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Old 10-19-2007, 04:15 AM   #21
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innocent japanese-Americans being sent to "internment camps".
Michelle Malkin, a primary engine behind the aggressive anti-Frost campaign is the author of a 2004(?) book called "In Defense of Internment" - about that very subject and what a great idea it was!!

She's also continually freaked out about immigration, despite the fact that she herself has parents from the Philippines (with, some have said, an 'obscure' immigration record, making it quite possible she is one of the "anchor babies" she goes nuts about). This would all be pretty irrelevant if she stuck to her blog.. but she's on FOX quite often, and we saw the hand of a Republican senator's office in the propagation of her inaccurate accusations about the Frost family among more still more bloggers and media contacts... After having worked to disseminate the unsubstantiated Frost "charges", this senator [McConnell]'s office then backtracked, saying "the family is legit," (oops! too late!) and then (of course) denied having issued both the rumors and the retraction!

Not that I want to waste time defending Malkin (and I haven't read her book), but I wonder whether her Filipina roots lend her a certain animus against the Japanese; I recall reading something about terrible Japanese atrocities committed in the Phillipines. Yep.. FD, I think most of us are woefully under-educated in terms of history, both political history and world history...

--
As far as "spending" vs. "investing".. that's a very interesting point about Clinton.. There are plenty of Republican "framing" switcheroos ("estate tax" became "death tax", preying on the fact that EVERYone dies, yet very few leave an "estate" worth taxing). But to get back to "investing".. Clinton was a very centrist Democrat, which people seem to forget. NAFTA anyone? Welfare reform? and b.) he was nowhere near the big spender Bush is.

Quote:
Total real discretionary outlays will increase about 35.8 percent under Bush (FY2001-06) while they increased by 25.2 percent under LBJ (FY1964-69) and 11.9 percent under Reagan (FY1981-86). By contrast, they decreased by 16.5 under Nixon (FY1969-74) and by 8.2 percent under Clinton (FY1993-98). Comparing Bush to his predecessors is instructive. Bush and Reagan both substantially increased defense spending (by 44.5 and 34.8 percent respectively). However, Reagan cut real nondefense discretionary outlays by 11.1 percent while Bush increased them by 27.9 percent. Clinton and Nixon both raised nondefense spending (by 1.9 percent and 23.1 respectively), but they both cut defense spending substantially (by 16.8 and 32.2 percent).
Reason Magazine - Bush the Budget Buster

Anyway, it's funny this is being brought up at this precise moment, because it was exactly the topic of yesterday's exch. w/RWS. Is an oil co. subsidy/tax break a "handout" (me) or an "investment" (rws)? Are student loans an "investment" (me) or a "handout" (rws). She sees a distinction between a tax break (good) and a subsidy (bad, esp. if not for some preferred industry of hers). I don't.

It's kind of like that optical illusion where you either see a vase, or two profiles!! Some people can see both; the rest can only see one or the other exclusively, and never "get" the flip side. I may not always succeed, but I want to try to be able to see both.

gotta go.. RWS jes' sent me another Malkin link!!
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Old 10-19-2007, 07:45 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by ladelfina View Post
As far as "spending" vs. "investing".. that's a very interesting point about Clinton.. There are plenty of Republican "framing" switcheroos ("estate tax" became "death tax", preying on the fact that EVERYone dies, yet very few leave an "estate" worth taxing).

Are student loans an "investment" (me) or a "handout" (rws). She sees a distinction between a tax break (good) and a subsidy (bad, esp. if not for some preferred industry of hers). I don't.
I'm not interested in defending the Reps (or the Dems), but I actually do think the term 'Death Tax' is much more to the point than 'Estate Tax'. IMO, it is 'Estate Tax' that is trying to disguise the fact.

An Estate Tax is non-voluntarily triggered by death. Yes, there is a large 'standard deduction', many do no not pay anything - but that doesn't change the fact that it is triggered by death.

Income tax also has a standard deduction, and many do no not pay anything. So is that term a framing and a 'switcheroo'?

If the govt was spending wisely, almost all of it could be viewed as an 'investment'.

Are student loans an investment or handout? I don't know. Off the top of my head they probably do a lot of good so I'd say 'investment'. Even those of us that do not qualify directly may see a benefit from living in a more educated society. But I'd need to see a breakdown and analysis to know if that is correct or just a 'feel good' justification. Like the "DARE" program.

Subsidies - Robert Reich (Clinton's Sec of Labor) said something to the effect that subsidies should only be granted if there is clear benefit to the general public *and* there is not sufficient reward/risk to encourage a company to fill that need on their own. I think it makes sense to apply that logic to all govt activity.

-ERD50
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Old 10-19-2007, 09:16 AM   #23
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tax names---
Hmm.. but you wouldn't call the income tax a "life" tax, though it is 'triggered' being your being alive. You pay income tax on income, estate tax on an estate; it's not like a liquor tax or a gas tax -- a tax everyone has to pay universally. (For the privilege of being allowed to die?)

I agree that the logic you cite from Reich is compelling. But I fear we've really lost the sense of a moral or ethical compass whether in spending or in saving.

I would love -point blank- less government spending, which could easily happen if we did, indeed, spend wisely. When I see spending happening nontheless, I do have a soft spot for spending on people and small business rather than catering only to big business interests.

What used to be a government "of the people, by the people, for the people" has become a government "of business, by business, for business" to an ever greater extent, and the process of funneling wealth to the top is growing. I think we are already seeing, economically, diminishing returns in this trend.

And frankly it doesn't have all that much to do with a capitalist system vs. a socialist or communist one. Here in Italy there are very rich entrenched powers too, that will never be unseated in my lifetime, and while workers are unionized, pay is fairly low for most; this in turn stunts the economy just as surely as does Wal*Mart's racing to the bottom in the US.

I see that what the Bush government and the Prodi government both do best is to effectively channel public tax money to their private rich friends, not all that different from Putin or Mugabe. It's not a process that any particular ideology has cornered the market on.
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Old 10-19-2007, 08:02 PM   #24
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Once more I see the 'eye of the beholder' here.
Government subsidies did not start with Bush or the republicans. Farm subsidies, mostly to large business, Airlines, Rail Roads, Auto Industry, the list goes on. They existed before the Roosevelt administration, and most likely started in the Washington administration. I am not that much of a historian to swear to when Government began giving subsidies to business.

And just for the record, it is not Bush, Clinton, Ford or any other president that pushes these subsidies. It is congress. Congress appropriates the cash. I have never figured out why it is the President that gets credit or cursed for spending too much. It was not President Bush that spent $250M for a bridge to nowhere in Alaska. You could argue Bush could have, and I think, should have vetoed more Republican spending bills but it is still Congress that passes the bill and under the constitution is responsible. And Congress is paying off constituents from home.
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Old 10-20-2007, 08:34 AM   #25
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Right, Rustic 23.. There's some sense to the "constituents from home".. but all subsidies are not created equal. When there were more people actually involved in farming and manufacturing favorable treatment might help that industry grow, with its "trickle down" effects. But the world is a bit different today. As an example, the mechanization and aggregation of farms means farm subsidies no longer assist a large community of "family farms" and workers, but put money into the pockets of ADM or Con-Agra, who don't exactly need our "handouts" any longer.

Maybe it's my imagination, but it used to be that politicians -sure- tried to bring home populist pork for their district, but I had the sense that more people shared at the feast and got crumbs from the table. Now it seems they respond not so much to the aggregate citizenry, but to the ever-more-concentrated lobbying power of big capital like in the oil, insurance and pharmaceutical realms. Many pieces of legislation are WRITTEN word-for-word by industry lobbyists. Bush COULD have shown himself a "prudent" leader in vetoing any number of crazy spending bills, but he didn't. Every bridge-to-nowhere was tied in to a "terror" bill, and he went for years without ever vetoing anything; the only vetos he's into now are the ones that might help an individual (and we can't have that!).

I don't defend Congress; the reason they have an even lower approval rating than Bush nowadays is that I think people voted for change, and have been largely disappointed on many fronts.
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Old 10-20-2007, 08:49 AM   #26
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ladelfina, I think if you looked at any point in history, you would hear the same complaints.

Standard Oil, the RailRoads, Coal Miners, Textiles, Meat Packers, etc,

I agree on that Congress is a huge part of the current problem, and I do criticize Bush for not using that Veto power.

Doesn't the prez, in effect have 'line item veto' power? If I were in that position, I'd veto a bill, spell out what I won't accept and let them fix and resubmit. And use the press to get my points out to the people to get support (if deserved). Over-rides are pretty tough. I don't understand why presidents have complained that they need 'line item veto' power?

I wouldn't want to give it to them anyhow. They could strike the 'how are we going to pay for this' part, and pass the benefit part. A bill should encompass everything on an issue, but not drag other issues into it, like pork.

Oh well, I think I see a windmill out on the horizon....

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Old 10-20-2007, 09:08 AM   #27
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In the case of the veto, the press makes a big difference. Clinton vetoed some republican spending bill, and the republican congress got the blame for shutting down government. Can you imagine if bush vetoed a defense bill who would get the blame for not funding the troops.

Check today's Bob Novak column Museum pork goes on display :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Robert Novak. If the president vetoes a bill because of say Hilliary's museum, he will be accused of vetoing, if it is attached to say a Medicare bill, elderly health care. Even though he spells out it was the pork he was vetoing. This stuff goes on all the time in congress, and the press uses it as a filler on slow news days. Until we start voting the seated representative/senator out of office in their primaries, we will never put an end to this. I say in their primaries so a dem could replace a dem and a rep a rep. They get away with this cr@p because we let them!

Ladelfina: The Dems controlled the house and the senate from Eisenhower to Clinton, and things didn't change then. As I said it is not the President, according to the Constitution, that holds the purse strings. The Dems promised a new day on earmarks. Democratic voters should be outraged!
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Old 10-20-2007, 09:27 AM   #28
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Yes - the bills should only include aspects directly related to the meat of a particular matter. There has been and always will be "horse trading" and an amount of that is good, but not to the extent of dumping myriad unrelated things into the same bill.

What I would like to see also is more systematic plain-language coverage of bills pending, bills voted on, and voting records in daily papers and on the TV, instead of the out-of-context way things are now presented. When you read the sports section there's analysis and opinion, but they always find room for the scores!! How is it that sports are taken more seriously than the running of the government?

I would make this a mandatory part of every broadcast license so that basic coverage is not ghettoized on C-SPAN (which unless you are really into it, is mind-numbing). The Jeffersonian argument for public education is that an ignorant population cannot self-govern.

Since many "journalists" have given up being serious, we are left with are not the arguments, but the meta-arguments. If you were to only look at the Mainstream Media, it appears we're less worried about ACTUAL war casualties and health coverage and energy policy than about what person X SAYS about it, whether they used bad language, whether they wore a flag lapel pin at the time, what kind of car they were driving, how much their hairdresser was paid, etc. (To say nothing of Paris, Brittney, Natalee, etc.) Those are the easier, 'fun' things to follow, I guess; no poring through committee reports or boring legal documents and court opinions.

The newspaper/TV/radio ownership keeps declining in diversity and independence. Alternate sources are "the blogs" and other online enterprises.. but these are sneered at in the mainstream press. Yes, their quality and attendibility varies wildly, but I don't think anyone is really happy with the attendibility and integrity of Judy "Aspens" Miller, Brit Hume, Katie Couric or Neil Cavuto either.

This is an interesting poster:
Death and Taxes 2008 Poster - $24.95 : ..., The Entire Federal Government... in 6 Square Feet


Rustic23 .. I AM outraged!!!

(but Novak is a slimeball and himself part of the problem)
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Old 10-20-2007, 03:33 PM   #29
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I have seen that poster before..... are earmarks and pork on it? I did not find that catagory.
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Old 10-20-2007, 06:04 PM   #30
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Right, it only expresses totals without breakdowns (I guess that would be, not the 6 sq. ft. poster. but the 600 sq. ft poster). Earmarks and pork are in it, but hidden. And again, someone's yummy pork is another's cruel, likely hormone-ridden, poison. I wonder if the off-the-books ("black") spending for the CIA/NSA etc. is included. Unlikely; these are the "official" figures as given.

I just thought it was at least a helpful start. It should be in every school as a jumping-off point for the un-initiated, pork or no pork.
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