Monday, October 27, 2008

Crazy Talk

No longer able to be amazed at political stupidity, I comment once again on the latest inanity: "wealth redistribution." For the Republican party and Joah McPalin, it's the distortion du jour.

To state the obvious: the only government that's not in the business of redistributing wealth is one that collects zero money; ie, no government that's ever existed. You pay taxes, the government gets the money and sends it somewhere, in a transaction that is known as, oh, redistribution. Any change in any tax leads to re of the distribution. Last wealth redistributer: George Bush, when he took money from the peons and gave it to rich folks. Next in line: anyone who makes any change in that plutoid formula.

Whoever it was who said you'd never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people must be all achuckle. Newspapers, talking heads, even commenters here on at least one occasion, are spitting it out like it's poison, certain that it's also a winner for McPalin. Socialism it is!!! Taking money from taxpayers in differing patterns based on income!! If Barack Obama weren't spending all his time palling around with terrorists, he'd be plotting it right now. And he's a liberal terrorist, so he'd probably call it, say, maybe, oh, a PROGRESSIVE income tax. It could happen here, folks. It could happen here.

A recent study found that Republicans are "happier" than Democrats. Well, duh. When your response to reality is to deny it, when facts are minor impediments on the road to ignorance, of course you're happy. (The study also said they're richer.) I'm gonna call it the happiness response: it's like the flight option of "fight or flight." Hardwired, at least in the credulous.

This idea that any change in Bush's incredibly unbalanced and ineffective tax structure is, by definition, socialism, is like saying improving your kids' education is brainwashing. Returning to some of the tax policies of Bill Clinton??? Why that'd be like, like, going back to times of, what did they call it back then, what was that concept, fading from memory?

Oh yeah.


I believe John McCain is smart, at least enough to know what bullshit this is. And there's no doubt he thinks so little of his "base" that he assumes they'll eat it. Unsurprisingly, lots of them are. From every angle, his campaign assumes the worst in us, treats us like we're stupid. If it works again, as it has in the past, our descent is unstoppable.


  1. Sid,

    We're here for you as fellow progressive Democrats. We are nearing the end of this insanity after eight bruising years. It's been a marathon of unbelievable misery, but next week, we have a good chance of feeling better. Not perfect, of course...

    How to overcome political burnout:

    *Turn off all TV and radio and use the next few days to upgrade your mp3 or CD music or talking book collection. Take a walk. Push away all thoughts of politics.

    *Pull out a cookbook and choose a recipe using ingredients that you and your wife really like. Get together on a brand new menu. A trip to the local food store can be a lot of fun for both of you. (I don't like to cook, but we did this all morning starting at 6 AM and are having a great day!)

    * Consider turning off the "Comments" feature of your blog or at least deleting those that are incendiary, rambling, or continue the unnecessary taunting and truly irrational behavior we have witnessed. The "blogtards" are easily spotted and eliminated.
    Hopefully, all the people who enjoy your commentary will be here after next week.

    *Find a local massage therapist and take the first appointment for the next few days. Make sure it's some kind and fulfilled person who does not give a rat's a** about politics.

    *Walk over to a neighbor's house and find out what they're doing for Halloween. Don't bring up politics and refuse to discuss it with anyone -- it's enough, already!!!

    Best regards from Ellen and husband Al in Portland, OR

  2. It's worse than that Sid. Now she's saying that it's not just a "redistribution: but a seizure of property that belongs to you! As she said in a recent speech "government kind of moving into the role as the other half of our family, making decisions for us. Now, they do this in other countries where the people are not free."
    I can't believe they're bringing back the Red Menace.
    Then again, they've got nothing, right...heh...

  3. The Last HURRAH

    Monday, October 27, 2008

    The Anchorage Daily and the Financial Times say: OBAMA

    It was no surprise when newspapers like the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times endorsed Obama/Biden. But yesterday, Alaska's own Anchorage Daily News joined in. While they applaud Gov. Palin for her work in drawing national attention to the 49th state, they wrote:

    "Gov. Palin's nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency -- but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation."

    Then the conservative Financial Times came out yesterday as well for Obama, writing:

    "McCain has offered risk-taking almost as his chief qualification, but gambles do not always pay off. His choice of Sarah Palin as running mate, widely acknowledged to have been a mistake, is an obtrusive case in point. Rashness is not a virtue in a president."

  4. So Sid, you must have done pretty well during the Bush years bein a Doctor and all. Just curious if you paid at the Clinton rates? You can do that, you know, in fact you can send the IRS as much money as you want, they'll find something to do with it. If the Government really wanted to give the Po' a tax break they'd do away with the lotteries that mostly serve to subsidize college educations for rich white kids. Somehow I don't think those'll be goin away anytime soon.

  5. I just want to applaud you, Sid. I know that you spent your 20s studying. I spent mine playing in a band and running around with my friends. You spent your 30s working your ass off to pay your student bills. I spent mine going on long vacations with my family. You spent your 40s trying to get ahead, and you probably did well. I spent mine playing in more bands and working about 30 hours per week.

    You wrote a book and made a little more dough. I read books and goofed off.

    Now, you've got some real money in the bank and your house is probably close to being paid off. I took out a couple of loans on mine, and I'll never be able to pay it off.

    I know you believe differently, but the Bush tax cuts really helped me out, even at my mid-5 figure income.

    Now Obama promises something to me: he promises me that you, Sid, make too darn much money and I don't make enough. My taxes are low, but BO will still make it up to me--he's going to send me tax relief against taxes I don't even pay? Form where? It will come from you, Sid. You have too much, because you worked too hard. I have too little.

    And you seem happy about it, Sid. A lot of people would feel cheated--their money acquired at such a price--study, work, time away from family and all--given to somebody who didn't work as hard.

    But you seem quite happy about it, and I congratulate you.

    And thank you for the money--looks like your guy will be elected, so I'll just sit back and watch for the check from you.

    Thanks again!

  6. anonymous: of course I'm not happy about the prospect of higher taxes. (Although I'm retired now, and never made the the 250K/year Obama talks about. Bush's tax cuts affected me positively. Unfortunately they affected the country negatively. We have enormous deficits, and huge unmet obligations, and if we want our country to exist for the next generation, we'll have to pick up the wreckage Bush has left behind. There's no way to avoid it, despite the fact that for the last eight years we've been fed the line that we don't have to worry about it. Frankly I think Obama's tax cut proposals are too generous; but McCain's are worse. Someone has to face reality, because the electorate never will.

  7. Sid,

    I've been working on a reply all afternoon. Off and on.

    If I thought like a Republican thinks, I'd protest my property taxes. Why in hell should I have to pay for a road I never drive on or pay for someone else's kid to go to school when mine are grown and gone?

    The Fire Department? Shouldn't that be on a pay-per-use system? Why should I have to pay for someone else's fire when I only had to use them once for a rattlesnake removal?

    As Democrat, I know that everything is about 'spreading the wealth'. The roads, schools and public services wouldn't exist if it weren't for tax payer dollars. They wouldn't exist if people before me didn't fund them via taxes.

    If someone whines about how much they pay in property taxes on their 5 million dollar house.....after finishing up a $200 a plate dinner (not including wine)...and hopping into their 200K car and how an increase in taxes could 'alter their lifestyle'? Boo-Friggin'-Hoo.

    (Well, if they were heavily invested in the stock's already been altered.)

    Personally? I think they need to just shut the *uck up.

  8. Kristi, your comment hits all the right points. One of the things that retired people face is the devaluation of things they counted on to just live from day to day on a "fixed income." Add to that the fact that no one knows how long he/she will live!

    Our Social Security payments are going to increase about 5.8% next year. That will certainly help, unless the off-the-top payment for Medicare is increased (I haven't researched what the $$ amount will be in 2009). It could end up a wash.

    We had to adjust a lot of spending that we could call discretionary this year. I had a cleaning man who came once a month to help me; my husband will now take his place. We renegotiated our lawn care contract based on more "easy care" shrubbery and rock walkways which my husband put in over the summer. I have made very few purchases since June, except for food and gas. I splurge every two months on a haircut -- and buzzed most of it off this summer. Finally, I asked the woman who does the work to please give me a senior rate. She did.

    Our property taxes are the same as last year ($4533), and we do use the roads, our grandkids are in the local schools, and we want our city government to be able to do all of the things it has always done. What has changed is that our house is now devalued approximately 20 to 40% from what it was just a couple of years ago. This is a guess, based on bank or real estated owned (REO) and auctioned-off comparables sales which are now our biggest competition.

    All of the indicators were so negative -- and two financial advisors told us to pull out of the cascading stock market and REMAIN ALL IN CASH. I couldn't sleep until we made that adjustment. Our paper losses are huge, but with some frugality, we could still make it for about ten years.

    Another thing we felt we had to have was long-term care insurance. We signed up for that years ago, and the amount is now adjusted to $329.53 a month for the two of us. Although we have five children, we would not like to entrap them with that kind of responsibility.

    The variable that really hurts is that we are not independently wealthy, but we're not exactly poor, either. Get a job? Forget it! I tried for three years to find part-time work when I was over 60 years old. All I could get was telemarketing that paid minimum wage and a bonus. Next year, I'll be 70. Al will be 75.

    This economic struggle is like being nibbled to death. We can't work our way out of it because we probably don't have enough time left.

    Thanks for your comments.


  9. "If someone whines about how much they pay in property taxes on their 5 million dollar house.....after finishing up a $200 a plate dinner (not including wine)...and hopping into their 200K car and how an increase in taxes could 'alter their lifestyle'? Boo-Friggin'-Hoo."

    I'll wager you've encountered this argument before, Sid. It might have sounded like this:

    "It cost me $80 to see that doctor! Maybe if he could drive a Chevy instead of a BMW we could afford to see the doctor!"

    Now, doesn't that make sense? Why should anybody need more than $100? There's not enough left for the rest of us! Let's tax it and take it from them--it's only fair!

    "If I thought like a Republican thinks..."

    Clearly, you have no idea how a Republican thinks. Let me help you with this:

    A Republican doesn't start by looking to see who makes more than him, so he can punish him. A Republican says, "How much does it take to run the government and provide necessary services?"

    I realize we could argue all day on how to fund that, and which services are essential.

    But the Democrats decide who should be allowed to earn what, and tax according to that. LBJ raised taxes because of "fairness". Not to fund the government--but "fairness".

    And apparently, only Democrats can decide what's fair.

    I'll probably have made about $60k this year--before taxes. GWB's tax cuts (for the "rich") helped me a ton. Obama promises to end those, so my taxes will go up. Is that fair?

    Sid, I'm sure you make more in retirement than I do in business. I'm hoping to see a check from you coming in, as I send one going out, spreading my wealth to the people behind me. Or else I won't be able to last.

  10. anonymous, are you sure about the tax differences between Obama and McCain?

    check this link

    Or check
    This link

    Sid, you are exactly right. How the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy are not seen as a redistribution of wealth but a rollback of these very same taxes is, is well beyond my level of comprehension.

  11. anonymous: I simply have no idea from where you get your information (well, I suppose I do: the lies McPalin have been telling about Obama's tax plan.) There's simply no truth whatever to what you said about your taxes under Obama. Nor, of course, is there truth to your description of the differences between D's and R's. But I guess you must really know that.

  12. Ellen...aren't you on vacation? =)

    As far as comments by the Unknown Commenter...Damn right it costs $80 or more for a Doctor visit! Why shouldn't it?

    He's paying for a lease, equipment, staff and all the regular expenses that go along with owning a business. Then there's that horribly expensive malpractice insurance premium.

    All that aside, you're paying for a Doctor's knowledge. But, if paying that $80 bothers you...just diagnose yourself on the internet.

    It's free and I hear it's all the rage now.

    Also, Anonymous Commenter....your 'mid 5 figure' income won't be taxed more...not sure what you're reading. Or smoking for that matter.

    Once your income hits 250K (after deductions)....then might have to pay more.

    Heck, with that kind of after tax income, you could probably afford to outfit Sarah Palin in designer duds and make-up for about 2 months.

    How awesome is that??


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