Bankruptcy Is Not An Option

"Should taxpayers in Indiana who have paid their bills on time, who have done their job fiscally be bailing out Californians who haven't?" House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., asks. "No. That's a moral hazard that we are not interested in creating." - Fox News Blog

So the financial wiz-kid of the Republican Party believes that we are just a group of states that happen to share borders but have no inherent connection to one another? It is this type of rhetoric and mentality that fosters the divisions that keep us from moving forward as a nation. This simplistic view of the economy shared by the wing-nuts and tea-baggers makes it difficult to take any of their proposals seriously. We are not talking about some teenagers who have overspent their allowance and so the answer is to send them to their room with no dinner. We are talking about our fellow countrymen who just happen to live in another part of the country, our country. We already know that being born in Hawaii makes you a foreigner, but this is ridiculous.

The fact that these clowns speak about morality just demonstrates their own immorality. Is it a moral hazard to watch our fellow countrymen suffering because the wealthy in this country decided they needed another transfer of wealth through market manipulation? What is a moral hazard is that we have seen the biggest financial theft of our economy in history and no one was prosecuted, no one was so much as even charged. Has our definition of morality been so corrupted that it is morally right to give billions to millionaires and billionaires, but immoral to give support to the elderly, unemployed, and mentally ill?

As long as we continue to allow these snake oil salesman to advocate their bad medicine we will continue to focus on cutting out our safety nets so we can continue to provide tax breaks to the wealthy. I’m sorry I obviously missed the memo that stated paying taxes in a democracy is optional. It’s amazing how all of the tea-baggers want government services, but they don’t want to pay for them. The wing-nuts want wars, nuclear arsenals, and government bail-outs they just don’t want to pay for them. There is a reason we pay taxes. There are certain things we have decided as a society that are important enough to share the costs. The problem arises when one segment of the population is paying more than their share.

One of the challenges we will face as a country is how do we make the tax code more progressive and more balanced in the face of this anti-tax and cut spending at all cost false meme being promoted by those who have demonized the very concepts that have made our country great. Shared sacrifice, social safety nets for the needy, and a common sense of fairness are concepts that make a nation strong. We can no longer continue to allow the corporate interests and money changers to undermine and tear at the fabric that makes us a nation. This idea of undermining the middle-class and the poor is nothing new to America. From the Hooverites, to the greed of the 80’s, to the butter and war rhetoric of the last administration we have been under assault it seems with every generation. And every generation has had to reconfirm our commitment to what makes America great.

Unfortunately with the decline in liberalism and the ascension of conservatism and it’s everybody for themselves mentality the very underpinnings of our society are at risk. Programs such as Social Security, benefits for the unemployed, and funding for education are now bargaining chips, but what are not on the bargaining table are tax-cuts for the wealthy and military spending. What type of society is willing to defund the programs for the middle-class and poor to reduce the taxes of the wealthiest among them? I could understand if the tax burden for the wealthy and the corporations were oppressive but under our current tax system the secretary of a CEO will probably pay more in taxes than her boss. To argue that our current tax system is unfairly slanted towards the wealthy is an understatement. To present Mr. Ryan, as a voice of reason in the deficit conversation when he is saying that everyone is on their own is like saying that a secessionist was a voice of reason during the civil war.

We are a country; we are a diverse nation that still manages to share some common threads. We should not allow those common threads to be unraveled for the benefit of a small group who value profits over national interests or their own citizenry. It’s amazing to me how the media and the pundits criticized the Chinese when their president was visiting, but no one has found it necessary to criticize the very American business people who have handed the keys to the American economy over to the Chinese and the Indians. Mr. Ryan doesn’t want to bail-out the states but he doesn’t have any such misgivings about bailing out the folks who have put the states in dire straits.

“Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today” - Mahatma Gandhi

The Disputed Truth

Bankruptcy Is Not An Option

"Should taxpayers in Indiana who have paid their bills on time, who have done their job fiscally be bailing out Californians who haven't?" House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., asks. "No. That's a moral hazard that we are not interested in creating." - Fox News Blog

So the financial wiz-kid of the Republican Party believes that we are just a group of states that happen to share borders but have no inherent connection to one another? It is this type of rhetoric and mentality that fosters the divisions that keep us from moving forward as a nation. This simplistic view of the economy shared by the wing-nuts and tea-baggers makes it difficult to take any of their proposals seriously. We are not talking about some teenagers who have overspent their allowance and so the answer is to send them to their room with no dinner. We are talking about our fellow countrymen who just happen to live in another part of the country, our country. We already know that being born in Hawaii makes you a foreigner, but this is ridiculous.

The fact that these clowns speak about morality just demonstrates their own immorality. Is it a moral hazard to watch our fellow countrymen suffering because the wealthy in this country decided they needed another transfer of wealth through market manipulation? What is a moral hazard is that we have seen the biggest financial theft of our economy in history and no one was prosecuted, no one was so much as even charged. Has our definition of morality been so corrupted that it is morally right to give billions to millionaires and billionaires, but immoral to give support to the elderly, unemployed, and mentally ill?

As long as we continue to allow these snake oil salesman to advocate their bad medicine we will continue to focus on cutting out our safety nets so we can continue to provide tax breaks to the wealthy. I’m sorry I obviously missed the memo that stated paying taxes in a democracy is optional. It’s amazing how all of the tea-baggers want government services, but they don’t want to pay for them. The wing-nuts want wars, nuclear arsenals, and government bail-outs they just don’t want to pay for them. There is a reason we pay taxes. There are certain things we have decided as a society that are important enough to share the costs. The problem arises when one segment of the population is paying more than their share.

One of the challenges we will face as a country is how do we make the tax code more progressive and more balanced in the face of this anti-tax and cut spending at all cost false meme being promoted by those who have demonized the very concepts that have made our country great. Shared sacrifice, social safety nets for the needy, and a common sense of fairness are concepts that make a nation strong. We can no longer continue to allow the corporate interests and money changers to undermine and tear at the fabric that makes us a nation. This idea of undermining the middle-class and the poor is nothing new to America. From the Hooverites, to the greed of the 80’s, to the butter and war rhetoric of the last administration we have been under assault it seems with every generation. And every generation has had to reconfirm our commitment to what makes America great.

Unfortunately with the decline in liberalism and the ascension of conservatism and it’s everybody for themselves mentality the very underpinnings of our society are at risk. Programs such as Social Security, benefits for the unemployed, and funding for education are now bargaining chips, but what are not on the bargaining table are tax-cuts for the wealthy and military spending. What type of society is willing to defund the programs for the middle-class and poor to reduce the taxes of the wealthiest among them? I could understand if the tax burden for the wealthy and the corporations were oppressive but under our current tax system the secretary of a CEO will probably pay more in taxes than her boss. To argue that our current tax system is unfairly slanted towards the wealthy is an understatement. To present Mr. Ryan, as a voice of reason in the deficit conversation when he is saying that everyone is on their own is like saying that a secessionist was a voice of reason during the civil war.

We are a country; we are a diverse nation that still manages to share some common threads. We should not allow those common threads to be unraveled for the benefit of a small group who value profits over national interests or their own citizenry. It’s amazing to me how the media and the pundits criticized the Chinese when their president was visiting, but no one has found it necessary to criticize the very American business people who have handed the keys to the American economy over to the Chinese and the Indians. Mr. Ryan doesn’t want to bail-out the states but he doesn’t have any such misgivings about bailing out the folks who have put the states in dire straits.

“Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today” - Mahatma Gandhi

The Disputed Truth

The Failure of Liberalism

I think experience will teach you a combination of liberalism and conservatism. We have to be progressive and at the same time we have to retain values. We have to hold onto the past as we explore the future. – Oliver Stone

One of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century has been the decline of liberalism and the ascendancy of conservatism. While there are many opinions for the cause of this phenomenon the one that is the most fraudulent is that America is a conservative nation. This false premise has been propagated by those who want to maintain some fictitious sense of America’s past and a desire to reverse the progress we have achieved. Over the course of the last 50 years they have steadily and persistently chipped away at those ideas which defined liberalism (shared sacrifice, equality, and shared responsibility) and replaced them with greed, selfishness, and special interests while simultaneously demonizing liberalism as socialism.

Unfortunately, those of us who call ourselves liberals and subscribe to those principles that not only provided freedom, equality, and dignity to blacks and women, but also created the largest middle-class the world has ever known have allowed what we have accomplished to be tarnished and vilified. Unions which offered working-class Americans with livable wages, benefits, and organization became excessive and corrupt allowing themselves to be marginalized and thus laying the foundation for the corporate takeover of our political process. Without ongoing political organizations like unions to balance the scale the American worker has seen their share of the American Dream shrink while at the same time the wealthy class has seen their share increase to historic levels. While this is not a new phenomenon without the counterbalance of unions and organized political dissent the wealthy have been able to transform the political landscape in such a way that while the American worker is one of, if not the most productive worker in the world and yet they have seen their industries shipped overseas and their wages reduced or become stagnant.

The failure of liberalism is that while we focused on the physical aspects of inequality and poverty we did little to focus on the psychological effects of these issues. To use the analogy of “cream” rising to the top as that happens what is left at the bottom is more concentrated and more difficult to rise. You get less cream rising to the top and more sediment at the bottom. That sediment becomes more intransigent and begins to develop a mindset of poverty. Unfortunately today America is suffering from a large segment of our population with both situational poverty and generational poverty. Many of the people who are now dealing with situational poverty (poverty caused by a situation such as unemployment, medical reasons, etc.) will find it more difficult to overcome these circumstances as we face large unemployment as the new normal. Those suffering from generational poverty (poverty that has lasted over multiple generations) will find it next to impossible to overcome their external as well internal obstacles.

A couple of generations ago we had a strong manufacturing base that could absorb many of these low-skilled workers and offer them a pathway out of poverty. Today there are fewer opportunities for these workers to make a livable wage and move out of poverty. Because there is no longer a connection between effort and benefits or success we now have an intransigent underclass which is mostly urban and mostly black that lacks the opportunities to become middle-class and also lacks the desire to put in the work. Overcoming poverty requires hard work on the part of the individual to overcome the many obstacles designed to prevent their success and there appears to be an attitude among many of our young people that success no longer requires hard work. They instead seem to believe that there are short-cuts and easy money. It is important to be prepared for the opportunities but opportunity must also exist.

What we failed to realize is that while the fight to reduce poverty and inequality to us are self-evident concepts worthy of support there are many people who view them as collateral damage of capitalism. We falsely assumed that most caring people agreed with our position and supported the fight that has been waged yet there has been a slow erosion through materialism and greed undermining our social safety net and demonizing those who rely on it. We have not done a good enough job of combating the immorality of their argument and have allowed them to couch it in economics. Instead of it being our moral obligation to help those less fortunate, the weak, and the aged it has now come down to we can’t afford them. We can afford to give tax-cuts to the wealthy and corporations but we can’t afford to help the poor and less fortunate.

If we are to overcome the propaganda of the wealthy to demean and undermine the needy then we have to once again regain our moral footing and call out these tactics and their proponents for who and what they are. We must also be willing to address the excesses of our programs and be willing to innovate to overcome the intransigence of poverty. It is difficult to make the case for “food instability” while at the same time we have high rates of juvenile and adult obesity in these same communities. There is and has been a concerted effort on the part of the wealthy to undermine our social safety net. It has become fashionable to label the poor as lazy and morally bankrupt, but it wasn’t the poor who extorted billions of dollars from our economy, it wasn’t the poor who nearly brought our economic system to the brink of collapse, and it certainly wasn’t the poor who requested and received billions of dollars in wealth transfer.

There is this talk about class-warfare and I find it amazing that the only time we have this conversation is when the wealthy are being asked to contribute. I didn’t hear the term class-warfare when the rich were asking for TARP, bail-outs, and tax cuts. Hmmm, I wonder why? I guess it isn’t a transfer of wealth if it is going up only when it is comes trickling down.

My generation of the Sixties, with all our great ideals, destroyed liberalism, because of our excesses. - Camille Paglia

The Disputed Truth

Armageddon Again

I think that this is a long and winding process. But I think at the end of the day, members are not going to want to be in their districts, senators are not going to want to be in their districts when their constituents find out on the 1st of January that their taxes have gone up by several thousand dollars. - Robert Gibbs/Press Secretary

Can someone help me out here; why is it that every time the wealthy in this country are facing any type of loss of income through taxes or corporate malfeasance the situation becomes the onset of Armageddon for the rest of us? Remember the beginning of this “recession” at the end of the Bush Administration that was brought on by the investment community and bankers gambling with our economy? We were on the brink of Armageddon and had to pony up 800 billion dollars to rescue our economy which was being held hostage by the same people who were handing out multi-million dollar bonuses right up until the day of the bail-out.

Now two years later we are faced with another Armageddon this time over tax-cuts for the wealthy. If we don’t extend all the tax-cuts we will have another “great recession”, the stock market will tank, and we will suffer double-digit unemployment. Really. That’s funny when Bill Clinton enacted them not only did our economy not go into free fall, but it actually laid the foundation for one our biggest economic expansions. I agree with Mr. Tom Buffenbarger, President of the Machinist Union when he said that when the Bush tax-cuts were enacted his members who make a decent living barely felt any change and so having them expire will have little effect. He went on to state that for his members it is about sacrifice for the good of the country and if paying a few hundred dollars a year to insure the long-term health of America they would consider it an honor. It would be an honor because they still have jobs.

There's more...

Tax Cuts: why are average Americans so "blind?"

While I will always believe that the legacy of the Bush Administration has truly destroyed American democracy through their addition of far right-wing Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito. Moreover, their right-wing jilted Citizens' United decision has allowed -- and will continue to allow -- far more Republicans to have gained offices in November's past election than should have gained office.

Notwithstanding, it continues to "boggle my mind" how the average American continues to be blind to the Republican Party's consistent neglect and contempt of their needs on the Congress floor in exchange for always voting in favor of the wealthy. This was evident this past summer when ever Republican senator voted against extending unemployment benefits for the hard-working American who lost their job(Olympia Snow may have been the lone exception).

Yes, I would have loved to see tax breaks die for the wealthiest Americans, but I realize the Republican Party ALWAYS chooses party over country, and it may have not been possible.

What would have been really, really nice during Obama's first year in office when he had both Senate (non-filibuster) and House majorities was for him to have brought back the Fairness Doctrine for media. He could have shut-up those big mouths at Fox News and AM radio for good. I really don't know why he didn't do it.

 

 

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