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 Post subject: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:07 am 
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I've missed every single one of them, thanks to having moved to a new house, and not having cable hooked up yet. That said, I've been following the news and my Twitter feed religiously. Bill, what's your take on the lot of them? (Imagine what 11 people will be like on stage if Palin and some other guy I've been hearing rumors about jump in).

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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:54 pm 
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I've been having a hard time getting interested. Primaries don't start for several months. It's so much about money right now. It's like a pre-primary where you have to pay to vote. I'm not a tea party guy. I wasn't even upset on principle about Obamacare. I'm just a fiscal conservative, strong-defense, pro-science, anti-gun-control, separated-church-and-state, don't-tax-the-crap-out-of-the-middle-class republican. Who should be my candidate?

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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:04 am 
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Jason Rees wrote:

I've missed every single one of them, thanks to having moved to a new house, and not having cable hooked up yet. That said, I've been following the news and my Twitter feed religiously. Bill, what's your take on the lot of them? (Imagine what 11 people will be like on stage if Palin and some other guy I've been hearing rumors about jump in).


I've only watched pieces and parts of them. I'm only moderately interested in all the hot air that's being thrown around in these debates.

To start with... I am not a fan of "right vs. left" politics. I tend to judge candidates via the Nolan Chart, which measures political views independently along economic and social dimensions (liberty vs. security). Here's a good example of it.

Image

Basically here's what I know that matters to date:

  • Romney was the front runner, but no longer. Rick Perry has come in and immediately (for the time being) leaped ahead of everyone in the polls. Basically both of them carry weight because they both are/were governors, and so have executive experience (unlike the community-organizer-in-chief). Romney is a political chameleon who can't make up his mind on issues like abortion, gay marriage, and healthcare. He was more socially and economically liberal when governor of MA, and then "found Jesus" with all the classic Republican positions when deciding to run for President. Perry is a fiscal conservative with slight leanings to social conservatism (religious right). He's a proponent of allowing the teaching of Intelligent Design (sic), and has gotten beaten up by the radical religious right for signing a bill making Gadasil vaccines a requirement for adolescent girls (the HPV vaccine). I personally have a problem with both of them because they can be weather vanes in the winds of politics.
    ...
  • Michelle Backmann has also been getting a lot of attention. She is the current chair of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus, which is how she's been getting attention in opinion polls.
    ...
  • Since Perry has come to the debates, Romney and Backmann have been all over him, trying to end his honeymoon with the public in opinion polls. Both Romney and Perry claim to have created jobs in their states. Probably the best exchange to date is Perry telling Romney that he created fewer jobs than Dukakis when he was governor, to which Romney said Perry created fewer jobs than George W Bush when he was governor.
    ...
  • Ron Paul - a true libertarian - has the most faithful following in audiences and gets the loudest applause when he speaks. But he falls apart when saying more than a few lines. He hasn't yet learned how to put his ideology in a package palatable to the average potential Republican candidate voter.
    ...
  • Newt Gingrich comes across as the most eloquent and intelligent of the group. But he brings a lot of political and personal baggage to a campaign, and hasn't yet built a significant campaign warchest.
    ...
  • John Huntsman - former governor of Utah and ambassador to China under Obama - is considered a dark horse in the crowd. He has "the right stuff" but hasn't yet gotten the attention of potential voters in opinion polls.
    ...
  • Herman Cain is significant in being highly intelligent (former mathematician), a businessman, media personality, and black. So far however he hasn't gotten the attention of potential voters in opinion polls.
    ...
  • Gary Johnson is a former governor of New Mexico, and a classic libertarian. So far no traction in the opinion polls yet, and probably won't be because (like Ron Paul) the Religious Right don't like him.

That's the "skinny" list. There are more (former LA governor Buddy Roemer, former PA Senator Rick Santorum, etc.), but they aren't yet worth mentioning.

It's also worth mentioning that Bob McDonnell, governor of Virginia and now RNC chairman, has let it be known that he'll accept a nomination for Republican running mate.

mhosea wrote:

I've been having a hard time getting interested. Primaries don't start for several months. It's so much about money right now. It's like a pre-primary where you have to pay to vote. I'm not a tea party guy. I wasn't even upset on principle about Obamacare. I'm just a fiscal conservative, strong-defense, pro-science, anti-gun-control, separated-church-and-state, don't-tax-the-crap-out-of-the-middle-class republican. Who should be my candidate?


I say sit tight and wait until it's down to just a handful of candidates. We don't yet know what their plans are, other than they won't suk like Obama. And frankly that's not hard to do.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:12 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
I've only watched pieces and parts of them. I'm only moderately interested in all the hot air that's being thrown around in these debates.

To start with... I am not a fan of "right vs. left" politics.


Unfortunately, today more than ever it seems like left and right have congealed behind the Democrats and the Republicans, respectively. Ezra Klein and others have written about this quite a bit recently.

I don't have a horse in this race. I do think the press exercises far too much influence over who gets their message out. Bachmann was their easy target, so she got alot of attention, which may have propelled her status in the race, until the press smelled a bigger fish to fry when Perry jumped in. Meanwhile, interesting candidates like Herman Cain, and less charismatic candidates like Huntsman, get left out in the cold by and large.

Romney doesn't interest me. He never has. Forget whether or not he wears magic underwear, or how much influence the Mormon Church might exercise, or how much it might benefit under his presidency. The guy hasn't found a position he hasn't seen both sides of and liked.

The knee-jerk reflexion towards know-nothingism in the Republican Party (and the Tea Party) disturbs me. Certain candidates are taking advantage of this. Historically, and recently, demagoguery has not proven beneficial. Is it possible to have a President who both inspires and informs? Color me doubtful at this point. I'd settle for four years sans embarrassments.


Quote:
Probably the best exchange to date is Perry telling Romney that he created fewer jobs than Dukakis when he was governor, to which Romney said Perry created fewer jobs than George W Bush when he was governor.


That exchange got A LOT of traction in the Blogosphere and Twitterverse.

Quote:
Ron Paul - a true libertarian - has the most faithful following in audiences and gets the loudest applause when he speaks. But he falls apart when saying more than a few lines. He hasn't yet learned how to put his ideology in a package palatable to the average potential Republican candidate voter.


It's not his domestic policy that bothers me. It's the pre-WWII know-nothing ideology dressed up as foreign policy that makes me dread Ron Paul gaining traction.

Quote:
Newt Gingrich comes across as the most eloquent and intelligent of the group. But he brings a lot of political and personal baggage to a campaign, and hasn't yet built a significant campaign warchest.


He should have changed his name. President Newt, anyone? His baggage is wrapped around his neck and chained to more weight than he'll ever carry. I'm glad he's in the debates to harass the press, but he's going nowhere.

Quote:
John Huntsman - former governor of Utah and ambassador to China under Obama - is considered a dark horse in the crowd. He has "the right stuff" but hasn't yet gotten the attention of potential voters in opinion polls.


He hasn't 'shined' in the debates, and I doubt the press will let him. He's painful to watch. His face undergoes more contortions per minute than Gore's did during one debate with GWB. And I've only seen snippets and recaps at work.

Quote:
Herman Cain is significant in being highly intelligent (former mathematician), a businessman, media personality, and black. So far however he hasn't gotten the attention of potential voters in opinion polls.


What would it do to the convention of Republicans-as-racists, if they elected a real black man to the Oval Office who wasn't an empty suit? I don't think for a minute the MSM would allow it.

Quote:
Gary Johnson is a former governor of New Mexico, and a classic libertarian. So far no traction in the opinion polls yet, and probably won't be because (like Ron Paul) the Religious Right don't like him.


I don't know anything about Gary Johnson, and unfortunately, Libertarians don't seem to make inroads among Republicans or Democrats. They need to re-cast some of their positions, finding an answer for the War on Drugs and other things, where complete repeal or legalization is neither practical, pragmatic, or desirable.

SP is coming close to her make-or-break point. She needs to announce soon if she's going to do it. The NYT of all places has actually given her two huge breaks lately, coming down hard on the hit job that is coming out this month from that wierdo who moved in next door to her, and in a column praising her speech that came down hard on political favors. If she gets much more traction, I'm willing to bet her numbers might improve.

I'm also seeing alot of tease from the direction of Marco Rubio. Possibly both are waiting for the field to winnow down a little?

Currently POTUS enjoys a statistical win against all the RNC candidates, but if the economy holds the way it is, that will change.

mhosea wrote:

I've been having a hard time getting interested. Primaries don't start for several months. It's so much about money right now. It's like a pre-primary where you have to pay to vote. I'm not a tea party guy. I wasn't even upset on principle about Obamacare. I'm just a fiscal conservative, strong-defense, pro-science, anti-gun-control, separated-church-and-state, don't-tax-the-crap-out-of-the-middle-class republican. Who should be my candidate?


I'm confused how a fiscal conservative isn't upset about 'Obamacare' on principle. What does pro-science entail? Believing in man-made global warming? Enacting economically damaging policies to counteract it? Joining the Darwinism cult of New Atheism? How separated do Church and State have to be? Why does the Middle Class enjoy such protection in politics these days, when so many people fall below it (and so many falling out of it)? Can we not drop class warfare altogether? Tax each proportionately?

These aren't attacks, I'm just sorting through what you wrote. I'm all for a candidate who understands science AND ethics, and uses them as tools for understanding and influencing the world to make it a better place. I don't want to see religion used as a bludgeon, and I don't like seeing religious folk made to feel like they're not welcome in their own country, or that their way of life is under attack. It tends to breed a bunker mentality that only intensifies the negative. Obviously tax reforms are needed, and I'm frustrated with the party that accuses the other of being the party of no presenting no plan on how to fix the things that need fixing. If that didn't make sense, maybe it's the flexeril I just took to help the back spasms that sent me home from work tonight.

Quote:
I say sit tight and wait until it's down to just a handful of candidates.
- Bill


Good advice. Let's hope the best men really are left standing.

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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 5:46 pm 
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Jason Rees wrote:
I'm confused how a fiscal conservative isn't upset about 'Obamacare' on principle. What does pro-science entail? Believing in man-made global warming? Enacting economically damaging policies to counteract it? Joining the Darwinism cult of New Atheism? How separated do Church and State have to be? Why does the Middle Class enjoy such protection in politics these days, when so many people fall below it (and so many falling out of it)? Can we not drop class warfare altogether? Tax each proportionately?

These aren't attacks, I'm just sorting through what you wrote. I'm all for a candidate who understands science AND ethics, and uses them as tools for understanding and influencing the world to make it a better place. I don't want to see religion used as a bludgeon, and I don't like seeing religious folk made to feel like they're not welcome in their own country, or that their way of life is under attack. It tends to breed a bunker mentality that only intensifies the negative. Obviously tax reforms are needed, and I'm frustrated with the party that accuses the other of being the party of no presenting no plan on how to fix the things that need fixing. If that didn't make sense, maybe it's the flexeril I just took to help the back spasms that sent me home from work tonight.


I meant these as labels only in the weakest possible way--not as the membership cards I carry but as a lead-in for what I really think if you care to know. But some of them might be clear enough on the surface to rule out some candidates. I am a fiscal conservative because I think deficit spending is evil. I might be persuaded that it is a necessary evil from time to time but not year-after-year, decade-after-decade with a glittering exception here and there. I do not mean the government should not collect taxes and spend money. By my reckoning, if you want to spend more money overall, you need to raise your income. If the economy doesn't grow enough for you, higher taxes are on the table. I don't want them, but I don't want my government pretending that we can have our cake and eat it, too. That's what "fiscal conservative" means to me.

What I meant about Obamacare was on the principle of federally-mandated health insurance. Apparently, some people think this is a bad thing in and of itself. The fiscal consideration is a pragmatic one that I specifically meant to exclude by the phrase "on principle". I can see constitutional arguments against. The courts will sort that out, and my opinion on that aspect simply doesn't matter. I happen to live in a state that requires everyone to have health insurance. The sky has not fallen. I will not be directing my vote the next president based on anger over Obamacare.

By "separation of church and state" I was not referring to the ACLU-assisted efforts to eradicate the mostly benign forensic evidence of our historical Christian culture in government. I was likewise not intending to support the unconstitutional efforts by some to withhold government resources from religious groups because they are religious, when those resources would have been provided to a group formed for a secular purpose. Rather, I meant that I am against theocracy. Perhaps anti-theocracy is one of my few remaining ideologies. Having grown up in the bible belt, the threat of moving in that direction does not seem very abstract to me.

Pro-science means that I think government-funded research is basically a good thing. The Hubble is a good thing, for example. I really don't care to get involved with the embryonic stem cell research debate. From a scientific point of view, considering all the things that need to be studied, that is a marginal context. I am pro-life, personally, but I feel that this is not a useful issue for choosing a president, which is why I didn't mention it.

As for taxation, I was referring to the efforts by Republicans nowadays to protect the rich from marginal tax increases, which I suspect will inevitably result in disproportionately higher taxation of the middle and upper-middle or lower-upper classes. In fact we can talk about tax structure if you want, though I don't see much relevance to the choice of president, as I expect them all to accomplish little to make it fairer. I'm not sure what you meant by "proportional", but FWIW, I do not think it is fair to tax everyone with the same flat percentage unless you can exclude an enormous amount of income for needs, self-investment, and a baseline level of discretionary/recreational spending. Flat tax proposals usually have a large exclusion, but if you think it will work out so that your taxes will stay the same or go down, I would say you are too optimistic. The people with the money and power will make sure that doesn't happen. I think the basic progressive tax structure that we have today is quite reasonable and fair. Your "tax bracket" just tells you your marginal tax rate, not your tax rate. Fair is everybody paying the same taxes on the n-th dollar they earn. There is absolutely no reason based on fairness that the 1,000,000th dollar you earn has to be taxed at the same rate as the 100th dollar. The point is that the system should be fair to people, not fair to dollars. If you don't make a 1,000,000th dollar, obviously you won't owe any taxes on it, but anybody who makes one should pay exactly the same amount of tax on that particular dollar of income. The reason our current system is not fair is that there is too much "engineering" in it, government meddling, deductions for this, credits for that, different types of income treated differently. Capital gains taxes, for example, are too low. Capital gains should be regular income. All you really need is to be able to average out capital gains windfalls over many years. Also, the mortgage interest deduction probably shouldn't be there (but is impractical to remove at this point). It's one of those things, along with easy credit, that puts upward pressure on home prices.

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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:59 am 
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A few comments:

  • A fiscal conservative SHOULD care about Obamacare. The only thing significant achieved by it is the health care mandate, which has a 50-50 chance of being killed in the Supreme Court. Everything else about it means a trillion ($1,000,000,000) spent over the next decade - right when we have record deficits, high unemployment, and low growth. That's putting liberal ideology before the economic best interest of the average citizen.

    NOTHING in Obamacare will lower health care inflation. If anything, it'll make it worse. Throw 30 million people into a primary care system already short on supply, and forgetaboutit.
    ....
  • Speaking of Obamacare...

    I happen to live in a state that requires everyone to have health insurance. The sky has not fallen.

    Funny how that's a matter of perspective. I happened to work in that state once. Then Romneycare was passed. Then my company got around Romneycare by merging with a company that did IT in Nepal and laying off every single Boston IT person. They don't do "benefits" where you export your jobs. WHAT health care mandate??? Oh, and they turned a good number of their scientists (ahem) to contractor status. What health care mandate???? Yep... it's all a matter of perspective. If it's your job that's eliminated or has benefits removed to get around state and federal mandates, well...
    ...
  • The wealthy already have both the highest tax RATES and pay the vast majority of all taxes. Even a Democrat like John Kennedy understood the stupidity of raising taxes on the wealthy and businesses to increase revenue. He lowered the capital gains taxes, and the economy boomed. It took LBJ and his Great Society programs to kill everything JFK achieved.

    If you hate the wealthy, then tax them. That's the realm of Karl Marx, where property was a bad word. If you want a stronger economy, then don't ask the wealthy to pay at an EVEN HIGHER rate. Something I often share with people is my father's experience before he passed away. He was managing all number of trusts and charitable foundations. During the Bush administration his tax RATE was lowered, and he ended up paying more TOTAL taxes after that. Folks who don't understand the Laffer curve will never get that.
    ...
  • Libertarian philosophy (a la Ron Paul or Gary Johnson) is starting to get some traction here. Libertarians want fiscal AND social liberty. The classic Republican is fiscal liberty and social security, and the classic Democrat is fiscal security and social liberty. What's getting the libertarians notice is that both Democrat and Republican alike have something they can agree with, and both see the need to focus on fiscal policy. If you think Ron Paul and/or Gary Johnson are unelectable and if you think "The Tea Party" is every bit the stereotype ignorant boogeyman that the press makes it out to be, well you obviously were denied the spectacle of the Congressional run in Kentucky. God forbid the press give Rand Paul time in front of the camera, but they should have. He beat out a well-loved Democrat attorney general for the Congressional seat - much to the dismay of the New York media that was hoping they could turn this physician into a devil in a suit. But he won, and is a "Tea Party favorite." Whatever that is...

    All I can say is, stay tuned.

Meanwhile back to who's running... I'm not excited about anyone yet. I just know I'll do a write-in for my dog before I vote for Obama. And I ALWAYS vote.

- Bill

P.S. Not trying to dominate a conversation. Just giving a different perspective.


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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:42 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
[*] The wealthy already have both the highest tax RATES and pay the vast majority of all taxes.


That's sort of true, I guess. In part it depends on how you define rich. I was just playing with the 2009 data (latest I could find on the IRS site), and it seems that in 2009, over 55% of federal income tax revenues came from people earning less than $200K per year. I'm sure some folks would like to lump the $100K to $200K crowd with the rich, but up here $200K is as likely a 2-income family living a middle-class lifestyle in a modest 4br 2ba house. I had a better house on less than half that income in Texas, probably ate out more as well, though I'm sure I had more modest and older cars.

Further, 72.5% came from folks earning less than $500K. It is true that the very rich paid the highest rates, or almost. Actually, what the data show is that the aggregate rate increases to 30.4% for folks earning between $2M and $5M per year and then tails off a little to 27.2% for folks making over $10M. That tailing off is probably the capital gains tax talking.

BTW, I'm not in favor of taxing the rich because I "hate" them. Far from it. I just don't think those earning less than $200K per year can easily afford to pay more at present, and if taxes have to go up, and Republicans insist on protecting the rich, then they'll end up spreading it more evenly, which will be yet another downward force on the non-rich and meanwhile won't have much, if any, effect on the rich. If they can make it work by spending cuts instead, well, more power to 'em.

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P.S. Not trying to dominate a conversation. Just giving a different perspective.


Eh? Last thing on my mind.

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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:27 am 
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mhosea wrote:
It is true that the very rich paid the highest rates, or almost. Actually, what the data show is that the aggregate rate increases to 30.4% for folks earning between $2M and $5M per year and then tails off a little to 27.2% for folks making over $10M. That tailing off is probably the capital gains tax talking.


BTW, those tax rates are percentages of taxable income, not AGI, while the $2M-$4M is AGI. Didn't have the right numbers handy to calculate the rates as a percentage of AGI. Will look for them.

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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:26 pm 
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I'm finding your definition of "wealthy" to be interesting. To start with, they're very telling. (I've heard them before from the mouths of...)

Anyone can create a sliding scale and give a snapshot of taxation at that point, declaring everyone above that point is "wealthy" and those making less are not. A less disingenuous representation shows the entire spectrum.

That said, I want to highlight some comments.

Quote:
I just don't think those earning less than $200K per year can easily afford to pay more at present


Then don't increase their taxes.

Quote:

Republicans insist on protecting the rich

More parroted propaganda. Careful, your sources are showing! :oops:

In The United States, government exists to serve the people, and not to employ or enslave it. The only thing government can do is spend wealth, and to redistribute it to those who by their very status have shown not to be able to preserve or grow it.

Fiscal conservatives (Democrat, Republican, and Libertarian alike) believe that as much wealth as possible should stay with those who understand how to create it as opposed to spend/lose it. The more that wealth is allowed to stay with those skilled at growing it, the greater the total revenue that comes from taxing it at a fair rate. Again... this is a concept that is evident to those who employ mathematics. It's lost on those who despise the wealthy. It's not about emotions, but rather about fairness and pragmatism.

With years of failed economic policy, even Obummer has begun to realize the stupidity of OVERtaxing the wealthy. Most of those who are at the upper 1 percentile of revenue are there not because they are employed by "the man", but rather because they're investing their assets in the economy. Taxing them more means killing the goose which lays the golden eggs.

If it's about balancing the budget, then you do it two different ways: stop spending so much and/or grow more revenue. And if you want to grow revenue, then encourage wealth generation. That means letting those who invest (which makes revenue available to employers and product producers) employ their saving/investment ethic with as little restriction as possible. There is a "sweet spot" to taxing "the rich" which is win/win.

Government can occasionally be useful where vision, long-term planning, protection of assets, and economies of scale are in order. If I was president, I'd see that government encouraged a "Manhattan project" on the development of a next generation battery. And I'd see to it that United States companies owned those patents. I'd also get rid of the agrarian model of education, and have our kids go to school year round with a few weeks break in each season. This will save double-income parents from the economic expense of managing kids during long vacation periods and re-establish the United States as the leader in science and math. Right now that lead is being conceded to countries who understand the concept. And they're starting to kick our technological butts in the marketplace. It'll take a generation to reverse the trend. If you think I'm full of hooey, then come to where I work. I'm rapidly becoming the minority white guy in an international science unit. Most of our most recent hires got their graduate education in the Ivy Leagues, and were born in China and India.

Government can often get in the way of itself in foreign policy. "Nation building" does - and should - have a dirty name. Our founding fathers warned us. Rather than worry about protecting oil fields in the middle east where islamofascists are bent on destroying our way of life, perhaps it's time to focus within on what it'll take to tap into our coal, natural gas, nuclear, and energy storage capabilities. (Wind, solar, geothermal, and organic waste do have niche energy uses.) The long-term economic outcome will be: 1) cutting down on the economic black hole that is foreign military intervention, 2) reversing our trade deficit, 3) giving the appearance of minding our own business (which isn't such a bad idea), and 4) propelling us into the 22nd century in terms of how we will power our future economy.

If you believe wealth generation is immoral, then that's another story altogether. Many liberals and socialists do. Karl Marx most definitely did. And I cannot help them.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:40 pm 
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BTW, I now regret using the term "rich" to describe "those who are, in this particular tax year, earning a lot of money". It's not the right term. In fact, I don't care how much money people have, and I think estate taxes are evil. Income taxes are, in my view, a rough usage-based tax on the national infrastructure and security. You're just giving the government their cut of the profits. You can interpret that as "wealth redistribution" if you like. I don't.

Bill Glasheen wrote:
Quote:
Republicans insist on protecting the rich

More parroted propaganda. Careful, your sources are showing! :oops:


I can only imagine that you're accusing me of parroting Buffet (because otherwise I haven't a clue what you're talking about). In fact, I think Buffet's point of view was naive, almost childlike, and I endorse the responses that say that if you want to pay up, then make a big donation. No, I was just watching the news, hearing that the democrats propose reverting the tax rates for the upper tax brackets back to older levels (when people in those brackets were also doing fabulously well, I might add). Republicans then said, no way, no how, out of the question. Somehow I didn't get the impression that this was negotiable, am somewhat pessimistic that they will agree on enough spending cuts, and furthermore don't expect much of an economic turnaround for a couple of years at least. Bottom line is that I fear the ultimate compromise will be to raise taxes a little bit across the board.

Everybody is coming from somewhere, and I am no exception. As I read your response, which seemed to assume you knew where I was coming from, I considered where I actually was coming from. I think when you are working hard to climb up out of debt and to make more money, you're most vulnerable to tax increases in the middle class because you are starting to make enough money that you are paying some serious taxes, and yet you probably have little of it to spare, particularly so if you have the weight debt from some bad years on your back, as both I and my father did. I make no apologies if my views are skewed by years of fighting debt and seeing the money that could have helped me climb out of debt sooner confiscated as if I had plenty of money to spare. Yes, I'm still in the middle class, but getting laid off in 2004 in Texas and moving to Massachusetts thrust upon me some changes that I was able to turn around for the good. I paid off my debts. Without leaving the middle class, I suddenly feel completely differently about the taxes that I pay. In fact, I don't begrudge them, but still remember when I was in debt and how the higher rates that I paid back then during most of those years made everything harder. My understanding is that a lot of middle class families are cash-strapped and in debt now. I just don't want to see their taxes raised. Not saying I want to raise anybody's taxes, but I see taking a hard line on the upper tax brackets as actually raising the risk of exactly that result by keeping the overall pressure up.

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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:51 pm 
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LMAO!! Bill is freakin just Filthy Rich Mike... Let's leave it like that.... Wait Billl, how about that loan?!???? :lol: :lol: :lol: Hey!!! PS... was happy that me and m boys were able to do some Uechi in front of some Chinese Dignitaries today!!! Video on the way if you like?

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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:57 am 
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Stevie B wrote:
Video on the way if you like?


Yes, please. :)

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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:23 pm 
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Posts: 17150
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
mhosea wrote:

I think Buffet's point of view was naive, almost childlike, and I endorse the responses that say that if you want to pay up, then make a big donation.

Word!

mhosea wrote:

No, I was just watching the news, hearing that the democrats propose reverting the tax rates for the upper tax brackets back to older levels (when people in those brackets were also doing fabulously well, I might add).

And I gave you the example of my late father. With the "Bush tax cuts", he paid taxes at a lower RATE and yet paid MORE TOTAL TAXES. Doing "fabulously well"? Uh huh!!! The government did fabulously well by my father when tax RATES were lowered on him and all the trusts he ran (many being charitable, by the way...).

I've said this before and I'll say it again. People in the upper echelon of income didn't get there by working for someone else. My father is the prototype. After he left NASA, he started his own construction company and later his own investment firm. Small business is the backbone of the American economy, and you're looking at it when you look at him. More people are employed by small businesses than by the Fortune 500s. People like my dad didn't get where he was by being stupid with his money. Raise the tax rate on him and he'll get around those taxes by putting his money where the government doesn't get at income generated from it. The end result is that his money sits, and the government gets less money. As an investment counselor my dad made a living teaching people how to preserve and grow wealth. That meant teaching people how to keep the government's cotton-picking hands off of it. He and his accountant were always one step ahead. And so is every other person and small business like him.

Furthermore... what you inadvertently end up doing by increasing rates on people in the upper echelon is increasing the cost of doing business in this country. As in the example I gave you from my personal experience in Massachusetts, all you end up doing is exporting jobs overseas or north of the border where business taxes are lower and mandates for benefits are fewer. Just watch that unemployment rate stay high, or grow even higher. Just watch our trade deficit grow.

mhosea wrote:

I fear the ultimate compromise will be to raise taxes a little bit across the board.

Why should we raise taxes on anyone?

mhosea wrote:

I just don't want [middle class] taxes raised.

Nor do I.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:32 pm 
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Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
Stevie B wrote:

LMAO!! Bill is freakin just Filthy Rich Mike... Let's leave it like that.... Wait Billl, how about that loan?!????

Sure, Stevie. I'll fly a few of my leggy, large-breasted employees over there in my private jet to pick you up. We'll go over the papers with Vinnie my business partner. Then we'll have a couple of stogies and marvel at how brilliant we are. 8)

Stevie B wrote:

Video on the way if you like?

Me like!

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: RNC Debates
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:49 pm 
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Location: Massachusetts
To change the subject slightly, I was surprised to read last night that the republican candidates are talking about partial-privatization of social security again. I can only imagine that their analysts are telling them that this will play well with younger voters, many of whom are convinced that they won't get anything back from social security. But is this a good political strategy? I'm just surprised they would go out of their way to bring something like that up.

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