Archive for December, 2010

THE IMMORALITY OF THE TAX-CUT EXTENSION

December 29, 2010

For the most part, today’s business deals in a “global economy”. The larger companies of “Corporate America”, strategize for their position in this “global economy”. Not only are they looking to find new markets for their products and services, they are also looking for ways to save money in their production, marketing, and service offering. This is business! This is how business works, it’s how it’s always worked and how it will probably always work. I get this. I’ve managed good-sized companies and I’ve owned and operated my own smaller business.

Addressing the immorality of the tax-cut extension for the top 2% of income earners is wrong for many reasons. Today’s headlines in the business section prove point number one. Many American-based businesses are adding to their work forces in other countries while at the same time cutting their work forces at their domestic installations. Is it moral that these companies are benefiting from a 3.5% break on their taxes while expanding their companies over-seas? Where is the benefit to the economy of the United States? The companies are based here, and the profits do come back to these companies, but they not only get the tax break, they don’t even pay their fair share of taxes anyway, and of course, they reduce their domestic work forces. Most of these companies hide their profits via using smart tax attorneys and accountants, the less profit they show, the less money they owe in taxes. Many of these firms hide their money in off-shore banking institutions. The IRS can’t touch them outside the country. Two years ago, General Electric had a profit of tens of millions of dollars. They not only paid no federal tax, they got a refund from the IRS of some $375,000! Is that fair?

In breaking this down a little bit more, if a company shows a profit of one million dollars, the tax savings from the regular rate to the reduced rate is about $35,000. Now, if a company is saving $35K in taxes, is that enough to make a difference in maybe hiring additional workers or expanding the business or adding capitalized equipment? It certainly isn’t enough to add a single full-time employee, it probably won’t play into a possible business expansion, and I’m not sure the purchase of new equipment at 35K will make much of a difference either. Looking at this business model, keep in mind, less than .5% of businesses make more than $250,000 profit a year. That means, the other 1.5% of income earners over $250K are regular “working” people, like attorneys, doctors, hedge fund managers, etc. These people do not have businesses, they do not hire people and they don’t make capital outlays to boost the business chain.

After trying the supply side, trickle-down crap with Reagan in the ’80’s, that left a huge deficit that took almost ten years to fix. After two years of a budget surplus from the robust economy of the Clinton years, George Bush walked into office with a surplus of 200 billion dollars. He promptly initiated two unfunded tax-cuts as well as some other bone-headed programs designed to benefit the wealthy, the end result being him leaving office with a 1.43 trillion dollar deficit. In the eight years he was in charge, the U.S. lost over 800,000 jobs, the unemployment rate sky-rocketed, and the economy almost completely collapsed. I’m still scratching my head about the conservative’s insistence on tax-cuts to spur business growth, when it has been proven time and again that it just does not work. Even David Stockman, Reagan’s economic guru says extending the tax-cut for the top 2% is wrong! The bottom line is, tax-cuts not only don’t get used to expand business and grow companies, they add to the ever-growing deficit that is what will eventually crush this country.

To add to the immoral nature of this continuing track of gifting the top 2%, is the growth of the bottom of the economic scale. The United States now has over 14% of its population living beneath the poverty line. The poverty line being defined as a family of four living on less $22,000 annually! This is alarming! This is morally criminal! At the same time, the wealthiest 2% of the population has now gained control of 90% of the nation’s private wealth. So, given this picture, what has happened to the “middle class”? It’s shrinking and it’s broke. A thriving “middle class” is needed to start climbing out of the economic hole the country is in. This is the group of people who spend money. They buy food, clothing, housing, transportation, and education. If you squeeze them out, the largest consuming block of the population stops spending. When you diminish the demand, business must downsize to stay afloat. That’s how countries get into trouble, they coddle the minute minority and over-look the population that keep the economy on the move.

A “middle-class” tax-cut makes sense. It helps lower-income families to keep food on the table and roof over their heads. At the same time it helps try to stave off the total collapse and disappearance of the “middle class”. At the same time, the country needs to take away the “free” tax-cut gift for the top 2% of income earners. It also needs to put into place a graduated scale of tax rates beyond the $250K level. Like at “bump up” at $500K and another at $750K, and another at one million. For business, put into place a series of aggressive tax credits based on growth and employment expansion. This makes the business accountable for the tax breaks they receive from the government. In other words, perform and get rewarded. Now, they simply sit back and collect the 3.5% rate cut and bank that money as they simply add it to the bottom line of the company. Obviously, a whole new tax code needs to be written. It needs to be simple, transparent, and without loopholes that allow it for cheating. The IRS and government need to be able to go after money gained in America by persons and business that is being hidden off-shore. Pretty simple solutions, right? It would seem so but, with K Street, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the activist Citizens United ruling by the SCOTUS, it makes things very difficult because there are entities controlling this government that are not elected by the people. Until K Street is shut down, until the Chamber is held accountable for its’ actions, and the Citizens United ruling is legislated into being moot, it will be a massive battle, and unfortunately, it’s the “regular” Americans that will suffer. That’s my view of this issue, your comments are welcome. I hope all are having a great holiday season with your families and I wish you a safe, peaceful and healthy new year!
Cam Obert

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THE VIQUEENS’ SITUATION…

December 22, 2010

It seems many people in the fandom of the Minnesota Viqueens have been lamenting the collapse of the roof of the Metrodome. It did, unfortunately, mean the team had to move it’s final two home games to other venues. Those two games really showed what this team is made of, and has been made of since that fateful day in August. You all know what day I’m speaking of, the day a few guys on the team flew to Mississippi to beg Brett Favre to come back for another season.

That action was wrong in many ways. First, it showed quite glaringly, the Viqueens need for a proven “football guy” as the GM or VP of player personnel. On a “normal” pro sports franchise, this wouldn’t have happened. The lack of a quality general manager is partially what doomed Brad Childress as head coach, or in this team’s case, head baby sitter. Childress, was in his first stint as a head coach, he had only been a coordinator in the past. So the ‘Queens hire him, expect him to coach and make too many personnel decisions. This put Childress in way over his head. The baby sitting part is a reference to the fact the Viqueens never got involved in the game this whole season. They are one of the highest paid teams in the NFL, and they act and play like drama queens. The players, especially the offensive line, the defense, and special teams never played to their potential and pay checks this whole season. I love Favre, greatest quarterback of all time, except for Brady, but he spent this whole season running for his life. It’s the worst pass blocking I have ever witnessed in the NFL. When he finished the game Monday night face down on the frozen snow-covered turf at TCF Bank Stadium, that was a snap shot of his whole season with that offensive line. I love Favre because when gets on the field, it’s all about winning. He gives his all on every play, never gives up, plays with his foot on the gas pedal the whole game. Now, take a look at the rest of these over-paid under-performing louts on this team. They should be embarrassed. The home game from Ford Field in Detroit, was a game that with a victory, Queens would still be in the playoff race. What did they do for their coach and the Viqueen faithful?, they played what some have called the flattest, least inspired game by an NFL team this whole season.

For those of you that think Leslie Frazier is the answer as the new head coach, I say you are dead wrong. He was the leader of the defense until Childress got dropped. Anyone looking at this team this year would see the defense not only has played horribly, but more disturbing was the half-hearted way they went about their business. That’s on the coach! Frazier has allowed the defense to play at their preferred pace the whole season. The team got off to a horrid start mostly due to the lack of coordination between the quarterback and the offense. That was caused by a simple lack of practice time. The defense, which was strong last year, failed to pick up the slack until the offense got their shit together. Again, that’s on Frazier. Remember, Frazier has interviewed seven times for open head coaching jobs, and hasn’t gotten the call yet. Obviously, the owners and general managers in the league see something they don’t like with Frazier.

The team has been flat as a pancake all season. When they had the opportunity to win and stay in playoff contention in Detroit, they fell asleep. When Brett Favre led them onto the field Monday night for the team’s home finale this season, they fell flat on their faces again. When the team effort this whole season has been heartless, you can’t blame it all on the coaches. The team has a huge hole trying to compete in the league without a general manager, and the players! Don’t get me started on this group of lazy unmotivated multi-millionaires. On a proportion basis, the team’s miserable season falls more on the players than any other reason. Obviously you can’t trade the whole team and start over but, you can hire a general manager who knows the business, and let that person hire the next head coach. My advice to the team for the next head coach, you better get a Ditka type, who will come in here and kick the asses of the lazy slobs, and if they don’t respond, trade them. This team has, in one year become a team of softies, cupcakes if you will. They need to get their asses whipped good by a strong, vocal, and blue-collar coach who won’t bow down to these prima donnas.

So, that’s my view of this failed Viqueen season. Keep in mind, pro football is a made for television entertainment event, but the teams still owe it to their fans to at least give the appearance of trying. Have you noticed when channel surfing during NFL games, their commercial breaks coincide with programmed product on the other networks? And to think there are people who believe the NFL is “live athletic team competition”! Thanks for today’s read and I look forward to reading your comments.
Cam Obert

THE WHINING HYPOCRITS!

December 20, 2010

Now that the Senate republicans got what they wanted, a free multi-billion dollar, no strings attached gift for the top 2% of income earners in the United States, they are complaining the Senate is actually moving ahead with the country’s business. Remember, they agreed to proceed with debate and votes on many issues that have been back-logged for the past two years if they got the gift.

The glaring hypocrisy is the fact that the republicans have held up most of the Senate’s business as way to make the President look bad for the past two years! There are countless, in fact, the most in Presidential history, undealt with Presidential office nominees and judicial appointments. This Senate has broken all records for filibusters. They have stalled on most of the business that the U.S. Senate is supposed to do. One Senator, Grampy McSane(R-AZ), even went so far to declare at one point he is not going to debate or vote on another Obama initiative before the Senate. In the private sector, he would have been fired for not doing his job! But, the voters of Arizona have proven to be “different” from most of the rest of the country!

Let’s turn this spectacle around a little though. In spite of the Senate republicans refusal to participate in the governance of the United States, the Obama administration has accomplished more of its legislative agenda than any administration in contemporary American history. Just goes to show how much business the Senate does have to conduct.

The latest round of whining coming from the Senate republicans is the work being done in the Senate now, during the “lameduck” Congressional session. The Senate republicans are basically saying the members of Congress who will not be back after January 4, 2011, don’t count. They want to wait until the new Congress is sworn in to start conducting business. Why? Because they will then be the majority in the House and will have a much closer score in the Senate. Politics as usual? Yes, and it’s disgusting. What they are saying is the members of Congress now don’t count. Apparently they forget, these members were elected to office and have an obligation to fulfill that full two-year term, which ends on January 4th. As elected members, these office holders have an obligation to work on the country’s business for the full extent of the term. We don’t elect these people to take vacations and duck legislative responsibility. It had gotten to the point of pure disgust when last week Senators Kyl and DeMint used the Christmas holiday period as a reason to table all business and move it to the new Congress in January. This is rotten on so many fronts it’s difficult to quantify it. First, they slapped every non-Christian person of faith in the country by placing Christianity at the top. Second, it was just a plain old lie, using the holiday season as an excuse to stop the legislative process so that it can be moved to a friendlier environment in the new Congress. Third, it was a slap to all Americans who not only work through the holiday season, but actually work on the holiday itself! These republicans have just become rotten to the core. They are simply shameless.

To the business yet to be dealt with. The START treaty ratification is now being stalled by the republicans. They say it hasn’t been debated enough, there are no mark ups yet, or amendments added. The Senate has been sitting on this ratification since last summer. It has had more days of debate than any treaty ratification in recent memory. How much more time do they need? Had they not stalled it last summer, they could have had many months to debate it, but no they have had other things on their agenda, like taking down the Obama presidency. Every living former Secretary of State and Defense, every living former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and almost every leader from around the globe are urging the swift ratification of this treaty. What more do these rogue republicans need? They are now contesting the 7.5 billion dollar health care bill for the first responders to the World Trade Center attack. They claim they don’t know how it’s going to be paid for. The Pentagon and DOD fraudulently waste that much money every week! Who are these cold-blooded idiots? The 911 Bill or the Dream Act subject to a “super majority” cloture vote, that failed to pass, will come back to haunt the negative voters on this bill. Again, they claim they didnt;’t have time to debate it. Senator Durbin has brought this bill to the floor many times in the ten years it’s been in development. Again, how much more time did they need? The 911 First Responders Health Care Bill will pass, but not without damaging the negative voters of the bill. If the Senators thinks that their negative votes on the 911 Bill and the Dream Act won’t hurt them in 2012, they will have another thing coming.

Members of Congress are elected by the people to conduct the business of governance of the country for the full extent of the term they were elected to. This outcry of a “lameduck” Congress doing legislative work is non-sense. It’s a big cover by the republicans to try to bully the Congress into walking away and leaving the unfinished business up to the new Congress. I think Americans need to hold these politicians accountable for their actions, or lack thereof. It is the business of Americans to make sure the people who are chosen by them are doing the job they were elected to do. It is time for the ouster of the leaders of the no-work Congress, McChinless, Cantor, Kyl, DeMint, McSane, and the rest of the “nere-do-wells”.

I’m looking forward to an equally stalled and slow-moving Congress for the next two years. Don’t forget, the republican leadership has already claimed the top priority for them is insuring that President Obama is a single term President! That’s my view of the Senate today, it’s very disturbing. Thanks for today’s read and I look forward to reading your comments.
Cam Obert

SENATE REPUBLICANS-PATRIOTIC? HAHA,…

December 16, 2010

…what a joke! Patriotic they aren’t. Conniving, scheming, soulless, cold, rotten, lying, shameless, self-serving, and even sub-human acting! I knew, when they struck the “deal” with the President, it went too easy for them. They have other things in mind. They lied their asses off to the President to snooker him into the “deal”. Their present day status is a culmination of a very smart plan. They started right after the President was sworn into office. I am really impressed how the republican Senate has closed ranks and kept the secret from leaking!

The secret? The plan they have been implementing to bring down the Obama Presidency. They have, in conjunction with Fox News, Karl Rove,and Rush Limbaugh done everything perfectly to grind the progress of the federal government to a halt. While everything has been in stall mode, they have cranked up a negative campaign against the President and his allies in Congress. Fox and Rove have been splendid at this. They have manufactured flat-out lies to work opinion against the administration. They have held up official office appointments, they have only brought 39% of the President’s judicial nominees to the floor for a vote. This is an all-time record for inaction on appointments and nominees by a U.S. Senate. They have obliterated the record for filibusters too!

The latest outrage is the total lie used to snooker the President into agreeing to the tax cut extension. Which, as a reminder, will add almost 900 billion more dollars to the deficit with very little near term stimulative effect. Smart move, right? This really tells you loud and clear who the constituency is for the Senate republicans! The republicans led by Mitch McChinless and John Kyl, told the President if he agrees to their extension plan, they will proceed with the rest of the business for this session of Congress. You see, they have held up all governmental legislative process until they get their constituents taken care of. Now they have been using stalling tactics so as to not bring any proposed bills to the floor for debate and vote. They went so far as to say it will make them sacrifice Christmas vacation time! This is the outrage, who in the hell do they think they work for? Kyl said yesterday there isn’t enough time to get to the Senate’s business. Jim DeMint, the intellectual powerhouse from South Carolina has vowed to have all 1900 pages of the government funding bill read aloud on the Senate floor. Estimates put that at 40 to 60 hours. He had also recommended the reading of every line of the START treaty. Senator Grampy McSane keeps changing the rules on what it will take for him to agree to the repeal of DADT. His latest salvo being a threat of a filibuster if the bill comes to the floor. Word has it, the bill, which has now been approved twice by the House, has enough votes to move to debate, maybe even the 67 required to head off a possible filibuster by Senator Senility. More stalling!

These people are not patriots, in fact I would go so far as to say they are deliberately holding up legislation that has real financial, social, and security implications. This is the worst case of partisanship politics I have ever seen. This republican party has put their own power hungary agenda ahead of the country’s best interests. They have stated publicly their agenda for the next two years is to bring down the Obama Presidency and overturn the legislation passed in the last two years that was an Obama agenda item. Darryl Issa, the wealthiest man in Congress, and fast becoming a goose-stepping fascist, has already said he intends to bring the White House to a halt by calling for investigations of most everything emanating from the administration. Do we hear anywhere from the republicans any plans about the future of the country? What are their plans for the betterment of our country and society? We don’t know because they have none. They are fully locked in and focussed on taking down the President. This is sick! What’s sicker than that is the support they get from so many Americans. Their machine to manufacture the stories and lies has been so effective that most unenlightened people have fallen for it and support it. The majority of republicans polled still believe President Obama is Muslim. that same group still believes he’s not native-born! Is this not outrageous?! Certainly it is. It’s actually very sad that so many people fall for the phony pabulum dispensed by Fox everyday.

The President and the republican leadership claimed they are doing what America wants by proceeding with this tax cut extension bill. They are dead wrong! Exit polling puts the numbers at 81% of Democrats opposing tax cuts for the top 2%, 67% of Independents are opposed, and even 52% of republicans oppose extending the cuts to the wealthiest Americans. The CBS national poll a couple of weeks ago still shows 67% of Americans against tax cuts for the top 2%. Now, since the gridlock began a week ago, the latest polls now put the poll number at 50% in favor of approving the compromise bill. The people are worn out from the bickering and inaction. That’s how you explain the drop from 67% to 50%.

The republicans are holding up approval of the START treaty. Every living Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense has said this must be ratified. All of the leading allies of the U.S. have said this treaty must be signed. Former Presidents have said it must be approved. Hell, the last version, done in 2003, was approved by the Senate 95-0! Hello, America, can you see what’s going on here? This is playing games with national and international security. But no, the republican view the ratification of the START treaty as a win or a plus for the President, so they’ll muck it up as best they can. They are holding up repeal of DADT. The American public supports the repeal, the military supports the repeal, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff supports it, the Secretary of Defense supports it’s repeal, and the Commander-In-Chief supports it’s repeal. But not the Senate republicans! Again, who is their constituency? The republicans are holding up the Dream Act. A very decent and moral act to enhance the American experience for children of undocumented aliens. Economists are in agreement this bill has nothing but upside for the economy. Educate these people to give them the opportunity to become employed tax paying members of American society. Many of these kids already are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq on behalf of the U.S. Many are paying into social security that unless this bill is passed in conjunction with some sane immigration reform, will never collect on it.

The tax cut extension for the top 2% along with the other top-tier gifts in the bill will add another 900 billion dollars to the deficit. That brings the deficit to a totally unmanageable amount of 2.3 trillion dollars. This has been kicked down the road, so in two years it will be extended again, adding to the deficit even more, and then someday, our country’s future generation is going to have to make the difficult decisions about how to fix a bankrupt economy. Every economist has stated that that’s where the country is heading. Tax cuts do not contribute to business growth and job additions. They only add to the deficit. It’s been proven time and again. So lets help the wealthiest Americans enjoy the growth of their personal fortunes and let our children and grand children take care of the disaster that’s going to be left for him.

That begs the question to ponder as I end this narrative, just who is the constituency of the republican party of the United States? This is a very serious question that demands serious answers and then solution to the damage they have wreaked upon our country. Thanks for today’s read, and I look forward to your comments.
Cam Obert

WHY ARE PROGRESSIVES ANGRY?

December 14, 2010

Starting today, the U.S. House of Representatives begins debate on the already Senate passed tax bill. Other than Bernie Sanders, an Independent, the Senate Democrats simply collapsed under the pressure from the White House. The House has a group of Democrats who have signed a non-binding agreement to not vote in favor of the bill as agreed to between the President and the republicans. In the mean time, progressive House leaders such as Anthony Weiner have been very outspoken in opposition, even angry about the Obama cave-in to the minority party republicans. As a progressive, I really hope the House ties the bill up and forces the Senate and White House to accept their proposed changes. So lets take a look at the reasons for the anger from the left.

President Obama ran and won on his vision for change, to make things better and more fair for Americans in general and the middle class and the poor in particular. He ran on a promise to end institutionalized human rights violations with the military’s DADT policy. He ran as a war hating liberal. Here’s what has and has not happened in his Presidency so far. The President was able to get a version of a health care reform bill passed. The very first thing he conceded in negotiation with the republicans was the public option! Remember, he ran on the public option as the main point of health care reform. The President was going to close GITMO by the end of his first year. That’s still open and operating as a prison. The trials for the detainees have been very slow to happen. Remember he ran on getting these people through the justice system in a fair and expedient fashion. Not happening. He made a big splash about trying the worst of the prisoners in civil court. The republicans barked at him, and he backed down. So far, no trials. Along those lines, what has he done about ending DADT? Last summer he the President had the perfect opportunity to agree with the courts and proclaim the policy over. Instead, he said although he does oppose DADT as a policy, he needs to give overturning the policy more thought. More thought! The policy has been the law of the land since 1993. Obama has opposed it supposedly for most of those years. How much more time does he need? In the meantime, thousands of military have been outed and discharged from the service. This has such a negative effect on their lives as well as their family’s lives. This is such a huge injustice, and as a “liberal” President to allow it’s continuance is shameful. The war in Afghanistan is another mistake the President has made. Running as a progressive war dove, he is following the same dark trail that destroyed Lyndon Johnson’s presidency. Instead of getting out, it’s an endless money pit, with the collateral damage of people getting maimed and killed. So as Johnson did in Vietnam, listening to General Westmoreland and escalating the U.S. occupation to several hundred thousand troops, Obama is listening to General Petraeus and doing a troop surge of additional troops to bring the total on the ground to one hundred thousand. Oh, in case you were wondering, there are less than 100 known al Qaeda in Afghanistan. A little overkill? The Democratic party and the President screwed up earlier in the year by refusing to address the tax cut extension issue. They could have forced the republicans to offer bills extending the cuts for the top 2%, and then turned the tables on them and vilify them as the party of millionaires. But no, they were afraid, and it cost them dearly in November. Obama is so weak as a leader and negotiator, this fall he offered to freeze the pay of all non-military federal workers for two years. This will save the government a whopping five billion dollars. He conceded this without the republicans even asking for anything! This federal worker pay freeze is right out of the republicans playbook. In the overall scheme of things, this is symbolic at best. But, what that nitwit President didn’t think about is the people who’s pay got frozen. Throw the republicans an unasked for bone on the backs of the federal workers. The straw that breaks the camel’s back is the total sell-out to the republicans on the hastily done tax cut extension issue. He turned his back on the top priority of his campaign, reducing the size of the federal budget deficit. So, what does he do? He gives the republicans a two-year extension of tax cuts for the top 2%, caves on the inheritance tax, he got beat down by 20% on the rate and 5 million dollars on the amount. In return, he got a 12 month 2% cut in payroll tax and a 13 month extension of unemployment benefits for those expiring now. There is nothing in there for the “99’s”, the unemployed people whose benefits expired already. Remember his idea of deficit reduction? With agreeing to this joke of a proposal, he has added another 900 billion dollars to the deficit. Now he has joined the republicans who really don’t give a shit about the country beyond the next two years.

I’m actually shocked by President Obama’s reaction to progressive thought on these subjects. He angrily challenged the liberals in Congress to give in to their ideology and do “what’s right” for America’s middle class. Who is he to lecture the liberals about ideology and doing the right thing. Where is he on DADT? That’s civil rights violations perpetrated by the government. How about freezing government workers pay? Does he not think this affects their lives? How about the next generation of Americans? The ones that the President is partnered with the republicans to straddle them with an economy suffocating deficit. I think it’s time for the President to start thinking about dancing with instead of against the ones that got him there. It’s not too late to right the ship. The republicans, in spite of John Boner’s non-stop sobbing, are mean rotten to the core people. That are against anything that is designed or proposed to help the human condition of Americans. America will side with the President if he starts fighting for fairness and equity in our society again. He needs to be the source of strength to guide the progressive agenda back where it should be, taking care of the poor and the middle class and stop pandering top Wall Street and Corporate America. He needs help. He needs Tom Daschle or even Byron Dorgan in the west wing. He needs professionals that can guide him. Howard Dean must be put in a leadership role, either as head of the DNC or in the White House. When Gates steps down at DOD, Hilary Clinton should move to that position. She has been a fantastic Secretary of State and can bring that positive success to a bloated pentagon. How about placing Colin Powell back at State? Anyway, the President needs to get more involved in Washington so that he will know how to back up his positions. The republicans push him around because he doesn’t understand how Washington works. If he “gets it”, he’ll be fine and should easily win re-election in 2012, especially when one considers just how bare the shelves are for viable republican candidates. That’s the way I see it today, thanks for the read and I look forward to your comments.
Cam Obert

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S IGNORANCE AND NAIVETE…

December 13, 2010

…has spread to the Senate Democrats. I believe they are completely ignorant of the economic prospects for the future of our country and they have completely misjudged the feeling of the public when it comes to the tax extension compromise, no, I meant the cave in by the President to the republicans.

Some economists are saying the framework of this proposed bill will have a “mild stimulative” effect on the near future, next year or so, to the tune of a potential bump in GDP of about 1% and about a million jobs added during that time. I believe the thinking by the President is if he can get a boost, though only temporary, to the economy and reduction in unemployment, that will be enough for him to win re-election in 2012. Conservative columnist and known “Obama Hater” Charles Krauthammer believes this is the case as well. By his thinking, the President snookered the republicans by getting the economy turn-around to claim as his own, therefore a win in the next election.

Because the republicans, particularly the extreme right-wing control the message in the country, they are already starting to label the deficit, with its almost 900 billion dollar addition thanks to this tax extension, as Obama and the Democrats responsibility. So, unless the Democrats can wrestle control of the message in this country away from the right-wing, Obama and the Democrats are toast in 2012.

Talk about hypocrisy! For the last year, the Democrats have railed about the huge deficit and the harm of not reducing it. They have even made a little progress. President Obama was left with a deficit of 1.43 trillion dollars by his predecessor and he has reduced that to 1.3 trillion after his first budget. Not much, but it’s a start. After the Democrats got bludgeoned in the mid-term elections, the Democrats, led by the President have changed their message to immediate economic measures for visible improvement for re-election purposes. They have taken a the headline page right out of the republicans playbook. We are over a week since the President’s proclamation that he can’t compete with the republicans at the negotiating table. Now he is acting shocked by the whole Democratic House caucus virtually saying they are opposed to the “compromise cave-in” by the President and the Senate Democratic leadership.

The President and the republicans have all misread the desires of the American people. Exit polling in November proved the people do not favor the extension of tax cuts for the top 2% of wage earners. The break-down is as follows; Democrats are 81% opposed to the tax cut extension for the wealthy, Independents are 68% opposed to that extension, and even republican voters by 52% are opposed to the measure. A CBS national poll a couple of weeks ago showed 67% of Americans are opposed to extending the cut-rate for the top 2% of income earners! So this begs the question; Who are Mitch McChinless and John Boner listening to? They obviously are not listening to their own constituencies. The polls reveal that fact. Isn’t it painfully obvious the constituency of the republican party is Wall Street and Corporate America? Those entities, led by the Chamber of Commerce and the SCOTUS Citizens United ruling, are taking charge of the governance of the United States. The President has the executive branch, majority in the Senate, and majority in the House. He claims he can’t get his agenda done because the republicans keep stopping him. He has the power and doesn’t know how to use it. Instead of fighting for what’s right, he simply gives in for expediency sake since January first is looming on the horizon.

How did this mess get to this point? Simple. The Democratic Party decided earlier in the year to table the tax extension debate until after the election. This was a huge mistake. A year ago, the Democrats should have started bringing bills for a vote knowing the republicans would oppose them or filibuster them. Simple solution, make the republicans bring their version of the bill to the floor for a vote. The Democrats would have had ample time to vilify the contents of the bill simply by painting it as more hand outs to the rich. Even if a bill came forward to the White House, the President has the power of the veto pen. The Democrats should have thrown it back on the republicans, force them to join in the governing of the country, and then prove how out of step with America they are. It’s not too difficult to prove loud and clear the constituents of the republican party reside on Wall Street and in board rooms. I’m still trying to figure out why Americans haven’t figured this out on their own. Why do I have to tell them? The really surprising thing is, where are the Tea-Baggers? The Tea-Bag movement is about individual and states’ rights. How can they sit by the side and watch as the big corporations in America are taking control of how America will be governed and watch our democracy erode until the country does become the third-world country it’s heading toward. The middle class, the once strong backbone of the country, keeps shrinking. The top 2% of the population controls about 70% of the wealth, and the percentage of families living under the poverty line is now about 14% and growing.

Now, via the gift the President and the republicans in Congress, are giving the top 2%, they have two more years to accumulate wealth at an accelerated pace. I find it fascinating that nobody seems to understand that tax cuts do nothing for the economy. Since they started in 2001, the country has gone from a 200 billion dollar budget surplus to a 1.43 billion dollar deficit. Also since that time, the economy has tanked, we’ve suffered through a record number of bankruptcies, a record number of home foreclosures, and record number of small business failures, and a sky rocketing number of unemployed workers. At the same time this phenonenen is occurring, the top 2% of income earners are getting wealthier and wealthier. The gap between the rich and poor is growing at an alarmingly fast pace. Our balance of wealth in the population is starting to look more and more like that of Uganda! This is not a good situation.

The republicans tired old line for the past ten years is that the country needs these tax cuts to spur business growth. As I cited earlier, it doesn’t work. The owners of the businesses that make more than a quarter million dollars in profit, about one half of one percent of the population, the corporate CEO’s and CFO’s, big attorneys, doctors, hedge fund managers, etc. take that tax break given them and put it in the bank. These people are not job creators, nor are the spenders, their savers. There is currently over three trillion dollars in cash laying in the accounts of American business and banks not being used for business growth. The republicans and the Chamber of Commerce say they are hesitant to spend the money because of the unknown nature of the tax cut extension. Well, they only got a two-year extension, so I guess that means they will continue to bank the money because they are unsure of what’s going to happen in 2012. This is simply bullshit! They have no intention to grow or invest in their businesses. They simply want to keep the cash, and welcome the extra free cash courtesy of the unfunded tax breaks.

The economy is headed for a hard fall. If this package goes through as written, it is going to add about 900 billion to the deficit. What happened to the outcry about the deficit that ultimately is going to crush the country’s economy. When China starts calling in the loans, the United States will be brought to its knees. What do the republicans and the President have to say about that?

This false deadline of the new year coming and the taxes going up is a non-issue. The House needs to dig in their heels and not give. Obama’s line about the good of the 98% of the people is bullshit. Congress, when a bill is finalized and approved, can write it retroactive to the first. That’s why this whole dog and pony show is crap. It’s political theater that’s bombing at the box office. These people are playing politics with this issue and ignoring the morality of its passage and the consequences. That free money being given to the top 2% is immoral. It does not help the country in the least and only and to the gap between the rich and the poor.

There is no doubt the country’s tax codes need to be re-written. They need to be simpler, they need to be rigid enough to eliminate loop holes, and across the board scaled to income. By simplifying and toughening the codes, the tax rates will indeed be lower for everyone by virtue of the elimination of loop holes and fraud. Now, we need politicians that have the spine to go after the tax system, without the influence of K Street, the Chamber of Commerce, the unions, and the Citizens United ruling. Part of tax code re-writing will need to include legislation that will make the Citizens United ruling void.

These are complex issues that became more difficult because a dysfunctional White House and spineless leadership in the Senate and the DNC. The President needs to move the rest of the “Chicago gang” out of the White House and bring in people who know and understand Washington. The DNC needs to be re-charged and start trying to get the message back from Fox News and the extreme right. They need a strong emotional leader that has an understanding of national politics, Governor Howard Dean comes to mind. That’s my view of things, my message has not changed since late spring of 2009. I’ve been consistent and I’ve been disappointed that the White House won’t listen to me. Thanks for today’s read and I look forward to reading your comments.
Cam Obert

SHOULD OBAMA GET “PRIMARIED” IN 2012?

December 8, 2010

First, let me acknowledge the positives of the Obama national experience. In 2007 and 2008, Barack Obama energy, oratory skills, his progressive vision, and his engaging personality ignited an enthusiasm in this country that hasn’t been seen since the “New Frontier” days of Camelot with John Kennedy. It came at a time when George W. Bush had driven the mood of the country into the ground with a fast failing economy, two unpaid for imperialistic occupations of sovereign countries, and massive problems with a corrupt administration. Heck, I was such a big fan, guests to my home are greeted by a framed picture of President Obama captioned “Change Can Happen” on the wall of my entry foyer.

Then the governing of the country from the executive branch began in January of 2009. Admittedly, he faced monumental challenges. The economy was racing to a total depression, with no plan to stop it. Bush’s parting gift was the passage of TARP, which slowed the slide a little, unfortunately it was for Wall Street only and the CEO’s took advantage of the three page document to feather their own beds. The Justice Department under Obama recognized what was going on and had to make the effort to get all the money back. In the three page document, there was no accountability written into it, so greed is what it is! Big bonuses, new million dollar offices, etc. got through the loopholes.

President Obama then pushed for the passage of the Stimulus Bill. This was a bill originally designed to stimulate the economy into fast turn around and job creation, primarily through tax credits for small businesses, infrastructure updating, with private and public job growth. Obama wanted a small tax cut, less than 25% and after being bullied by the republicans, he gave in and replaced tax credits and job growth with almost 40% of the bill going to unaccounted for tax cuts. After passage, Obama simply said he was bothered by the republican re-write of the bill.

Next came the ill-timed work on the health care reform bill. I love the concept of health care reform, and firmly believe the only answer to sanity on this a single payer national health care system, and I probably will not be satisfied until we have that. That was ted Kennedy’s dream and it should have been fought for, but it wasn’t. In fact, it wasn’t even drafted or written by the leader, President Obama, he casually tossed it off to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to “come up with something”. Pelosi responded, the house put together a great proposal that really followed Obama’s own desires he had expressed in the campaign. Harry Reid, being the spineless wimp he is, couldn’t figure things out so Max Baucus came in to help. Together they took months to get something put together. I will say, both the House and Senate leaders said the White House was virtually absent in the whole process. When the White House was asked for guidance, it took long periods of time for responses. That’s no way to pass landmark legislation, do you think Lyndon Johnson would have done it that way? With all of the fumble-fucking around by the Senate and White House, the right-wing began asking questions and demanding answers. They weren’t getting them and thus the start of the birthers, the Tea-Bagger movement, and the town hall meeting disruptionists. I firmly believe this is where the President and the Democratic party lost control of the message. The republicans and especially the extreme right with Fox News has controlled the message since this time. Imagine that! The Dems have the White House, the Senate, and the House, and the republicans are in charge! Anyway, back to the subject. The first thing to go in the negotiations with the republicans on the health care reform bill was the single-payer aspect. The first thing thrown out! This is what Obama campaigned on! The message. After the agreement was final, the CBO scored the bill a winner for the economy. The first decade will save the taxpayers 100 billion dollars and by the end of the second decade the savings will be one trillion dollars. The republicans have lied about this and have vilified this bill, they control the message, and now America is about split on the merit of the bill. It should be overwhelmingly received and approved by the public!

President Obama ran on overturning the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy regarding gays serving openly in the military within his first year. As we near the second year of his term, the policy is still in place. With the endorsement of the Secretary of Defense Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullin for repeal, the President still sits on it.

President Obama has played the republicans hand in Afghanistan as well. He has tripled the troop numbers there since taking office. As the U.S. personnel fatalities grow and certainly the thousands of innocent Afghani and Pakistani fatalities grow, now there is talk in Washington of 2014 as the new “start to pull out date”. Remember, it was originally 2011. The President just keeps digging himself into a deeper and deeper hole with the Democrats and Independents.

Now we have this week’s cave in on the extension of the Bush tax cuts, the unfunded Bush tax cuts. The main contributor to the 1.43 trillion dollar deficit Obama inherited in 2009. He campaigned on never extending tax cuts for the top 2% of income earners in the country. But, because he and the rest of the gutless Democrats earlier in the year, before the mid-terms, didn’t deal with it, he got jammed in at the last-minute. Had the issue been brought up and argued/negotiated the Democrats could have shown the republicans for what they are, shills for Corporate America. They had the opportunity to prove the negative value of extending the tax cuts for that top 2%. It will add another 700 billion dollars to the deficit. They never took advantage of that. Now that Obama simply quit, gave away the farm so to speak, he gave so much away that the new cost he has added to the deficit is 900 billion dollars! The reason why this is so bad in my opinion other than what it is going to do for our economy and the deficit, is the fact the republicans played him perfectly ands got everything they want, damn near all of it bad for the U.S. economy.

President Obama has two years to turn it around now in what’s going to be a much tougher Congress and a continued failing economy. I hope he can find the answers, but if he can’t, we have two hopes. Sarah Palin gets the GOP nomination in 2012 or the Democrats find a firebrand progressive that will stand up for the ever dissolving middle class and the ever-expanding lower class. Hang in there with me, there will be more coming in the near future on this matter but, for today, thanks for your read and I look forward to your comments.


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