons in a position to develop critiques of societal matters for which they are not directly responsible and able to stand up for the interests of strata to which they themselves do not belong. One of the great advantages of capitalism, he argues, is that as compared with pre-capitalist periods, when education was a privilege of the few, more and more people acquire (higher) education. The availabiliy of fulfulling work is however limited and this, coupled with the experience of unemployment, produces discontent. The intellectual class is then able to organise protest and develop critical ideas.

    In Schumpeter’s view, socialism will ensure that the production of goods and services is directed towards meeting the authentic needs of people and will overcome some innate tendencies of Capitalism such as conjecture fluctuation, unemployment and waning acceptance of the system.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Schumpeter

    4)”The USA does not have to put out the fires of the world forever.”

    “Who’s going to do it then?”

    They will be clamouring…

    http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20080701faessay87404/c-fred-bergsten/a-partnership-of-equals.html

    http://www.worldpolicy.org/projects/globalrights/europe/2002-0106-Chicago%20Tribune-European%20superpower.html

    5)”I believe the need was created, artificially, and like a pusher supplying his various wonder drugs business feeds us fashion and clothing at a rate that has become obscene.”

    “Don’t blame business, a they are only supplying a market demand. As to whether it’s artificial or not, the demand creates jobs and wealth.”

    “For example, he said, consumers must learn to shop for clothing made with ecologically acceptable materials that will last and stay in style, and to buy cars that don’t pollute and can be recycled.”

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19940124&slug=1891351

    …that would be sooo nice even if totally unrealistic. 😉

    6)”Someone like Obama offers hope because of that need in people. May he start the process, for all, should he win the No 1 job. A job NOT created by private enterprise but by a people’s mandate. He needs to take that position back for everyone…as a true leader should.”

    “Obama is just a tool of George Soros, who says nothing, and offers hope, without giving concrete solutions. He thrives on class warfare, having Michelle tell people to settle for less, while they grab the golden ring. Obama is a politician and hypocrite, pure and simple, who has never had a job in the private sector. He preys on the collective racial guilt of a certain set of educated white liberal voters, and plays it like Itzhak Perlman bends a note. I will say, he’s good at offering BS. While McCain isn’t my ideal choice, at least with him, you know what you’re getting…..same with Hillary.”

    Obama has real class, leadership skills, an air of authority about him, is a born communicator and has popular support. He wants to make an awful lot of people happy. 🙂 🙂

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/5861778.html

  27. Elaine,
    Schumpeter is as hard to follow as Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and is as confusing as the “Communist Manifesto.”

    Y’all might like Obama, but guys like me, the ones who really pay the taxes in this country, don’t. He’s very bad for business, and will place this country at a disadvantage.

    Jeff

  28. Laura,

    Regarding taxation, here’s an interesting allegory to our present tax system that my friend sent me. I didn’t write it, but it is pretty good:

    OUR TAX SYSTEM EXPLAINED….

    Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

    The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
    The fifth would pay $1.
    The sixth would pay $3.
    The seventh would pay $7.
    The eighth would pay $12.
    The ninth would pay $18.
    The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

    So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. ‘Since you are all such good customers, he said, ‘I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

    The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.
    But what about the other six men – the paying customers?How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share?’
    They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.!

    And so:

    The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings
    The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
    The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
    The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
    The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
    The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

    Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

    ‘I only got a dollar out of the $20,’declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,’ but he got $10!’

    ‘Yeah, that’s right,’ exclaimed the fifth man. ‘I only saved a dollar,
    too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!’

    ‘That’s true!!’ shouted the seventh man. ‘Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!’

    ‘Wait a minute,’ yelled the first four men in unison. ‘We didn’t get
    anything at all. The system exploits the poor!’

    The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

    The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

    And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

    Pretty good.

    Jeff

  29. Elaine,

    They are from Harvard, so who knows what they think:)

    As a side note, I used to trade alongside a couple of Harvard grads in the wheat pit a few different times in my career. Incidently, none of them lasted very long. They were great on theory, but the problem was that the theories didn’t work. On the other hand, I traded with a few grads of the University of Chicago, and they did pretty well. I’m the only NU grad, that I know of who had reasonable success.

    Jeff

  30. Jeff

    The history of economic thought exists and Mr S most definitely has his place.

    It is a fascinating area because we are all affected by what happens in the market place.

    http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2006/02/behavioral_econ.html

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_08/b3972033.htm

    Meanwhile, the ‘proletariat’ have always been aware that the streetwise barrow boy could do really well in a gambling environment…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/robertpeston/2007/08/liars_loans.html

    Elaine

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