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What Has Conservatism and Progressivism Done For America? - Short View (updated 12-26-16)

Updated on January 13, 2017
My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric spent 20+ years as a DoD Cost and Economic Analyst as well as a program manager of the Air Force Total Cost of Ownership MIS.

Prologue

Beginning Jan 20, 2017, with the inauguration of Donald Trump, conservatives will once again be firmly in control of ALL branches of our government, Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. We saw what happened from 2001 - 2009. Now we will see if history repeats itself.

Yet Another Way to Look at the Difference Between Political Philosophies

I POSTED SOME COMPARATIVE NUMBERS on my most popular hub, What has President Obama Done Right in Three Years? LOTS!, to show what has transpired from when President Obama took office until now. Also, I prepared a hub a few weeks ago titled, Comparing 12 Quarters Of President Obama With His Predecessors ... Not Too Bad, Considering, which is similar to this one, but considers many past presidencies over a much longer time period.

Those two hubs gave me the idea for this hub, which will offer a series of before-and-after charts; large ones so that you can read them. By design, this hub considers the 3-years leading up to the Recession and the 3-years following it. The purpose for using this time frame is two-fold. One is to show that in spite of the political ads swamping America during the Obama Presidency arguing the opposite, President Obama's record of achievement in bring the country back for the edge of depression shines in comparison to the Bush record for the same number of years that brought America into the worst Recession since 1937.

The other purpose was to show that President Obama began his presidency in the worst economic and social condition since 1933. Conservatives, and their libertarian billionaire backers, want to either minimize or have you forget altogether this fact as they bash him for the anemic recovery which America experienced the first several years after the recession. Problem is, the public Conservative agenda to destroy Obama involves not letting him do his job helping America recover from the economic crisis their policies left us in. As I said, no president in history, save for FDR, started from so deep a hole in terms of a collapsing economy and an on-going and accelerating job loss record left them by their predecessor as President Obama.

The following story supports the above allegations.

ECONOMIC INDICATORS - GROWTH

ONE OF THE PRIMARY INDICATORS BEING BANDIED ABOUT TODAY is economic growth as measured by % annual change in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The conservatives complaint is that President Obama hasn't done enough to "grow" the economy; that his plan has failed or that he had no plan at all; Conservatives say that America should go back to the conservative way of doing things. This is what Chart 1 and Chart 2 would like you to consider.

Chart 1 provides a picture of President George W. Bush's two terms in office. The last 12 quarters of the Conservative economic plan would be 2006 Q2 to 2009 Q1 (President Bush owns 2009 Q1 because President Obama, or any other President for that matter, has no effective control over the economic output of the first quarter of their presidency). Besides showing the ups and downs of the quarterly growth rates, expressed in terms of annual percents, I also included three GDP numbers for comparison purposes, the first one at the beginning of the period under consideration, the second one is the high point in Bush's presidency, and the third one is his low point.

% QUARTERLY CHANGE: 2001 - 2009 Q1 - CHART 1
% QUARTERLY CHANGE: 2001 - 2009 Q1 - CHART 1 | Source

Chart 2 presents the first 14 quarters of the Democratic (Progressive) plan. The two GDP numbers, which are in constant 2009 dollars, btw, are the low and high points (to date) for President Obama's 14 quarters.

The dip in 2014 Q1 is a result of one of the worst winters in the Midwest and East coast seen for decades. It was followed by two very strong quarters.

% QUARTERLY CHANGE IN GDP: 2009 Q2 - 2016 Q3 - CHART 2
% QUARTERLY CHANGE IN GDP: 2009 Q2 - 2016 Q3 - CHART 2 | Source

LET US COMPARE

INDEPENDENTS, SINCE YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN AMERICA right now, I hope you taking this hub seriously for it you make the wrong choice come November, America could be in serious trouble.

Keep in mind the conservative's arguments are 1) their economic system works better and 2) President Obama has failed to pull America out of the recession. Are these assertions true? What do the two charts tell you?:

  • (Keep in mind,
  • -- in 2006, Bush had a totally Conservative Congress, and in 2007-2008, nothing passed Congress that the Conservatives didn't want passed.
  • -- in 2009 - 2010 Obama had a veto proof Democratic Congress, and in 2011-2012, nothing passed Congress that the Conservatives didn't want passed plus, Conservatives had vowed to stop President Obama from achieving anything at all including fixing the economy
  • In the first 13 quarters presented
  • -- Conservative economics managed one quarter of 4% growth or more while President Obama had two such quarters
  • -- Conservative economics managed six quarters of growth between 1% and 4% compared with nine.
  • -- Both President Obama and Conservative economics produced two quarters of near 0% economic
  • -- and only Conservative economics had four quarters of negative economic growth, two of which were -8.9% and 5.3%, respectively; the worse America has experienced since 1937.

The final two points I want to make are these:

  1. I can repeat Chart 1 over 20 more times during the period of American history when Conservative economics was dominant. I cannot come up with one chart that is as bad as Chart 1 when Progressive economics was dominant, not one! I am not blowing smoke or making hyperbole, if you don't believe me, and have the time, read A Short History of American Panics, Recessions, Depressions: Why Conservative Economics Can't Work , soon to be out in paperback ... really.
  2. Conservatives have been unabashedly working, since 1981, to re-implement their economic philosophy; they have made no secret of that, they aren't now. Over the almost 30 year period, Conservatives have worked hard to dismantle the regulatory barrier put in place after the Great Depression to protect Americans from just the type of catastrophe that began occurring Jan 2006 with the reversal in home prices and construction, and then brought down the world in 2008. They completed their task in the early 2000s; after that, it was only a matter of time before America returned to the bad times of the 1800s

ECONOMIC INDICATORS - STOCK MARKET

THE STOCK MARKET IS OFTEN KNOWN AS A "LEADING" indicator of economic times to come. This is so because people who buy and sell stocks are betting on what they believe the future holds for both an individual company and the economy as a whole. As a result, once the stock market, generally viewed through the popular Dow Jones Index of 30 "blue chip industrial" stocks, has established a long-term trend in one direction of another, the economy almost always follows suit.

There is an exception to this theory, however. There are times when the economy flattens out or turns down first, but the stock market keeps on sky-rocketing; this happened between Jan 2006 and Sep 2006. It also happened before the Crash of 1929 and before almost every other "bubble" which led to a major recession or depression in America's history. Conservatives might point to the "Tech bubble" of 2000 and observe that this "pop" led to only a minor recession and they would be right; that is why I say "almost"; there are always exceptions to the rule, but there aren't that many. There are two common factors to most of these major "bubbles", 1) the "bubble" was due to real estate speculation in one form or another and 2) Conservative economics was dominant; never Progressive economics.

OK, let us take a peek.

CHART 3
CHART 3 | Source

JUST TO ADD A LITTLE CONTEXT

IT HELP A LITTLE TO KNOW WHAT GOING FROM 2006 TO 2008. The housing market peaked in the 1st quarter of 2006, but credit and fraudulent loans were getting much easier to get and give. This was also the period of the mega-mergers of mega corporations. Even though the economy had stopped growing in 2006, nobody cared nor paid attention; that included the Federal Reserve, the various federal regulatory agencies, the President, and Congress. Those who did notice were State regulators and governments, but when they approached the federal government and its agencies, they were turned away saying the economy is doing exactly what they intended it to do; not to worry. (My source for all of this, btw, is the authorized edition of The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report.)

From very late 2006 through Oct 2008, as housing prices began to fall, and then plummet, the financial markets (a small part of which were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) started to sweat and squirm under the declining value of their sub-prime based portfolios. Huge pressure built up as the financial markets, with the help of the Federal Reserve and President Bush, tried to put a bright face on it until, in October 2007, it couldn't be kept under wraps any longer and news of the impending disaster finally hit the mainstream media.

After that, it was a losing battle with corporations trying every gimmick known to man and some that were unknown and still are today, to try to stave off the inevitable. In Sep 2008, the Federal Reserve made the infamous decision to let Lehman Bros. go bankrupt, i.e., no bail out following the conservative economic model. After that, the history is well known, the American and world financial markets imploding and a global depression was on its way.

CHART 4
CHART 4 | Source

THE DEMOCRATIC (KEYNESIAN) SOLUTION

KEYNESIAN ECONOMICS SAYS that there are two forces at work in any economy, "microeconomics" aka conservative aka Austrian School aka "trickle down" aka "supply-and-demand" economics and "macroeconomics", which considers things like employment, inflation, and interest rates. Conservatives dispute the need to consider macroeconomics because it has a bit of baggage that comes with it, government intervention in business affairs; with macroeconomics, a laissez-faire economy cannot exist and that is the rub.

It was controlling all three of these "levers" that led to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in October 2008. Virtually 100% of economists were convinced that if the financial institution went bankrupt, which they were in the process of doing in late 2008, then that would have frozen all credit and bankrupted most businesses globally leading to unimagined unemployment, hyperinflation, and sky-rocketing interest rates. Most conservatives who were not economists did not believe this senario could happen as supply-and-demand would correct everything; even though it never has throughout American history in these situations.

In the end, TARP worked. In fact, America made an actual profit from the effort and make still more.

Another Keynesian economic program are stimuli, but only when certain conditions are in place. The main two are 1) that the private sector is not hiring, regardless of the reason, and 2) that there is major or massive unemployment. Both of these conditions existed in February 2009. What wasn't available to the incoming Obama administration before he assumed office was the information needed to gauge just how much stimulus was needed to put into ARRA which would be passed just a couple of weeks after he was sworn in. The purpose of any stimulus, in terms of macroeconomics, is directed at employment; to infuse enough money into the economy to increase demand enough so that the private sector will start hiring again to replinish decreased inventories; and not, as Conservatives suggest, for the federal government to creat jobs.

As it turned out, the data for the last quarter of 2008, which really became available not too long before ARRA was passed, surprised all the experts in its devastating numbers; Obama's stimulus was going to be short, by half. Unfortunately, by the time the results of the initial stimulus became known to be insufficient, the conservative counteroffensive to stop President Obama was such that future stimulus legislation was impossible.

FYI -

  • Where the markets tops out in 2011 is the beginning of the Conservative-inspiered debt crisis.
  • The big drop is July 2011, when the Obama and Conservatives compromise on the debt crisis and agree to the super-committee, which failed in Nov 2011. More importantly, July is when the debt crisis led to the downgrade of America's debt rating.
  • The period from July to Dec 2011 is the fight over the budget.
  • Dec 2011 is when Democrats and Conservatives failed to reach a compromise and the sequestration fail-safe became a reality giving the market some direction as to what was going to happen.
  • Not shown is that at the end of 2016, the market is just shy of 20,000

EMPLOYMENT INDICATORS - FIRST TIME JOBLESS CLAIMS

THIS IS ANOTHER HOT BUTTON FOR CONSERVATIVES; well, the unemployment rate is, but this is related and we will get to the other shortly. First Time Jobless Claims measure Layoffs. the level at which Americans are getting fired by their employers.

Charts 5 and 6 are pretty self-explanatory.

DEPT OF LABOR MONTHLY UI DATA - CHART 5
DEPT OF LABOR MONTHLY UI DATA - CHART 5 | Source

YOU CAN SEE FROM CHART 5 that the business community tried to hold on as long as they could. Layoffs didn't begin to increase until the beginning of 2008, but held off the major increases until the end of the year with the announcement of the Lehman Bros. bankruptcy.

CHART 6 - NOTICE THE DOWNWARD SLOPING TREND - Dept of Labor Monthly UI Data
CHART 6 - NOTICE THE DOWNWARD SLOPING TREND - Dept of Labor Monthly UI Data | Source

A DIFFERENT LOOK AT GROWTH RESULTS

THIS NEXT TABLE TAKES A LOOK at long-term economic growth during various administrations. Because there are terms of varying lengths, I present two metrics. One is simply total growth in GDP (or projected linear growth) over the eight-year length of a presidency from the 2nd quarter of their term to the 1st quarter that includes the last month of their term. For those Presidents who had less than eight-years, I just did the arithmetic to extend their actual results to eight-years Also, for those periods where one President didn't complete a full-term (Kennedy and Nixon), I combined terms with their successor.

The second metric looks at the annualized growth rate. Between the two metrics, you get a pretty good picture of how each presidential term did relative to the others. The 'P' stands for Progressive and the 'C' stands for Conservative.

THE NEXT TIME YOU HERE CONSERVATIVES COMPLAINING about how bad President Obama has done on the unemployment front, remember this chart. Remember that President Obama's 3-year monthly average 1st time unemployment claims is only 20,000 more that President Bush's 8-year average and that Obama's numbers are now 160,000 claims below Bush's average as well as 60,000 below the 42-year average!

PRESIDENT
8-YEAR GDP GROWTH (4-year growth)
ANNUAL GDP GROWTH RATE
TRUMAN (P-6)
41.8%*
4.5%
EISENHOWER (C-8)
19.0%
2.2%
KENNEDY/JOHNSON (P-8)
48.8% (22.1%/19.1%)
5.0%
NIXON/FORD (C-8)
23.4% (15.2%/6.5%)
2.7%
CARTER (P-4)
24.1%*
2.7%
REAGAN (C-8)
31.0% (12.7%/14.8%)
3.4%
G. W. BUSH (C-4)
14.4%*
1.7%
CLINTON (P-8)
33.1% (15%/15.2%)
3.4%
W. BUSH (C-8)
11.9% (10.9%/1.1%)
1.6%
OBAMA (P-7)
17.6%* (7.7%/9.9%*)
2.0% (actual)
* projected 8-year grwoth results - Table 1

ISN"T THAT INTERESTING! If President Obama continues, his "worst President in history" economic growth record the Conservatives trying to make America believe is true for another 5 years, Obama will have surpassed, Presidents G. W. Bush, W. Bush, and nearly equaled Eisenhower!

Imagine what Obama could have done with a Congress that helped, rather than hindered him?

PARTICIPATION RATIO (rate)
PARTICIPATION RATIO (rate) | Source

Participation Ratio

MUCH HAS BEEN MADE BY CONSERVATIVES ABOUT HOW President Obama destroyed the Participation Ratio (the number of employed divided by total eligible to work). It is readily apparent that this is not true.

The Blue lines are the Ratio. The Red boxes are recessions. The Dashed lines are a new administration. The ratio grew during the Kennedy-Johnson presidency; was basically flat during the Nixon-Ford era. It began growing a lot with Carter-Reagan-H.W. Bush-Clinton when it peaked. During all of these periods you can see where recessions did a number one the Participation Rate, but then recovered to even greater heights ... until G.W. Bush, that is. After the 2001 mini-recession if fell dramatically and then never fully recovered. Clearly it nosed-dived due to the Great 2008 Recession. But along with President Obama's stimulus and subsequent recover, the rate began recovering as well -- Not decline as the conservative narrative has it.

LONG-TERM VIEW OF CONSERVATIVE vs PROGRESSIVE ECONOMICS

THE NEXT TWO CHARTS DEPICT the relative stability of the two economic systems. The conservative Austrian system was used prior to 1937 and the Keynesian was used after 1937 until 2001, and then again from 2009 on. The height of each spike on the top chart represents the severity of the Panic, Depression, or Recession; and the width its longevity from the economic peak to the following economic trough.

On this chart, only those economic downturns picture is slightly distorted in that those downturns shown prior to 1945 can be generally related to internal monetary or fiscal policy, or simply to boom-bust economic cycles are shown. Depressions and recession caused for other reasons, like wars and turmoil in Europe are not shown. After 1945, all recessions are shown because, if I didn't, no recessions would be depicted until the 2000 tech-bubble and then the Great Recession of 2008. Every other recession you see began because of external events, mainly problems in the Middle East. (to make the two sides comparable, flat-line all recessions from 1945 to 1999, and then compare.)

The bottom chart is the result of a thought I had in tracking how unemployment grows in the lead-up to a major recession or bigger. It turns out, each recession has its own unemployment signature, but the resulting chart was interesting in its own right. The two tall towers on the left are the increasing unemployment rates leading up to an into the two really great depressions in our history. The three on the right are the largest recessions after WW II. The numbers '1' and '2' represent which economic system was at work at the time.

The thing to know when looking at this chart is that virtually all other recessions and depressions prior to the 1929 depression were bigger than the three shown on the right. I can't show unemployment numbers for those because I can't find any past the ones estimated for 1890. Nevertheless, all you need to do is use a little common sense to fill in the blank as to where you would draw those bars relative to what you do see in front of you.

Obviously, what I am trying to get across is that there is a definite, undeniable difference between the conservative and progressive economic systems. The question you have to ask yourself is "Which one would I rather live under?" My choice, of course, is the one with lower unemployment and less volatility, the Keynesian system.

CHART 7
CHART 7 | Source
CHARY 8
CHARY 8 | Source

MUCH ADO ABOUT DEFICITS

MAY 7, 2013 - NOW THAT WE HAVE FOUR YEARS IN, let's look at the deficit picture. This has been one of the mainstay arguments for Conservatives; that President Obama has destroyed the economy by running up, presumably for no particularly good reason, the deficit, and therefore the public debt.

Now there is enough data to draw some conclusions regarding how guilty Obama is of these charges. In looking at Graph 4, you will see the shaded blocks, representing each president's time in office, overlap the next presidents election. The reason for this is a new president rarely has the ability to influence the near-term economy and budget, instead, the previous president's policies normally have just as much impact.

Source: Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 1.3; http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals/ (last accessed April 13, 2012).  - CHART 9
Source: Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 1.3; http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals/ (last accessed April 13, 2012). - CHART 9 | Source

Leading up to the Great 2008 Recession, it is clear the deficit had been brought under control during the Clinton Administration; in fact, America experienced its longest sustained period of growth during this time period. Of course, all good things must come to an end and in 2001, the economy softened and the budget surplus shrank a bit.

Then, beginning September 11, 2001, America experienced a series of shocks starting with the attack on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. This was quickly followed by the War in Afghanistan, the War in Iran, and the Bush tax cuts, all of which cost significant amounts of budget dollars. All of this combined wiped out the surplus and left the country with a deficit as large as any experienced during the Reagan-Bush administration.

The housing bubble and merger mania provided enough growth to begin bringing the deficit back down in 2005. This decline lasted until the economy eventually collapsed in 2008 under the weight of all of this artificially growth, speculation, and greed and the deficit skyrocketed. In another hub, I show where about 2/3rds of the 2009 deficit was the direct result of the costs surrounding the recession itself, e.g., unemployment payments.

Notice that in the Obama administration, after the run-up from the recession, the deficit has been in a continuous decline since! In 2013, there is a sharp reduction which, while still an estimate, is pretty much in the bank with actuals from Oct 2012 through April 2013. In fact, for the 2nd quarter, 2013, the CBO is expecting the first quarterly surplus (from April tax receipts) in six years.

If you look past 2017, however, Obama is not out of the woods. The CBO projects increases in the deficit from that point on due to the still unresolved Medicare/Social Security problems.

Poverty In America

Table 2 - http://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/income-poverty/historical-poverty-people.html - CHART 10
Table 2 - http://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/income-poverty/historical-poverty-people.html - CHART 10 | Source

Poverty In America

CONSERVATIVES TRIED TO SHIFT BLAME FOR INCREASE POVERTY from President Bush to President Obama. Because they do no understand the Lag, Momentum, and Inertia effects in economics, they think they are correct. They aren't. What is real is:

  1. It takes time for an economic downturn to produce an effect because our natural response is to sacrifice to maintain a standard of living
  2. Once an economic downturn starts, it gains speed
  3. Once an economic downturn has run its course, it takes much longer to recover than to decline

Poverty is no exception, once there it is very hard to get out because everybody else is trying to improve as well and those that have, do not want to get replaced by those climbing back out.

A SURVEY (POLL) FOR INDEPENDENTS ONLY PLEASE

ONES THAT VOTE FOR THE BOTH SIDES ONCE IN A WHILE, that is. I am especially looking for those who voted Republican in 2010 but hope any Independent will take time out to vote in this survey. (I am hoping any Conservative/Progressive votes will cancel each other out since they are a given.)

What I am trying to gauge with the following two questions is your belief that, despite all of the ads, statements, speeches, etc about how poor a job Obama has done which Conservatives have flooded the airwaves with, 1) President Obama's (the Progressive) approach to running the economy was, in reality, better or worse than that when President Bush was President and 2) whether the Conservatives voted into office in 2010 have had a important role in the economy not improving as much as it could have, keeping in mind their stated political agenda for 2011 - 2012 was to prevent President Obama from succeeding.

Some will say these question are biased, and I suggest they are not. In the first question, if the Conservatives had not "flooded the airwaves" with such messages, and I was being hyperbolic, then the question would be biased, but my phrase is absolutely true and not particularly inflammatory, just accurate. In the second question, if the Conservative agenda to stop Obama from succeeding was a "hidden" agenda, they by saying it was a "stated" agenda would be false and the question would be very biased; fortunately, many Conservatives have made variations of that statement many times in the last two years.

INDEPENDENT VOTERS -

Despite all of the Rhetoric in the last Two Years that President Obama has done a Poor Job with the Economy, do you

See results

239 Independent Respondents:

  • Great Job - 98
  • Good Job - 98
  • So-So Job - 17
  • McCain Better - 24
  • Not Sure - 5

INDEPENDENT VOTERS -

Do you believe that the Conservative Agenda to Prevent President Obama from Succeeding played an Important role in slowing down the Economic Recovory?

See results

221 Independent Respondents:

  • YES - 179
  • NO - 24
  • MAYBE - 13
  • NOT SURE - 2

DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY #1

For those who read this hub, do you think your beliefs line up more closely with

See results

229 Respondents:

  • PROGRESSIVES - 126
  • MODERATES - 71
  • CONSERVATIVES - 18
  • OTHER - 16

DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY #2

Are you

See results

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    • My Esoteric profile image
      Author

      My Esoteric 21 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      It's simple really. For example, Kennedy, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama, in recent times, have all proposed and pushed through tax cuts or tax increases; absent their effort, Congress would not passed such a law.

      Bush sent us to war which helped destroyed our economy. His (and Greenspan's and Conservative's) economic philosophy allowed them all to ignore the warning signs that a bubble was building between 2003 and 2006 and would burst in 2007; signs that many others, especially at the state-level saw and tried to warn the Fed and Congress about. There response ... everything is alright and following they classical economic theory wholeheartedly agreed with.

      Reagan's military buildup and economic war on the Soviet Union blew the federal debt all out of proportion; this would not have happened if Reagan had chosen a different course (and might not have led to the Cold War ending). It was largely Clinton's economic policies and standing up to and then working with Gingrich that resulted in a budget surplus.

      Time and time again it has been a presidents agenda that has enormous leverage on how an economy performs.

      I run my business the same way as you, but ever since John Adams became President, it has been the president which set the economic agenda.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 21 months ago from Ohio, USA

      "(President Bush owns 2009 Q1 because President Obama, or any other President for that matter, has no effective control over the economic output of the first quarter of their presidency)."

      The word rubbish leaps to mind, but I'll ask politely: how does any President for that matter have effective control over any economic output at any point in his presidency? How does he magically gain effective control over economic output at the start of Q2? How does me mysteriously release control at the end of his last term? Last time I looked there were three branches of the Federal government, two of which did not have the word 'president' in them.

      I ran my business the same regardless of who was President. Every morning I woke up without a single thought regarding The White House or who lived in it. I didn't work harder or easier if there was a Republican or Democrat in office.

    • My Esoteric profile image
      Author

      My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I did a quick Internet search for this and didn't find it, but, I don't doubt the GAOs findings, in fact I have charts and analysis in other hubs which show the same thing.

      But, I am puzzled by your comment on the 2008-2009 "tax cut". This was just an extension of tax breaks that had expired (all of which benefit the middle and lower classes) as well as increases in things like AMT exclusions and standard deduction (which also benefits the non-wealthy). I didn't see one item in that bill which benefitted just the wealthy. Consequently, this extension of tax breaks tended to LOWER (caps are for emphasis and visibility) Income Inequality, not increase it. So, from my analysis, the extension of the tax breaks was a boon to lower and middle income taxpayers and was neutral toward the wealthy.

      The major tax initiatives were the 2001-2002 Bush tax cut and the Obama "fiscal cliff" tax compromise of 2013-2014. While Bush's tax cut INCREASED Income Inequality, Obama's tax cut (non-wealthy)/increase (wealthy) works to reduce Income Inequality; only time will tell if the increase in the Gini Index which measures such things begins to slow down or even decline as a result.

      BTW, if you read some of my other Hubs on the subject, the results are even worse than what I suspect the GAO's report found. The reason I say this is I take a much longer time-frame than what the GAO probably did (more than likely it was a span from 1990 to 2003, I consider beginning points of 1980 and somewhere in the 1960s, I think)

      When you say "I've already posted several examples of how the wealthy people are "entitled" to certain types of tax cuts, corporate tax subsidies and cuts that the average individual middle and lower income earners pay for." I say "absotutely". These breaks more than make up for the limits put on itemized deductions for those in the 1% and above. Those limits, btw, do effect me, but I don't have the off-sets that the .1% and above get, i.e., the ones you speak of.

      Do I mind the limits? Not particularly, for I am one of those who think the more wealthy you are, the more you ought to pay in taxes. But I don't believe that probably for the same reasons you do. What I think is that the more money and/or power you have, the more opportunities become available to you than for people of lesser means. That is a function of two things, 1) life in general, that is the way it works and 2) the protection offered by our form of government; the more you have, the more that protection is worth. Problem is, that "protection" is free ... and it shouldn't be. It should be paid for like any other thing of value and the way it is collected is through higher tax rates on those who earn more.

      You say, Ewent, that "Is that not welfare for the wealthy when the wealthiest 1% top income earners get massive tax cuts " I ask, when was the last "massive" tax break where the wealthy benefited disproportionately more than the non-wealthy; I can think of three, and one of them wasn't really "massive", but big enough.

      I would rephrase "Once you factor in how employers get away with all manner of under the radar corruption, you see "HOW" wealth has been earned." to read "Once you factor in how SOME employers get away with all manner of under the radar corruption, you see "HOW" wealth has been earned DISHONESTLY and UNETHICALLY."

      I for one run what was a $6 M business, but do to the unethical and dishonest competitor (and possible collusion within the company requesting the work) we are now a $1.5 M company ... boy am I having fun!

      If an employer hires, on a consistent basis, one employee to replace four WITHOUT an major increase in technology to replace the productivity of those displaced employees, then they will quickly go out of business. If those four employees can effectively be replaced by one, then they shouldn't have been employed in the first place in order to have a profitable business.

      As to the second to last paragraph. I would modify that somewhat to say, "If you earn Wealth do to benefits and capabilities provided by our Constitution, laws, and regulations, then you must pay taxes commiserate with the value of those benefits."

      I do not believe the company "owes" its workers anything in fair and open competition (which rarely happens), other than a safe and secure working environment and to be treated fairly and without discrimination. Nor do I believe a company "owes" the customer anything, other than a safe product and an honest service, for the same reason (competition, which does occur more frequently)

      Workers - In those frequent cases where the employee is at a distinct competitive disadvantage to the employer, like it has been for most of our history, then government must step in. The minimum wage (which was established by FDR to protect Northern labor from the cheap labor in the South, btw) was governments misguided answer. I say misguided because the minimum wage by its very existence stifles economic growth because companies are less willing to form and therefore not hire workers (I don't believe the other argument that companies go out of business; if they are that weak where they can't absorb cost through efficiencies and higher prices, then maybe they shouldn't be in business.) So, what is the alternative, and there must be an alternative if you don't want people dying on the street? The alternative is the Earned Income Tax Credit, a much more robust version of what we have now. It accomplishes exactly the same purpose as the minimum wage without the negative consequences. And what's better is that the employer pays for most of it anyway through slightly higher taxes.

      Anyway, that is how I save the world.

    • Ewent profile image

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 2 years ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      Please read the 2005 GAO report. It clearly shows that the 1% in the US with the "highest incomes" earned 11% growth in their wealth.

      Add in the demand by conservatives for 2 more tax cuts in 2008 and 2009. Now, the total earned in wealth is even higher than the 2004 11% increase.

      Just as the wealthy conservatives accuse those who pay every pay period into SS, Medicare and Medicaid as being "entitled," so too are the wealthy.

      I've already posted several examples of how the wealthy people are "entitled" to certain types of tax cuts, corporate tax subsidies and cuts that the average individual middle and lower income earners pay for.

      Is that not welfare for the wealthy when the wealthiest 1% top income earners get massive tax cuts and leave huge gaps in revenue needed to pay our US debts? Who do you think fills in those gaps that the 1% avoid paying in their fair share amounts if not the middle class?

      Once you factor in how employers get away with all manner of under the radar corruption, you see "HOW" wealth has been earned.

      Sure..any employer can hire one employee to do the job 4 employees used to do. Sure. Any employer can take advantage of tax cuts just for locating in a certain state or municipality...but when those cuts leave huge holes in the economy, then these crooks blame the taxpayers? I think not.

      If you earn your wealth in the US, you OWE ...you owe the employees a living wage for helping you to earn that wealth. You owe consumers fair pricing on goods and services and not price gouging every 3 months jacking the prices on everything. You owe taxpayers for the money they pay that you don't when you take all those fat tax cuts and subsidies that keep your businesses in existence.

      As Thomas Jefferson once said, "There is no freedom without responsiblity." Too bad too many wealthy Americans like to pretend they have NO such responsibility for the freedom they have to be wealthy people in the US.

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      My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      You said Ewent, that I "Sorry, but when you try to absolve wealth in a way that opens the doors to mass greed ..." Which set of my statements led you that conclusion?

      Why should you feel "sympathy for me" (and why would I want you to?) because I worked hard for what I got, isn't that the way it is supposed to be? And who said a family who has $250K income shouldn't be able to make it? It certainly wasn't me. Of course they should as should any family earning more than $50K/yr.

      Exactly what is wrong with "Employers get their healthcare at discounted rates just for enrolling 15 or more employees. ..." Should larger pools of people get lower rates? That seems like a good thing for the employee to me; apparently not you. And again, what is wrong with an employer investing their money until such time it must be expensed? Are they breaking any laws or even being unethical? I don't see it; it's their money after all.

      Where did I say "you saw" anything? I looked back and nothing of that nature is there.

      While I basically agree with "The level of damage in the US today is by those all too well connected.", it is only true when you assert "The level of damage in the US today is by SOME OF those all too well connected. And what is wrong with K buying a $7K shower curtain if it pleases him:? It is certain something I wouldn't do if I had that kind of money, but then he is not me and I don't need to judge.

      What I care about much, much MORE is HOW K earned enough money to do that. Did he generate it by hurting other people along the way or did he come by it honestly through hard work, talent, and innovation? Personally, I think it is the former but that has nothing to do with what he purchased with it; that only clouds the issue.

      Re: Blankfien, Dimon, et al; My only explanation is they are crooks of the highest order and probably should spend the rest of their lives in jail. BUT, that doesn't mean 100% of their peers are equally guilty of terrible behavior, I doubt even 50% aren't; but I am shaky ground there.

      No question about your League of Crooks among the 1%, but are you implying that anybody with that much income are crooks, even a large majority of them?

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      My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Again, Ewent, categorical statements like "The 1% are comprised of people who benefit most from tax cuts,..." are rarely, if ever, 100% true all of the time. The tax change policies of Obama, Clinton, Bush 1, and Kennedy benefitted the non-wealthy more than it did the wealthy. (I can't use the GAO definition because it is unique to them and not the commonly accepted definition.)

      Without looking into each "subsidy" regardless of form as an individual action, you don't know whether it was beneficial to society or not. Take the subsidies Bush 2 and Obama provided to green technology; without them oil and gas would be our only alternative ... until that gave out and there is nothing to replace it with. On the other hand, very profitable oil companies getting development tax breaks is ridiculous; but you wouldn't know that until you take a close look at it.

      Take your NJ example. Without that $5,000 break during times of high unemployment, NJ, and the nation, would have forgone the stimulative and tax generating effect of an additional $30,000 - $40,000 minimum injected into the economy in addition not so inconsiderable tax savings from not paying unemployment or public assistance to the person they hired. Chances are, much more than $5,000 was recovered in economic terms than was spent incentivizing a company to hire someone. That break made quite a bit of sense from 2009 - 2012; it doesn't make any sense at all today. Again, you have to look into the particulars.

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      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 2 years ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      The Office of Government Accountability (GAO) lists the 1% as those who earn the biggest benefits from tax cuts. In 2004, after a single tax cut, the top 1% of US earners were 11% wealthier from ONE tax cut. Then, 2 more tax cuts followed.

      The 1% are comprised of people who benefit most from tax cuts, corporate tax subsidies and state subsidies that keep their businesses in existence. Please don't try to tell me this is not so.

      All any NJ business owner has to do is hire an employee for 18 months to get a single $5,000 tax cut. All any NJ gentleman farmer has to do is sell one bale of hay and his property taxes are cut by 25%.

      Sorry, but when you try to absolve wealth in a way that opens the doors to mass greed that diminishes the 99%, you do not, in any way, have an answer to the problems of how conservatism has demonized the poor and middle class in this country.

      As I read your post, I also read between the lines of how we should all feel sympathy that you worked so hard for your wealth. Really? And that wealth never came with the aforementioned benefits no one but those with wealth have equal access to?

      Sorry...but if any family cannot live on $250K a year, they need to go back to school and study economics. These are the same employers, who like mine, say, "I can rip off my employees easier than I can my customers." And he, like all employers do this very thing.

      Employers get their healthcare at discounted rates just for enrolling 15 or more employees. Then, of course, there are the skankos employers who bank their employees' payroll deductions in interest bearing accounts until the 401K, IRS or state div. of taxation requires dispersal of those funds. Nice tidy little profit from hard earned employee paychecks, right?

      Please don't bother to tell me what I saw many NJ employers of small to large corporations do.

      The level of damage in the US today is by those all too well connected. Did Kozlowski of Tyco need that $7,000 shower curtain? And how about Madoff? How do you explain how this guy got away with $67 billion from his own clients' retirement accounts right under the noses of the SEC?

      How do you explain why Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase and the other Big 4 of Finance managed to pilfer not just foreclosed homes but also the insurance they collected on foreclosures they instigated in the first place with those bogus ARMs? How do you explain how a guy like the CEO of Healthcare South used his customers' premiums like his personal piggy bank?

      Sorry but when you add in the rest of the NeoRobber Barons like Icahn, Ebbers and one of the Huntsmans, you see the League of Crooks among the top 1%.

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      My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      While I, without question, agree with your first sentiment, I can't with your second ... as broadly as it is stated.

      The reason is, in terms of household income, I am in the top 1.5 % and probably the top 1% myself; to get there, however, your household income must exceed only $250,000 (bet you didn't know it was that low) and I can tell you I didn't get my wealth through tax subsidies, etc. Where do I get mine? From my wife and my retirements (two of them), salary from being CFO of my company, a little rental income, and stock trading. And I worked full-time from 1971, when I joined the Army, to the present.

      Those that you think you are talking about are actually the top 0.1%, where the bottom threshold is $1.6 M. But even there, most have earned their wealth honestly and a reasonable degree of ethical behaviour; the same is true, I feel, with most small to medium size companies and many large to very large corporations.

      But, like the problem with the portrayal of the poor where the Right uses the bad actions of a few to paint the whole, so does the Left when talking about the top 1%. Neither approaches represent reality but a pretend world created by each group for their own propaganda purposes.

      The difference, the way I see it, is the problem the Left is raising the roof about has much more negative consequences to society than the boogeymen the Right is upset about. While it takes around a million poor people abusing the system to start approaching significance, it only takes a few wealthy people and corporations acting poorly to achieve the same level of damage.

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      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 2 years ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      Poverty costs infinitely more when it destroys honesty, integrity, progress and advancement.

      This is the reason the most backward US states want to hang on for dear life to their antiquated cultures. They know so long as there is no honesty, integrity, progress and advancement, the rest of the country will pull up their slack...on our tax dollars. All while these states get to live in the 1800s, oblivious to the damage they are doing to the entire country.

      When 1% of the population ONLY earns wealth through tax subsidies, corporate tax cuts and loopholes, that's a kind of welfare that is borne of an entitlement attitude that is as phony as a $2 bill.

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      My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      That is true, but at a high cost to everybody; it wasn't only the rich and famous who lost their heads in the French Revolution.

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      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 2 years ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      My Esoteric, I agree. People can stand deprivation, hardship and mindless austerity for only a while before they revolt.

      When you have "HAVE" mentalities treating the middle and lower class like trash and refusing to play fair, the HAVES will be knocked off of their pedestals with a crash...usually of their own making.

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      My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I hate to say it, but what we are headed to is the norm, historically. Prior to 1918,

      - say 1900, the top 1% had 17% of income and 50% of the nations wealth (it was worse prior to that in America and much worse in Europe)

      - in 1960, after the leveling effects of WW I, the Great Depression, and WW II, the top 1% got 7% of income and 25% of wealth (this is probably as good as it can get and it wasn't bad)

      - in 2010, it has worsened to 12% and 35%, respectively.

      The distribution of income and wealth was one, but not the only factors in the French Revolutions. It also played a part in changing the distribution of power that came with the Magna Carter in England; but, this was mainly between aristocrats. Obviously, it was behind the success of the various communist revolutions, just not in the way Marx predicted.

      My point is that populations will put up with a lot (mainly because the wealthy control the levers of power and often the deployment of police and military forces) before getting into a full-fledged revolt. On a positive note, our political system will probably correct things when it gets too bad now that we have had almost 75 years of a vibrant middle class in our 230 year history.

      But, the middle class, as is well known now, is in danger of disappearing. The middle 40% as gone from 45% to 35% of income and 30% to 25% in total wealth. The economic dynamics which has led to this decline are well established and does not appear to be changing.

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      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 2 years ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      My Esoteric, Thank you. The reality is that what some refer to as "conservatism" has nothing remotely connected to the idea of efficient, effective government.

      What good is any ideology if it is only effective for 1% of the population?

      When a global investment guru recognizes the damage done by today's so-called "conservatism," revolt is coming. History through the ages proves that the wealth regime never lasts.

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      My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Great information Ewent and thanks for reading and commenting.

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      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 2 years ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      Recently, Robert Kessler, a global investment guru was interviewed on Consuelo Mack's Wealth Track program. When asked what he saw as the biggest obstacle to the future of investments, he said, "wages that have stagnated backward 35 years."

      Conservatives are too heavily invested in Big Business to so much as blink an eye at what this 35-year retrograde in wages actually means. Not just for those who are working longer, harder and for less..but for the long term interest of the US's economy.

      Conservatives have ALWAYS refused to take accountability for their actions, all while they exploit taxpayers, consumers and their own employees. For conservatives, it's a round Robin game of extort profits by stiffing employees on wages and making them pay for all their own so-called "employer benefits." The dirty little secret there is that Mr. Employer gets a free ride on HIS benefits and all he has to do is register 15 employees on any 401K or HMO and his costs are part of what his employees pay for these "benefits."

      And let's be honest. Every Big Business CEO isn't driving around in a 12 year old jalopy or living in a ghetto for a reason: He is living off tax subsidies and tax cuts, his employees pay for through their federal taxes. When Mr. Employer decides to peddle his corporate influence to his favorite politicians, he just jacks the prices on goods and services and makes a tidy little profit in the meantime, some of which goes to his corporate influenced politicians. This is government? We would do just as well allowing the Mafia to BE the government. A crook is a crook is a crook...whether his collar is white or not.

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      Nathan Orf 4 years ago

      Good work ME! You definitely have a lot more patience in debating than I do. Your hubs are all very informative and thought provoking, and this one is no different.

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I know, on balance, Obamacare will end up costing some taxpayer dollars, mainly driven by expanded Medicaid, but not nearly as many as you think. I absolutely know it will bring down overall healthcare costs; in my former life, I was a cost analyst and therefore understand the economic mechanics involved when you increase the pool size with healthy, younger people. For a change, Obamacare is having a real impact on fraud in Medicare, unlike previous attempts; the key is to keep it going.

      You will have to ask Bush about the 16 Trillion. Clinton was bringing the debt down when he left office and Obama had to clean up Bush's mess.

      Neither Social Security nor Medicare are failing because they are intrinsically flawed, they are having problems, some significant, because the politicians we have in Congress today ARE inherently flawed.

      Actually, your taxes will ultimately go down because the State and Federal taxpayers won't be picking up the tab for the uninsured.

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      Wayne Joel Bushong 4 years ago from America

      I always wonder why Democrats put blind belief into something like health care and openly believe it will save money? How many wonderful programs produced by our government save money? When did the federal government ever come up with a way to SAVE money for the taxpayer? If they are so responsible then why are we 16 TRILLION in debt? Surely sir you cannot force yourself to believe this will be good for America? It fails in every country in the world and our government has the largest failing record of all countries when it comes to implementing huge projects such as this? Where does your confidence come from? Daddy always said if it looks like a rat, smells like a rat, walks like a rat...........it must be a rat! So I pay for my health insurance and I'm getting taxed more to pay for someone elses health insurance.........where is the savings???

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      No, the Dept of Labor is part of the executive branch, led by a Dept Secretary appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. The White House is elsewhere on the organization chart and led, more or less, directly by the President; big difference.

      The President has never promised the social security tax holiday would never go away (how is that for a double negative), that is why it is called a "holiday". Find me one instance where he promised to permanently to lower individual social security tax contributions.

      The President has submitted a budget to Congress, as required, in Feb of each year he has been President; and will do so again this Feb.

      Obamacare is not an entitlement. In a perfect world, which I know it is not, it saves money.

      Do you mean to say you choose not to have health insurance and be a drag on the rest of society when you get sick, go to the hospital and can't pay for it?

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      Wayne Joel Bushong 4 years ago from America

      So you uh don't believe the dept of labor is part of the white house admin??? I'm not surprised at tax hikes, but your president has stood upon many a podium and promised Americans it wouldn't happen, this should dismay you sir? No budget in 3 years, no direction, no leadership.............only another giant entitlement called health care for many more masses that refuse to work..........and I have to add yet another burden to my own pile of bills to make it happen........ by the way saying it the stolen money didn't come from income tax doesn't help now does it????

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      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Patriot thanks for the comment and the fruit salad.

      First, nobody in the White House produces unemployment numbers, never have, never will; they come from the Dept of Labor using the same methodology that does not vary from the time before. While there are a multitude of ways of measuring unemployment, there is only one official way to measure it that is used month-in and month-out which means that over time, you have a useful set of numbers to guage how unemployment is doing. A one month drop doesn't mean a thing, a downward trend does and that is what Obama has established and has maintained even after the election. Even your "real" number has come down over time, it use to be 20%.

      Why are you surprised about your increase, everybody and their brother knew that was coming and they also knew it wasn't from your income tax rate going up, unless you earn over $400,000. I think you knew, and just aren't saying, that your increase is from the end of the social security tax holiday.

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      Wayne Joel Bushong 4 years ago from America

      In your first comments you berated a comment by saying she didn't look at the charts closely.........Your charts are probably not truthful, why? Because unemployment numbers come from the white house! Notice how unemployment dropped right before the election? I have heard many authorities say the REAL number is around 13 to 16 % So who knows what the real numbers are? Obama said only those that are rich will get tax hikes, I make under 5 digit salary and mine just went up $240 a MONTH! thats gas, shoes for the kids, groceries etc..........I cant take another 4 years of this!

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I appreciate your comments Ken, sometimes I get too cute with my words. I didn't say Bush had a Republican majority in 07-08, clearly the Democrats had the majority in both Houses; my statement was that the Conservatives controlled what got to his desk, which is absolutely true given the Conservative's decision to cross the Ribicon and abuse the filibuster for short-term gain but long-term self-destruction.

      Hopefully I gave Bush credit in the hub for biting the bullet and supporting TARP, I try to do so every chance I get. However, I do not give Conservatives, and some conservative Democrats, similar kudos for they opposed TARP, some to the bitter end, until the stock market crashed yet again after they voted TARP down the first time. While TARP, and the auto bailout, came into existance prior to Obama's swearing in, it was up to Obama to implement them in the face of stiff Conservative opposition.

      While Obama didn't have Katrina, he did have the gulf oil spill. Worse though for the economy, he had, for the first time in American history, an opposition party dead-set stopping his every effort to bring the economy out of the worst economic downturn since 1937. In EVERY similar or worse downturn, the opposition party HELPED the recovery, not opposed it as has the Conservatives have done for four years.

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      Ken Burgess 5 years ago from Florida

      An incredible amount of effort and information, however when I saw you wrote that Bush had a Republican majority in Congress in '07-08 ... with that error comes others...

      Much indeed was left out... from ignoring 9/11 and the impact that had on the economy, to Katrina and the impact that had, to the fact that before he left office, the Bush Administration had already used TARP to stop the collapse of the economy, and gave Obama the foundation to give us yet another...

      So, what has Obama done with 4 years of no major disasters, and no Banking crisis? Why is the economy still in a quagmire about to slip into another recession?

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Bye Annie, it has been good and very informative.

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      Annie 5 years ago

      Dear My,

      We''re splitting hair after hair and I know you'll claim 'victory' and I WON, I'm history. It's been nice talking to you, but inasmuch as I try to see your points and entertain them as possibly my truths, I don't see evidence of your entertaining my points at all. Time to VAMOOSE! Asta la by-bye!

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Yes, I had agreed with you until my comment change got lost in a time out. The Dems did stop the Conservatives, but it wasn't with cloture or the filibuster; cloture is used to get their own agenda through. Instead, it was through the agenda itself, much the way the House has always done it and can do it since they never voted in a filibuster rule to pretect the minority party.

      It didn't use to be this way. Back in the Reagan/Bush era when there were still Republicans in the Republican Party, the filibuster was used sparingly. It was like the nuclear bomb, once used indiscrimanently, the other side will retaliate ten-fold; therefore the two sides learned to get along. The majority had to let the minority have a role and the minority had to let the majority more or less get its agenda through, so long as it had a minority "flavor" to it; it was called the "art of compromise"

      That all went out the window when the Conservatives took over the Republican Party in 1995 and then lost the Senate in 2007. For Conservatives, it is principle over pragmatism and they started using the Bomb because the "art of compromise" had been lost.

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      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      We were discussing the Congress make-up under Bush's last term. Point being: They effective prevented the GOP from having any say in anything. So do I get to say that they were obstructing anything from getting passed that "did not meet the liberal left's approval" to borrow your words and switch it up. Effectively preventing anything from getting done to insure their candidate a victory.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Sassy, did you mean to say "ever" in "The Congress instituted the cloture votes to prevent a filibuster from ever occurring"? If so, that is not correct. Cloture is certainly a way to stop a filibuster, but it doesn't guarantee it happening; today, it takes 60 votes to stop a filibuster, that is why the Conservatives have been so effective with it, they have more than 40 Senators.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I just added another section to the Hub for your reading and viewing pleasure.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      With

      "That would go a long way towards ending union influence to keep teachers who don't produce, but are tenured. Lousy teacher resting on his/her laurels is NO reason to keep said teacher until it's time to collect a big, fat pension check."

      are you suggesting the reason for poor education in America in the poor schools (as opposed good education in the rich schools) is the plethora of tenured, underperfoming teachers protected by their unions; so many they far outnumber the good teachers to such a degree they hold students back? If not, what was the point of your statement?

      You have, I have mine on, although sometimes I am not sure it does any good, but 20 times $12,000 times 50,000 people is 12 billion. By comparison, Bernie Madoff ripped the public off for about $18 billion all by himself, more or less., in actual losses and there is around $65 billion missing from accounts; and that is just one guy. Add to that Enron, AIG, Bear Stearns, Citibank, Merril Lynch, and so on and so on. As I said, welfare fraud is a drop in the bucket by comparison.

      You might want to say that welfare fraud costs the taxpayer while all these other things I mentioned only hurt private people; not true, there is a huge taxpayer cost in the aftermath such massive business fraud.

      The post you are referring to is two above yours. Yes, CBO does project Medicare to run out of funds in 20 years or sooner (and SS not all that far behind) IF something isn't done. Neither side disagrees that something needs to be done, the question is what. My personal favorite, and one I think the Dems would accept is the one put forward by Alice Rivlen, former CBO Director, now of the Brookings Institute,at one of the hearings of the supercommittee; it is called the "Premium Support Plan" and is also a combination public-private arrangement but leaving the gov't in charge. http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2011/12/1...

      As to the Ryan plan's protection of seniors currently on Medicare, that is problematic because one doesn't know what will happen to costs (which are currently going down) or availability of services as the system reverts to private care..

      What has the number of pages in Obamacare got to do with anything; I would hope they would be very careful in their implementation of this hugely complex initiative; that takes a lot of words.

      Speaking of "homework" and "With President Obama having taken $700,000,000,000 from Medicare to fund Obamacare,", are you aware that Ryancare cuts Medicare by about the same amount? The bottom line difference in cost is Obamacare costs the taxpayer more and the seniors less while Ryancare (or my biased way "Ryanlackofcare") costs the taxpayers less and the seniors more; the voters get to choose.

      Shovel ready jobs ... sighhh, you got me there, they weren't, at least not as soon has Obama had been led to believe or fooled himself into. Ultimately they appeared, but nowhere near as soon as he thought. By--the-by, Ob

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      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      @My I thought the statement about the cloture votes meant what you were saying as well. Until I read further and discovered that was not the case. The Congress instituted the cloture votes to prevent a filibuster from ever occurring. I should have been more clear here and that is my fault. (yeah, I too have a life outside Hub pages and sometimes am in a hurry lol). The point there was that the filibuster is not the obstructing mechanism as you claim and that the Dems in that particular Congress blocked the GOP from having any say in anything with the cloture vote process.

      As for education, time and time again I do believe the GOP has offered several different variations of voucher systems. This would allow that poor black child in Mississippi to choose which school they attend. Naturally, they will choose the one that gives them the best opportunity. Of course, the Unions block this measure at every turn because it will expose those teachers who should not be teaching. Do not get me wrong. Unions were necessary and brought about a lot of needed and positive change. However, now, they simply allow below par people to keep their jobs and drive up the costs of goods with wages that are not equal at all to those of the non-union sector. Probably a discussion for another Hub but I wanted to address the issue since you brought it up. The answer to the education issue however, is not taxing the wealthy and pouring massive amounts of tax dollars into a system already proven a failure. (see Obama's budget plan and the largest increase in Education funding EVER).

      What else was there. Oh, thank you for saying I do not even come close to a neo-nazi, and no, that wasn't directed at you. I was merely pointing out that while Annie and I disagree with your interpretation, we have not fallen to name calling while those in your house have felt the need to do so claiming WE are the problem. You on the other hand, have been very civil and I hope you understand that this isn't anything personal against you on my part at all.

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      Annie, 5 years ago

      I had a whole post here that was eaten in cyberspace. Since education isn't the same EVERYWHERE, we should target the EDUCATION system. Not with federal dollars, but with state dollars. That would go a long way towards ending union influence to keep teachers who don't produce, but are tenured. Lousy teacher resting on his/her laurels is NO reason to keep said teacher until it's time to collect a big, fat pension check.

      The numbers I referred to are JUST Social Security Diability/Medicare and Medicaid, but I'll isolate for now how much those people who 'milk the system' do cost.

      The average monthly payment is $1000; lets just suppose that there are 50,000 out of the 6.8 million people who are on the rolls, but don't meet strict eligibility requirements. Thats $1000 x 12= $12000/year x 20 (an average number of years people are on SSD, though often that number is EXCEEDED) . That is $ TWELVE TRILLION, unless I miscounted my zeros (don't have my glasses on). And that's only SSD.

      Even assuming there are only 1000 people 'milking the system.,' that's $240,000,000. I don't know, nor does anyone know, how many are really abusing the system, but that $700,000,000,000 would have been MORE THAN ENOUGH to find out.

      I'm also remembering in your post that you said how it was that I could justify killing Medicare, Medicaid and SS? I'm only going to speak to Medicare right here. The CBO actuaries have projected that Medicare will go bankrupt in 20+ years.

      With President Obama having taken $700,000,000,000 from Medicare to fund Obamacare, Medicare's solvency is 'x' minus $700,000,000,000. That hasn't been told to seniors, nor have the Progressives been straight with seniors. It has been said that Romney and Ryan would end MDC as we know it. For those under 55 that is true, but for those OVER 55 or for those w/in 10 years of Medicare age, the benefits will remain the same.

      So shame on Progressive liberals for perpetuating talking points and not doing their own homework before they scare seniors to death. You also mention how can I rest knowing that Medicare, etc will be killed. The plans are going to dies anyway and Republicans have plans to save them.

      You've heard Tim Geithner prattle about, 'we don't have a plan; we just don't like yours' or some such nonsense. WHAT THE HELL kind of plan is that?

      You also say that I - I can't find the post, so I h ave to assume that you or HubPages removed it- but it was directed at people wanting to see MDC, SS, MEDICAID fail.; not the people die, but the programs fail. On what basis do you see that?

      Assuming that for a minute that it was Medicare that conservatives want to see fail. That would mean a failure to provide your mother with healthcare. Would you want that for YOUR mother, your wife, or grandmother? If you wouldn't want it for YOUR MOTHER, what makes you think that I'D WANT IT FOR YOU, FOR MY MOTHER? Smacks of elitism to me.

      We have a problem in this country in that (to use an old analogy) the health care pie is only so big. You can't serve more people, more pie (benefits) without the slices getting smaller (rationing). To make ends meet, you bake another pie (raise taxes) and slices get even smaller, decreasing bennies.

      We have to do something, granted, but we need to take a more common sensical approach to finding a solution that isn't a 2000 page bill that no one knew (except lobbyists and staffers) what it contained. Something as big as healthcare cannot be someone's signature 'achievement' and what he wants to go down in history for.

      It will affect your kids, my nieces and nephews and their families for generations to come. It should be ANYTHING but something that measures the success of a presidency. Think of the tax reforms and all that could have been accomplished, figuring out why Jeffrey Immelt's company GE paid no taxes. Oh I forgot, "shovel ready jobs weren't really as shovel ready as we expected."

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      It took a bit to find it, but I have been wanting to respond to this one for awhile now, Sassy -

      " ... Opportunity to succeed is there for every American citizen. ... For those willing to work for it, there is every opportunity that anyone who has succeeded in America had. To say differently is a falsehood."

      If you were a black child starting school in Mississippi today, I really doubt you would be saying that, unless you actually believe the school he or she will go to will have the same qualility of teachers, school infrastructure, and funding as say that of a white child starting school in Beverly Hills, CA. That is just one of those "factors" you talked about that is critical to having the same opportunity at success. How does this obvious difference in quaility of education each receives give these two children the same opportunity at success when they graduate, even if they both graduate at the top of their class?

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      The fifth paragraph first, I come by that conclusion by observation and paying attention to what happened in Congress. I don't need charts and data for that, I saw it with my own eyes, just as I am watching it today.

      Probably a good point on the first paragraph, something I need to check. Again, however, by observation, since I have been alive and watching the political scene since the late 1950s (when I first took an interest) I have noticed that most filibusters are initiated by the minority party to block something the majority party is trying to push through, that was what the filibuster was designed for; it really wasn't put there as a tool for the majority to protect itself from the minority, but the otherway around.

      Consequently, please forgive me for jumping to the conclusion that is the way it was actually used.

      Is that the way I put it - "hellbent on cutting "excess fat" in entitlements ..."? I would actually agree with the way that is phrased, so I doubt I would have used the words "excess fat".

      BTW, is that 1.5 trillion before or after the payroll tax contributions? How about all of the people who died because they couldn't getting medical care or food since Medicaid and Social Security were killed? That is your goal, isn't it? (the killing of the programs, not the people, of course.)

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      Annie 5 years ago

      "-- the filibuster started being used as a weapon, it seems, in 1971 with the 92nd Congress with where there were 20 votes, up from 6 the Congress before." IT SEEMS. How about AS EVIDENCED BY and giving a few examples as to HOW from EACH party.

      THAT is not all the data, so you can't "present most of what has come before this comment" intelligently.

      Sassy said that, ""The 110th Congress broke the record for cloture votes, reaching 112 at the end of 2008." (a Democratic majority Congress I might point out) Now, do I get to say their sole purpose was to hinder Bush to insure election of their candidate?""

      and you replied

      "What that statement says is that the Republicans of the 110th Congress tried to block, via the filibuster, most of the Democratic measures they put forward; they were successful about in about 50% of the cases. "

      How do you come to that conclusion. The statement says only that there were 112 cloture votes for the 110th Congress. It says NOTHING about Republicans TRYING to block votes via the filibuster. That is the part that is open to discussion.

      You made another point, earlier about why Conservatives are so hell=bent on cutting excess fat in entitlements-or did you specify Medicaid? That is because entitlement spending is one of the main drivers of our debt. Medicare and Medicaid represent 23% or our national debt at almost $800,000,000,000 and SS isn't far behind at $745,000,000,000. Right there you have @ 1.5 trillion

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Sassy, I don't think you helped yourself with this statement:

      "The 110th Congress broke the record for cloture votes, reaching 112 at the end of 2008." (a Democratic majority Congress I might point out) Now, do I get to say their sole purpose was to hinder Bush to insure election of their candidate?"

      What that statement says is that the Republicans of the 110th Congress tried to block, via the filibuster, most of the Democratic measures they put forward; they were successful about in about 50% of the cases. Does that support my point that whatever measures the Democrats actually tried to get through the Senate (maybe to help mitigate the coming disaster) were stopped by the Republicans?

      Now, let's get to presenting the rest of the numbers for comparison:

      -- in the 111th Congress there were 97 cloture votes

      -- so far in the 112th, they are 64

      -- but in the 107th, 108th, and 109th Congress, there were only 61, 49, and 51 cloture votes respectively when the Democrats were in the minority, (I find that interesting, don't you?)

      -- the filibuster started being used as a weapon, it seems, in 1971 with the 92nd Congress with where there were 20 votes, up from 6 the Congress before.

      Now, that is how I use data, all of the data, to understand an issue; which is how I have present most of what has come before this comment.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I only plead guilty to the "myopic" as a direct accusation. "Biased" goes along with the territory, you have both proven to be quite intelligent, but I will go along with you on the closed-minded; as to a new-nazi stalker, you aren't even in the ballpark with a few I have run into, sorry.

      Believe it or not, there are areas where I disagree with liberals on, and this goes to a point Annie and I talked about, I run into the same round of comments as we have here, just from the other side and I get accused of the same things you do in terms of picking and choosing my facts and data, leaving things out, and so on (I would point out that in using long-term data, which I often do, that is sort of hard to accomplish), so, other than the neo-nazi part, I have heard the same from the liberals as well; maybe they said neo-communist.

      You are absolutely right, Sassy, about a few rotten apples don't spoil the businessmen barrel either, but you slipped right past my question; why do Conservatives apply most of their energy to solving the welfare problem rather than the much more serious businessman problem? That is my question.

      And yes, I have have failed to address probably 90% of things brought up in the comments, but then I have a limited amount of time between my full-time job, my book writing, my hub writing (other hubs, that is), and, oh yes, my family, as I get darts from my wife. Consequently, I get to what I can.

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      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      @My

      So, let's see here. So far, for disagreeing with your interpretation of some numbers, and the omission of others, Annie and myself have now been accused of being biased, closed minded, myopic, having the intelligence of a child, and though indirectly I'll admit, compared to a neo-nazi stalker. But, WE are the issue?

      No one believes that most welfare recipients are liars and cheats. Only that some do exist that are taking advantage of the system. However, I could turn that around as you seem to suggest that all successful businessmen are evil and out causing "human and economic damage". Hardly the case.

      You have yet failed to address much of what was presented to you in the comments. I have no issue with anyone disagreeing with my point of view (unlike your fans here who somehow feel the need to denigrate anyone who thinks differently than them) but at least do so offering ALL the facts and not just those that support your position.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      "most of what I work with are sour cable facts" - I thought you caught me in a fruedian-slip, anyway, however you spell scource-able.

      "I hardly believe that most welfare recipients are liars and cheats..." - I am glad that is the case, and I hope most conservatives feel the same way, but tell me, why is there such a fixation on welfare cheats by Conservatives; why has that been and is one of their main campaign themes when it is such a small piece of the problem? There are much bigger fish to fry that do significantly more human and economic damage from the business comunity than from the welfare communityp, why isn't the Conservatives focus on that much larger problem? More later.

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      Annie 5 years ago

      ", I am quite aware a Conservative has no hope of convicing a dedicated liberal to change their mind either" At best, a well-versed conservative OR a well-versed liberal SHOULD be able and willing to have his mind changed when presented with 'mind-changeable facts.' I've not been presented with that kind of fact, so I've not changed my mind. But, I would.

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      Annie 5 years ago

      "most of what I work with are sour cable facts"

      I agree, MOST of what you work with are sour cable facts. The problem lies with the interpretation of those facts and the facts that omitted.

      I hardly believe that most welfare recipients are liars and cheats. I know not and believe not. The same with other entitlements. Restrictions are too great. Granted, there are scofflaws who milk the system. (what statements have I made to support, " Other statements you have made imply you believe that most welfare recipients are cheats and not just a few...?"

      Being the recipient of an entitlement, I have a unique vision from the inside. The one vision that says that I should work the impossible out, disabilities a-go-go and the other vision that says, in this day and age, the needs of the disabled cannot be met by a church, bake sale or community. The government has stepped in and provided a safety net.

      That is my way of saying that I have been given an opportunity, but the government does NOT owe me the success. People have succeeded in 'getting off' of reliance on an entitlement. How. THEY worked. THEY sweat, THEY paid taxes to use the roads that SOMEONE else (as HIS BUSINESS) built.

      I'd really like to know what it is that I said that somehow indicated to you that I felt most recipients of welfare. are cheats. "I am curious YELLOW!"

      The 'self-fulfilling prophecy'-

      "If you are born poor, that is where you will stay, if you are born middle class, you will stay there or fall back, and if you are born well-off, you will stay that way or get better; since 1981"

      If you believe that "f you are born poor, that is where you will stay, if you are born middle class, you will stay there or fall back, and if you are born well-off, you will stay that way or get better; since 1981"" you have a very good chance of staying there (rich or poor).

      Is that your way of saying that if you are born poor, you will stay poor IF government doesn't step in and save the day? It is only WITH government assistance that you have a CHANCE? For if that's NOT what you mean, it sure as heck SOUNDS like what you mean.

      Are you saying that the only chance one has to succeed is with the assistance of the government? That is sad. I like to think that if I succeed at my endeavors it is because the government made sure I had the OPPORTUNITY TO SUCCEED; then I CHOSE AND I WORKED to MAKE it happen, to get off the 'dole.'

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Annie, yes, I am quite aware a Conservative has no hope of convicing a dedicated liberal to change their mind either, both sides are wedded to dogma rather than pragmatism and logic.

      I also appologize if I made a wrong assumption about your convincibility but it is statements like "Myers-Briggs? You have to be kidding. Please not to insult the ..." and "presented with facts that don't fly in the face of bias ..." that pushed me toward my assumption, given that most of what I work with are sourcable facts and analyse; the fact that you don't like the outcome or my point of view doesn't change the numbers or the context they are presented in.

      It is also statements like "Is that the self-fulfilling prophecy, or what? We were all given a choice and we don't need a government to exercise that choice...." when the context the statement you are refering to clearly is talking about artificial barriers placed in front of those who have less by those who have more in order for them to keep that status.

      What your "self-fulling profacy" orientation tells me is that your going in position is that everybody already has an equal opportunty to advance in the country, all they have to do is try, and that there are no structural barriers preventing them from doing so. That isn't reality, I hope you know and that is why government intervention is needed. That whole paragraph is soaked in the conservative presumption that those who haven't succeeded just didn't try hard enough or try at all. Other statements you have made imply you believe that most welfare recipients are cheats and not just a few, otherwise I would think you would waste so much ink castigating them rather than the rich cheats, where in some cases, just one cost American taxpayers more than all of the welfare cheats put together. It is those who Progressives rail against while Conservatives rail against the welfare cheats, go figure.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      hehe, yeah, he is surprising, that is for sure, thanks for the comment Jo.

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      Jo Miller 5 years ago from Tennessee

      I appreciate your efforts in this hub--well done and informative as usual. I also appreciate your efforts in dealing with some of those responding, but I think you're wasting your time. Facts don't matter to some people. You might use your time better playing with that very bright grandson.

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      Annie 5 years ago

      Scott (?),

      "The data prove that over the last 30 years or so, if you are born poor, that is where you will stay, if you are born middle class, you will stay there or fall back, and if you are born well-off, you will stay that way or get better; since 1981"

      Is that the self-fulfilling prophecy, or what? We were all given a choice and we don't need a government to exercise that choice. We were smart enough, although, to guarantee that we made our government GUARANTEE that we all have an OPPORTUNITY to succeed. The government cannot and should not be in the business of guaranteeing equal success, though, Guarantee equal opportunity, yes. Equal success, no. That is a recipe for disaster and if that's what you want, equal success, please leave now.

      I do take offense at remarks that you have no illusions of changing some minds, I can't speak for Sassy, but I know I am open and can have my mind changed when presented with facts that don't fly in the face of bias, JUST FACTS presented in reasonable adult discourse.

      Myers-Briggs? You have to be kidding. Please not to insult the intelligence of many people by feeling you need to explain what it is and what type.

      "I realize I will never convince you or Sassy or any other solid Conservative to change your opinions, your mind-set is as strong as mine" Have you EVER dared to try, just try, to put the shoe on the other foot? There ARE two sides to every story and anyone who doesn't realize that fully...

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      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Scott --- We are both indeed egalitarians.

      How interesting. I have taken the long, long, long version of Meyers-Briggs twice at a ten year interval. Once the results indicated an INTP and once an INTJ. In either case my numbers always fall close to the mid-line - so just a little more I than E and so forth. I think this is a result of two very literate and intelligent parents one of whom was definitely an I and the other an E. In personal relationships and preferences I am an I. In the classroom I am strong, outspoken E. :)

      You are an extremely patient and dedicated man and you have my gratitude. I could not do what you do. Of course some days I am not sure can deal with 25 eighteen year-olds. I loved your comment that you had no illusions about changing Sassy Sue or Annie's minds, but that you write and go to all the effort for other readers who might not yet be dogmatically committed to an emotional and fearful vision of politics.

      I recently wrote almost the same thing. A neo-Nazi troll came after me for a while and I did respond twice before I began deleting his vile stuff. A fellow hubber said ,"Why are you wasting your time? You will never convince him." Of course I won't convince him!

      I explained that I wasn't writing to him or for him, that I had no expectations. But I was writing for anyone else who might come away with a healthier perspective after reading his emotional and vicious junk and then my measured and rational and evidence based responses.

      Anyway, it was interesting to see you articulate the same thing. I hope you have a good week. Take care. Theresa

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      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      Your logic does not hold My, I'm sorry. Blaming the other guy when you've had 3 years, 2 of which you could have done anything you wanted just does not cut the mustard. It isn't that he hasn't created 10,000,000 jobs. It's that he's hardly created any. More people went on SS disability in June than the number of jobs that were created. In fact, the number of jobs created in his entire tenure as President do not even keep pace with population growth. You are being myopic in your view if you think that in any fashion equals policies that are working.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Sassy, I really do try to be patient and non-commital as to the quality of some of the comments made, but sometimes I need to be blunt. Your myopic view of some things is absolutely mind-boggling. My jaw sort of drops when I read statements like

      "Under this Administration (whose ideas are what you claim we need) more American's have gone into poverty, more are on food stamps than every before in our history"

      While, obviously you are technically correct, it was under Obama's administration this happened, what kind of idiots do you take your readers for? Does it phase you at all that the REASON Obama is left with this kind of terrible statistic in his administration is because the policies of the previous administration cost 10,000,000 American's their jobs, most of them before Obama took office. Exactly how did you think these people were going to feed themselves in the years following the recession, their good looks? Did you think Obama was God and was going to magically create 10,000,000 jobs in 1/4 of the time it took Conservatives to lose them?

      Of course you aren't the only one who throws out these ridiculous illogical bombshells that totally ignore reality, I realize that, but I guess you are the one that just pushed my button, sorry.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      What you see is what you get, Annie, what I think and believe is the synthesis of all the knowledge that I have acquired to date, filtered through whatever genetics gave me as a notion of what is right and wrong. (BTW, I am Scott, much shorter than My Esoteric, but longer than My) Another BTW is I am an INTP by Meyers-Briggs standards; if you are not familiar with MBTI (Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator), just google INTP, and there I am; it is pretty dead on; I am also a Libra. Knowing just those things will tell you quite a bit about how I think and why I feel the way I do.

      Like Theresa, I am an egalitarian at heart and believe there is no social distinction between gender, ages, ethnicicity, income groups, and the like and that the federal government, under the Constitution, has responsibility to insure such distinctions are not created in practice by human bigotry. I beleive it is the duty of the federal government, under the "general Welfare" clause to insure all Americans have the same opportunity to succeed on their own merit and not to have artificial barriers created by human greed to interfer with their ability to live a Tranquil life.

      I definitely DO NOT believe the following message, which epitomizes the Conservative for me, from President Grover Cleveland, a very conservative Bourban Democrat, as he vetoed a farm-aid bill to help Texas farmers during a major drought occuring in the middle of the worst depression in America's history before 1929, he said

      "I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people. The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood"

      I find this view abhorent and against every American value I hold dear because it turns a blind eye to the realities of life and forces others to live in misery in order for him to hold to his principles, which only exist in Utopia.

      All those historic facts and figures I throw out there is to show the that both the Conservative social and economic philosophies have not been, are not, and will not be good for America and that the alternative has consistantly led to better results.

      I realize I will never convince you or Sassy or any other solid Conservative to change your opinions, your mind-set is as strong as mine, I am sure. But I am hoping the discussion will sway others who are still trying to figure it out.

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      Annie 5 years ago

      My,

      "And no, I don't think Conservatives and Progressives want the same thing."

      What do you think I want (re: Union and Welfare)? . I'm a conservative, albeit moderate, and again, to say that you know WHAT I THINK and WHAT the framer's had in their minds, is somewhat presumptous, don't YOU think.

      Regardless of what the SCOTUS thinks, other scholars think, WHAT DO YOU think? Can you separate for a minute from what you've heard, to what YOU, in your gut and in your heart of hearts, THINK? Not an discussion based on YOUR interpretation of stats; rather a discussion completely devoid of talking points; WHAT IS IT THAT MY ESOTERIC FRIEND THINKS WHEN NO ONE IS LOOKING?

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      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      Bush's 2nd term was with a Democratic controlled Congress. Much of what occurred on the economic front was forced on Bush by the Dems. Again, it just is the facts. On the one hand, everyone wants to blame the GOP for "obstructing" when they only hold one chamber. Truth is, the Dems held both chambers in Bush's second term, determining much of the policy. I did not blame Obama for 2008. I said, his policies, that are supported here, have not done anything to help and have only worsened it. That is simply fact.

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      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      SassySue -

      I agree with some of your concerns. But the economic downturn, decisions, and failures that you blame on a "criminal" Obama administration actually began several years earlier in Bushes second term. If we are honest there is plenty of responsibility that must be shared by both Rep. and Dem. Why do so few people mention or acknowledge that?

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      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      Taxing the wealthy to pay the Government isn't going to effect the median income range. The government cannot and should not determine wealth or success. Only jobs and growth does that. This Administration has failed miserably in both areas. I really don't care about progressive nor conservative exactly, if you want the truth. I care about results. Reaganomics was what it was and that was successful at ushering in 25 years of prosperity. Under this Administration (whose ideas are what you claim we need) more American's have gone into poverty, more are on food stamps than every before in our history. And that is in percentages of population, not just numbers. That is not only failure, that is criminal failure. And they take no responsibility for anything. I've never seen any President spend so much time golfing and blaming the other guy than this one. It's nearly 4 years down the road. No, the current mess is all on Obama and the policies you believe are so successful.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Nobody said anything about "stealing" anything, but there is, if you understood economics better, a definite "transfer"; there is absolute proof (those Gini numbers) that since 1981, the old adage that the "rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer" is alive and well in America.

      Since 1981, the top 1% of Americans have been accumulating wealth at a stupendously faster rate than the other 99% and that money has to come from somewhere, doesn't it, it doesn't grow on trees in Gates' backyard. The growth in wealth of the top 1% compared to the next 9% is just as mind-boggling, let alone the comparison of the top 10% to the bottom 90%. It is only when you get to the 80% range do you start seeing equal participation in the remaining growth of wealth in America (that doesn't mean each gets the same amount of money, it means they share at the same "rate".)

      Also, nobody is talking about "tit-for-tat" either. These are aggregate numbers, this is what is happening in the American society as a whole.

      Doen't it freighten you just a little bit to know that the Median Income of all American families is only $27,000 above the poverty line? To me, that says our idea of "The American Dream" is a broken one where only a select few individuals in the poor and the middle class break through to the top and that income mobility in this society is, in reality, a myth. The data prove that over the last 30 years or so, if you are born poor, that is where you will stay, if you are born middle class, you will stay there or fall back, and if you are born well-off, you will stay that way or get better; since 1981, the migration between those level has slowed down substantially.

      "Redistribution" = "Transfer"

      I did miss your nuance in talking about the future as I am so used to that argument being applied by Conservatives to the past and present, sorry.

      Another goal of Progressives is to improve "income mobility"; to make it more realistic that an American, if they work hard, can actually move up the income scale.

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      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      " if the rich are getting richer, it is only because wealth is being transfered from the poorer classes to the richer classes"

      Say what? There is no finite amount of wealth. Bill Gates did not accrue his wealth by stealing it from the poor. There is no "transfer". Anyone has the opportunity to create something, start a business, imagine an idea and market it. When they do so, and enhance their financial position, it is not a "tit for tat" thing. That does not mean that for every rich person, a poor person, or a group of poor people are doomed because someone already made their share of the money.

      And, just for the record, I did not assert that any transfer was happening, I asked if that was the plan to "redistribute" it. To take from Tom A. because he succeeded, and give to Tom B. because he did not.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Sassy, unfortuanetly, it is the opposite that is going on, it is the poor who are giving to the wealthy in the macro world , although you are correct in the micro, acecdotal world. That is the beauty of the Gini index I mentioned earlier. It is a measure economists use to measure the transfer of wealth/income over time. If the Gini index is getting bigger that means wealth is accumulating at the top, which is what I am saying is happening; if it is getting smaller, then wealth is being transfered from the top to the bottom income levels, what you assert is happening, but is not.

      Because total wealth in a country is essentiall a zero-sum game, if the rich are getting richer, it is only because wealth is being transfered from the poorer classes to the richer classes; and that is what the Gini Index is telling us is happening in America, in spite of your anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

      Wasn't Prohibition the goad of the Religious Right, the Conservatives of America? I believe you will find the Progressives of the day fought against that amendment.

      As to #2 and #3, I am sure you know what you are talking about, but none of that sounds familiar to this Progressive.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      No, Annie, I wasn't there, obviously, but I do understand the English language and the nuances of sentence and word structure. There are clear and discernable reasons why certain words are emphacized and others are not; even Supreme Court justices have made note of this in a decision or two that I have read over. I also read what others think as well as what some of the original writers wrote (so much my personal sentence structure and nuance).

      And no, I don't think Conservatives and Progressives want the same thing. Two of the biggest differences are the words Union and Welfare; you and I, as surrogates for our respective views, have entirely different understandings of what those two concepts mean, and, as a result, you push in one direction and I push in the opposite just as Adams and Jefferson did or Hamilton and Madison did (at least until Madison served a couple of years as President, then he started coming around to my way of thinking regarding Union.)

      How Congress legislates to obtain the ideals of Union and Welfare, as well as Liberty (which we don't view in quite the same way either) will either drive to a society more like what Theresa describes and Presidents Washington, Adams, Linclon, Kennedy, Johnson, and Obama have in mind or back to societies that people like President's Jefferson, Jackson, Coolidge, Cleveland, and Reagan could be proud of.

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      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      Why is it a goal to reduce it and exactly what is your plan to do that? Take from those who have earned and give to those who have not? You believe that is fair? I don't think so. Opportunity to succeed is there for every American citizen. There are many factors that affect that success. Sometimes they can be external, but the hard truth is that many times they are internal. it is not the job of Government to guarantee its citizens success, only the opportunity. For those willing to work for it, there is every opportunity that anyone who has succeeded in America had. To say differently is a falsehood.

      It's nice that you leave out the fact that "the Progressive Movement' is sometimes claimed not to be a movement at all because the Progressives couldn't and can't even agree amongst themselves on many issues and goals. You also conveniently leave out some other "goals" of the Progressives:

      1. Prohibition (that one was certainly a success)

      2. (I'm sure some will love this one) To change other people by having them adopt the Progressive vision of middle class

      behavior and thought...this particularly applied to issues of recreation and leisure, the

      status of the family, sexual orientation and behavior. Progressives sought to revive a

      sense of Victorian family and social values early in the twentieth-century

      3. (here's another great one) To segregate society into groups, based on occupation (labor, management,etc) race,

      sex (laws protecting women insured secondary status in employment), and immigration

      status. Segregation of the races was seen by Progressives as a method of stabilizing

      race relations.

      Just food for thought.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Annie, let me respond to one piece of your response, because it deals with numbers more than philosophy; for the latter, I will let Theresa carry the ball if she wants to.

      The health care pie isn't static, that is what a lot of people don't understand. Now, nobody, including Obama, said Obamacare was going to be free, at least in the outset but, in a perfect world and Congress enacted everything it is supposed to and the economy does exactly as predicted, the end result is a savings of money and a lowering of healthcare costs.

      Of course, we all know Congress won't do what they are required to do, the economy could do worse, or better, and a whole series of things will be different than what the Obamacare economics and the CBO analysis had assumed, but then that is true of life in general, isn't it; you plan as best you can.

      But, to off-set some of the costs, excise taxes were added to medical equipment and similar products, a big push to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid fraud was begun which has already reduced Medicare costs, and other such measures.

      But the biggest measure, the one that will drive down insurance and then medical costs is the individual mandate which increases the healthcare pie significantly by including millions of healthy people into the insurance pool that weren't formerly there. This is what makes Romneycare work and it is what will make Obamacare work.

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      teamrn 5 years ago

      They Capitalized. There is meaning in that of which you have intimate/inside knowledge. Where you there?

      We're all after the same things, Union, Tranquility, establish Justice, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves AND OUR POSTERITY, ..."

      We propose different ways of attaining them. That doesn't mean that Conservatives don't WANT the same thing. Is there some reason that you feel that progressives have the market cornered in wanting the best for everyone? That's your tone and I find it somewhat distasteful that I'm accused of wanting the opposite of all those virtues. Please. cut that out. Ciao

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      The first goal of Progressives for future legislative actions is to reduce the Gini Index (a measure of income/wealth distribution, Table H-4, U.S. Census Bureau) back to 1971 levels.

      To baseline this for you, a Gini index of zero means every person in the US earns the same income or has the same wealth (the conservatives idea of communism), a Gini index of 1 meanes all the income or wealth of America is concentrated in the hands of one single person; neither cases are possible, of course, reality is somewhere in between.

      For the U.S. the Gini Index was:

      4.69 in 2010,

      4.70 in 2006,

      4.66 in 2001,

      4.50 in 1995,

      4.06 in 1981,

      3.96 in 1971,

      3.97 in 1967 (1st year reported)

      and finally in 1947, it is estimated to be 4.17

      ---- Do you notice how income inequality in America starts rapidly increasing after the Reagan tax policies became effective? That is not a coincidence.

      For comparison (CIA estimates),

      Argentina - 45.8

      Buruni - 42.4

      China - 41.5

      Germany - 27

      Switzerland - 33.7

      Taiwan - 34.2

      United States - 45.0

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      The answer to you question lies in the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States. What Progressives "find the need to progress to: is to " ... form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves AND OUR POSTERITY, ..." (there is your paragraph)

      I need to point out what the writers of the Constitution found important to capitialize for emphasis and what they did not (setting aside my capitialization.) They emphasizied Union, Justice, Tranquility, Welfare, Blessings of Liberty, and Posterity; they did not emphasize defense or "ourselves".

      It has been a battle be canservatives and progressives throughout the history of America where the Progressives focus and motivation are on those words that are capitalized while the Conservatives focus has historically been on those that are not.

      What Progressives always strive to do is prevent the Constitution from becoming the Ariticles of Confederation, a document much more to the liking of Conservatives whether they want to admit it or not for it is the Articles of Confederation, and not the Constitution, which embodies every principle Conservatives hold dear.

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      Annie 5 years ago

      pdatz,

      Thoroughly enjoyed your non-inlammatory response; to the first two paragraphs, I'm in agreement and applaud. We've all overcome something and those who haven't tried, have missed out on part of life.

      There are those who won't succeed, no matter how much government helps them. They have the mind frame that no matter what destructive behaviors they choose to engage in, that the government 'owes them.' Nobodoy owes anybody ANYTHING other than a few things like taxes and what we get in return for taxes.

      Despite my being on Social Security Disability for my income, it is my feeling that I'M NOT OWED THAT except by virtue of the fact that it is the law from 1938-9. People managed with the assistance of church, community, fund-raisers, etc. Unfortunately the cost of life itself (medical, dental, rents, gas: necessities) has risen to an intolerable level., so the law states that if I meet certain requirements, I am able to APPLY for assistance. What that whole paragraph had to do with the price of tea in China, I don't know.

      As towards moving towards a more level playing field, I don't want us EVER to get to the point where those people who work hard for a living and sacrifice, don't enjoy the fruits of their labors. Of course, the majority of people work hard for a living, but I see a difference between working hard and succeeding. Those who succeed, worked hard and were in the right place at the right time. That is fate, destiny, karma, call it what you'd like, but that person who succeeded at what he worked hard for SHOULD NOT worry about having the fruits of his success and hard work, giving to someone who doesn't TRY.

      I want us to work on developing a more 'level playing field' but I know too many small business owners who have gone without a paycheck for months. Should they give up more, just so someone who doesn't give a damn, gets a little of his hard earned income? We are guaranteed EQUAL OPPORTUNITY to succeed, not EQUAL SUCCESS. We have rights given to us by whomever our God is, not by our government.

      If success on a level playing field is what we're all about, shoot me now. There are adages, galore, but Emily Dickenson comes to mind, "Success is counted sweetest Bby those who ne'er succeed. " In short, if you don't succeed and keep trying until you do, you appreciate success once you get it.

      Is the answer to that person's success, to grab it from him immediately? What will be the incentive to try, try, try and try again until he succeeds. It's easier for 'him/her' to rely on the government for support and become one of the 40+% who pay no taxes. Even on disability, I pay state and federal income taxes.

      I don't think that all that you mention can be done by eliminating graft, waste, etc. If it could, it would have been done years ago; the hang up is lack of agreement on HOW to do it.

      It has been mentioned and often a bone of contention that all we need to do is raise taxes on the wealthy to accomplish this. Well, raising taxes on the wealthy, will seemingly sounding fair, would fund the government for a bit less than a month, give or take. Then where would we be. We've had a break, but the party is over and now the wealthy will take their jobs off shore, further decreasing the jobs available here in the US. One answer, REVISE the tax code so that no-one can take advantage of loopholes. That includes me and my medical deductions. I guess what's good for the goose is what's good for the gander.

      I know you were just running out the door and in a hurry, but this sounds nice, but WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN? Not platitudes, "moving toward a society that finds and maintains a healthy balance between freedoms, rights, and responsibilities" What is a healthy balance between freedoms, rights and responsibilities.?

      "The goal is not a massive paternalistic welfare state, neither should our goal be profit at the expense of kindness and generosity toward those who may need assistance (hardly what the Bible teaches). Additional personal effort is an essential component." That may not be the goal, but that is what is happenning.

      Examples of that happening, staying on Mom and Dad's insurance, providing K-COLLEGE and beyond education when it can be done without help. Promising GOOD healthcare for all when it is NOT feasible until we revise our system. There's NO way that more can be provided to more recipients for NO CHANGE in what is CHARGED, My healthcare analogy is simple. The healthcare pie is only so big. If you have more people eating from the pie, the slices have NO CHOICE but to be smaller-unless another pie (increased premiums) is baked. Then eventually, you run out of ingredients (quality) and you've a substandard pie. As Americans we can do a much better job of assuring that all are insured.

      I don't like this demonizing the other political party AT ALL, but some seem to thrive on it. As far as I'm concerned, it accomplishes nothing other than self-aggrandizement. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Annie -

      I will try to answer your question and I am an average "lower class - finally made it into the middle class" with a lot of hard, hard work and a little governmental support (educational grants/loans) and private support (merit based - read hard work - scholarships) from generous individuals and foundations.

      I have raised three sons, cared for aging parents, volunteered in my church and my local community, have lived carefully when it comes to money - I have no credit card, school loan, or vehicle debt. Paid them all off and raised the boys -- by myself as their father skipped out in their early teens. So that is who I am, an average hard-working American who has gotten some government help along the way a few times and this is what I think.

      As a progressive I hope we are moving toward a more level playing field (it will never be perfectly level - perfection does not exist in the real world) where educational, employment, and social opportunities are available to everyone willing to put in hard work;

      moving toward a society that finds and maintains a healthy balance between freedoms, rights, and responsibilities;

      moving toward a political system which values cooperation, service to country over personal aggrandizement, the wisdom of compromise, and the importance of resisting extremism, whether on the political left or right;

      moving toward a society that values group compassion and individual responsibility and effort, but realizes that it will benefit all of us if poor children are well-fed and housed, families are able to get decent medical care (not last ditch crisis ER care - which actually costs you and me as taxpayers far more than if everyone had access to a regular doctor -- look at the math on medical costs - its quite instructive), and rigorous education is available in every town and city....

      but all of this needs and can be done without increasing government dependency, by eliminating graft, cheating, and waste, by targeting our financial resources where they will do the most good, by calling on communities and churches to carry part of the burden.

      The goal is not a massive paternalistic welfare state, neither should our goal be profit at the expense of kindness and generosity toward those who may need assistance (hardly what the Bible teaches). Additional personal effort is an essential component.

      As a progressive, it is not either /or, it is that we need a healthy balance in so many areas and programs. Demonizing the opposite political party may garner votes and win an election (although that speaks so poorly of both politicians and voters), but it does not lead to good government or a better, stronger society.

      Annie, I am walking out the door to a family birthday party, so my apologies if this is not as well-written as it might be.

      My Esoteric - thank you for the opportunity to express myself.

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      annieteamrn/ 5 years ago

      Assuming your suppositions are all true, my questions, WHAT DO PROGRESSIVES FIND THE NEED TO PROGRESS TO remains unanswered? Why do thy feel that the Constitution must progress with the times?

      That's a simple one paragraph answer, not a need for a diatribe about what Progressives may or may not have done IN THE PAST. I just ask you to answer from your heart and head, not history book-biased text. What does your GUT say? WHY DO PROGRESSIVES SEE THE NEED TO KEEP THE CONSTITUTION 'UP TO DATE?'That is not an essay question, but a good answer (if thought out) can be written in one paragraph,

      The examples that Progressives are progressing to are ALL in the past. 'Progress' implies FORWARD MOTION.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Hehe, thank you Jaye, and you to Theresa.

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      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Great response, M.E. Even if it's not put to music, it makes a powerful chant!

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Madam Annie, your first three paragraphs are spot on, I couldn't agree more.

      But to answer your question in the rest of your comment, let me approach it this way.

      -- If it weren't for Progressives, you wouldn't have the right to vote

      -- If it weren't for Progressives, blacks wouldn't have the right to vote

      -- If it weren't for Progressives, blacks would still be slaves in America

      -- If it weren't for Progressives, the tax code would be regressive

      -- If it weren't for Progressives, there would be no man on the moon and space program

      -- If it weren't for the Progressive Chief Justice John Marshall and his famous, or as Conservatives call it, infamous, Marbry v Madison decision, SCOTUS would not be interpreting the Constitution today.

      -- If it weren't for Progressives, there would not be a Constitution of the United States, only the Articles of Confederation.

      I wonder if that can be put to a song. But, anyway, that are a few of the things Progressives are progressing "to".

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      Annie/teamrn 5 years ago

      Dear My, I read your post above, and it really doesn't matter which one. You frequently, as in the title of this hub, discuss the difference between the Conservative approach and the Progressive approach (to the Constitution).

      Therein lies what I see as THE FUNDAMENTAL disagreement. Conservatives see no reason for the Constitition to PROGRESS. That piece of paper has only been revised (in amendments 27 or 28 times) which gives an idea that it IS fine the way it is.

      The only thing left out, and I feel that it was left out because the framers NEVER DREAMED THAT PEOPLE WOULD WANT TO MAKE POLITICS A LIFESTYE. Woulnd't they rather go back to the farm, back to their law practice? So, the one thing they left out, and most Americans agree on, is TERM LIMITS for all legislators.

      What in God's Green Earth does the Progressive movement see as the reason to Progress and TOWARDS WHAT? The Consitution doesn't need to change. That's why we have the SCOTUS. For those few instances where we really can't agree on what the framers meant by their words. The SCOTUS is to INTERPRET to the best of their ability, what the framers words would mean in 2012, since 1789 was a ways away.

      What are all Progressives progressing 'to' (I know that a proposition is a word you don't end a sentence 'with;' but this is Friday eve and I thought I'd play with the King's English a bit!

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      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Excellent My Esoteric. Thank you for doing all the math and expending the time and energy on writing up this comment. It goes without saying that I strongly support your original essay.

      Thank you for trying to bring clarity and fairness, not equality or equity - because in the real world that is seldom possible - but we can and should strive for "fairness." Theresa

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Sassy, it took a bit of thinking to figure out the best way to approach what is a common conservative theme regarding the fair distribution of taxes (from a comment way upstream) and keep it short enough to make a comment out of it. The tax and earning numbers you present make a powerful visual and sound-bite story, especially since the numbers are reasonably accurate. The problem lies, as it always does, in the details but it also drives at the core differences between a Conservative and Progressive perspective of the American social structure; what the American society believes is the right thing to do regarding those whose income levels barely make it possible, if at all, to live a minimally comfortable lifestyle which all Americans strive for.

      Well, I wrote my thoughts on this, and it wasn’t short, it was another hub which I will provide a link to in the future. Nevertheless, let me summarize what I was getting at.

      The US income tax system was designed to be progressive in nature, which is to tax those who earn more at a higher rate than those who earn less. Until Ronald Reagan, that was the case. Briefly, Reagan reduced the tax brackets from over 12 to just two, 15% for those earning $55,608 (2011$) and 28% (2011$) for those earning more than that amount; effectively turning the tax system on its head, from progressive to regressive.

      You have mentioned several times that Reagan made adjustments by introducing standard deductions, increasing the exemptions and indexing them, all that is true. But, that wasn’t enough to offset the increased tax rates on the poor. You got my curiosity up so I dug out my 1981 and 1988 tax returns, an inflation table, and my calculator. When the dust settled, if my wife and I made $28,954 (in 2011$), which is the top of the 18%, 1981 tax bracket, and compared what we would have paid under the 1981 and 1988 rates, assuming no itemized deductions, I would have paid 5.6% more under Reagan than under Carter. If I had two kids, I would have paid 21% more under Reagan. Do you know where my extra taxes went? To pay for the tax reductions for the wealthy, that is where. And that is called regressive taxation.

      It is the fact that Conservatives find this state of affairs acceptable and the way things ought to be that differentiates them from Progressives, who believe this is intolerable. And, THAT, is what the issue is with the argument over raising the tax rates on the wealthy back up to Clinton’s formula. It is this situation I just described which Progressives instinctively understand as “fair” and Conservatives find as “unfair”.

      The rational for why the top income people pay such a large share of the taxes is just as commonsensical; the mathematics of it drives it that way. The simple fact is the poverty line and the median family incomes are relatively close together; about $27,000 apart. If you assume those below the poverty line pay no taxes, it isn’t good social policy, and those near the poverty line pay little in taxes, what does that leave you? The people above the median income level, because it is so skewed to the left due to income inequality in this country, the only ones left that have any money left over to pay taxes are the well off. So, why are you surprised that people below the median income level pay only 3% of the taxes? The median income in this country is only $27K from being considered in poverty, for goodness sakes.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Theresa, Jaye, thank you for you kind words and support, they really are appreciated. I have always been a lone-wolf, cave-man type, but this was getting rediculous, lol. I will need to look up Stieglitz's book, it will be an interesting read. I wonder if he sources Dr. Altemeyer? (I added my hubs on his RWA and SDO surveys to my Related Hub list.)

      In defense of Sassy and Annie, though, (Sassy, all my numbers are in inflation-adjusted dollars, where appropriate, btw), their point of reference from a social framework and mine are on near opposite ends of the spectrum. As a consequence, we can each look at the same exact set of numbers and come to opposite conclusions as to whether they represent a good thing or a bad thing. The challenge is to get to the point that we are looking at the same set of numbers and agree they are relavent.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thank you Wesley for your deeply felt thoughts, they are appreciated and understood. As for the comments, I, or should I say we, probably doubled the amount of data from that contained in the original hub squabbling back and forth.

      I to use to be a Republican, until Clinton when it became clear the moderate and liberal-wings of the Republican Party were becoming extinct, crushed by the conservative steamroller. I didn't really join the Democrats other than they had the only viable candidate, from my perspective, whose platform would hurt the country and regress it back into the 1800s.

      My preference would be to be able to rejoin the Party of Lincoln once more for my economic policies, while Keynesian, and ideas of justice and foreign policy are nevertheless of the conservative bent, but my social policies are definietly progressive.

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      Wesley Meacham 5 years ago from Wuhan, China

      I'll be honest, I found the comments section more informative than the actual hub. Still, you provided an interesting read.

      I left the republican party about six years ago. I had two main reasons for this at the time. First, many of the issues being discussed in the republican party I felt were superfluous and unimportant. Looking at the news I find that these issues are still paramont to the republican platform. Second I found a lot of hypocracy in many of the local republicans. Many of the people I had voted for talked about cutting spending and entitlement programs but within my state they actually increased spending and their were a few programs they voted for that only helped members of the state senate.

      I did not vote for Obama the first time. I voted for McCain though at the time I did not believe that there was much difference between them. I will not vote this year because I don't really like either candidate and because I've gotten to the point where I simply don't think that it matters. I've about decided that all politicians start out well intended but eventually become crooks. Maybe I'm a bit cynical but I think that they're ALL screwing us.

      I will say this... a few months back when they were discussing the budget and they came closer than ever before to shutting down the government, Obama attempted to comprimise while the republicans in congress refused to budge. To me, this made Obama look like the lone adult in a room full of squabaling children. I don't really believe in his policies and I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw the White House but for this one reason he does have my respect.

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      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      @Jaye

      No they are not facts. My brain is fine thank you, but you should work yours out more often apparently as we've proved many of the claims of his Hub false.

      For instance, it is easy for My to claim the tax figures for 1988 are correct, but they are not. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 did many things, but one of those things was the following:

      "The act eliminated federal income tax liability for those below the poverty line. This restored the laws as they existed in the late 1970s, when poor people were excluded from the obligation to pay taxes. This particular reform was made necessary by the effects of inflation: inflation increases people's nominal income and therefore their income taxes, even though in real economic terms they live in poverty."

      Not adjusted for inflation, the poverty line in 1988 was $5,000 and some change for a single person and $11,000 and some change for a family. Therefore, the information provided for taxes after Reagan are false.

      Further, anyone who knows anything, would know that Reagan re-wrote much of the tax code and it is not so simple as comparing tax rates either. Exemptions were different. Standard deductions were changed. Itemized deductions were changed. This meant that the actual income that individuals were taxed upon was lowered, meaning that it was not just about the tax rate, but the amount of income that wound up being classified as taxable. Therefore, much less income tax was actually paid because less of a person's income was considered taxable income. This is pretty basic stuff that is either just not known or being intentionally omitted in the interest of presenting a biased point of view.

      You should really peruse the following sources if you think what is presented here is fact.

      sources:

      http://www.answers.com/topic/tax-reform-act-of-198...

      http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/figures-fed-reg.shtml

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      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      My Esoteric....You are magnificent! This hub is wonderful, including the charts. I haven't enough superlatives at my command to praise you enough!

      You are also incredibly patient to continue a logical, fact-filled discussion with people who are apparently incapable of understanding factual, provable information. For those of us who haven't checked our brains at the door (as required by the GOP), this information is powerful indeed. I only hope that a lot of American citizens who classify themselves as Independents or Undecided will read and assimilate your fact-filled hub.

      Thank you! Voted Up, Useful, Interesting and Awesome! (And thanks to Theresa for sharing so I could find you!) Jaye

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      Annie/teamrns 5 years ago

      Theresa, Tag-teamed? Au contraire, this is what this gentleman does for a living and we're just keeping him honest. He proclaims to know the truth and nothing but the truth, but his bias steps forward in statement.

      His are not errors of commission, but errors of omission and selective use of facts to prove a point. Ciao guys! Thanks for the wonderful discussions.

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      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Dear, Long-suffering, Determined, Heroic, Committed My Esoteric -

      You have my deepest appreciation and admiration.

      -- for undertaking this important and much needed hub

      -- for providing comprehensible charts

      -- for making sense out of statistical data

      -- for your incredible patience in dealing with comments

      -- for your incredible patience in dealing with comments

      No, I didn't make a mistake. I wrote it twice because you deserved it.

      I do not have the time, patience, or ability to handle the issues and the materials like you, but I am so glad you are willing and able to do so. Shorter hubs with more clear charts are definitely the way to go in order to reach more well-intentioned people who care, but who may not have the background to follow lengthy convoluted discussions and arguments.

      I am sorry that you are being tag-teamed by people who steadfastly refuse to look at the truth or deal with the facts (they are held captive by political dogma and hyperbole from the right). You are a "good man." Thank you. Seriously, thank you. Sharing. ~~~ Theresa

      I keep trying to find time to read a book by Alfred Stieglitz about why Dem and Rep fundamentally see the world differently and perhaps why even the best information and facts will not be convincing -- because political positions are often based on something deeper and more fundamental (sadly) than facts and reality. Do you know his work and what do you think?

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      You have to be careful when using the Laffer Curve in support of your lower tax generating more tax revenue thesis, it may come back to bite you. Laffer hypothosized on his napkin that there is a theoretical point where taxing more or "taxing less" will generate less revenue. Where that point is has been subject to much debate but several studies conducted in the U.S. and other developed countries place it somewhere between 33% and 70%, a very wide range indeed. It is really impossible to figure out the exact point without trial and error.

      It does seem we are on the downslope side of the Laffer curve at the moment, meaning, higher rates will bring in more revenue (the Clinton effect), because in 2005, the CBO conducted an exhaustive study that presumed a 10% cut in all tax brackets which suggested as much. Their conclusion was that increased revenue from a higher GDP would cover only 28% of the revenue lost in individual income taxes ("Analyzing the Economic and Budgetary Effects of a 10 Percent Cut in Income Tax Rates". )

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I will have to mull over your numbers, Sassy, but, the $9,000 is quite correct, that is taxable income or AGI less all deductions. So, before Reagan, if a family ended up with taxable income of $9,000, they paid no taxes and under Reagan, they paid $1,350 in taxes, money that probably ate into their subsistance level of living given they probably didn't gross more than $20,000.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I added a few more links in the Related Links Section that contain much of my more detined economic analyses on these subjects.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Actually Annie, I think if you check, the Senate did vote on the Ryan budget and rejected it 40 yes - 57 no (including 4 Republicans and 1 Conservative) on 5/25/2012.

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      Annie 5 years ago

      Dear My,

      House Republican would have proposed a budget and sent it on to the Senate where the Senate would have voted on it and passed it on to the WH for yay/nay.

      Thing is, the House DID propose several budgets and Harry Reid did not take them up; he didn't want his members to go on record as having voted for a piece of legislation that had no tax cuts, but spending cuts, only.

      A bill such as this would greatly harm the Democrat senate balance and THAT is the reason that Harry Reid still blocks. most things that come fro the House.

      Then on to the Senate and Executive where it would have been smooth sailing.

      So, the WH gets no budget to sign and rather than lead and TELL HARRY REID, "enough of this crap." "play ball..." BO passes CU after CU. Is that a way to govern?

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      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      Let me educate a bit about taxes:

      " The wealthiest 1 percent of the population earn 19 per­cent of the income but pay 37 percent of the income tax. The top 10 percent pay 68 percent of the tab. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent—those below the median income level—now earn 13 percent of the income but pay just 3 percent of the taxes. These are proportions of the income tax alone and don’t include payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare."

      "But haven’t the tax cuts put more of the burden on the backs of the middle class and the poor?

      No. I examined the Treasury Department analysis of how much the rich would have paid without the Bush tax cuts and how much they actually did pay. The rich are now paying more than they would have paid, not less, after the Bush investment tax cuts. For example, the Treasury’s estimate was that the top 1 percent of earners would pay 31 percent of taxes if the Bush cuts did not go into effect; with the cuts, they actually paid 37 per­cent. Similarly, the share of the top 10 percent of earners was estimated at 63 percent without the cuts; they actually paid 68 percent"

      "What is the economic logic behind these lower tax rates?

      As legend has it, the famous “Laffer Curve” was first drawn by economist Arthur Laffer in 1974 on a cocktail napkin at a small dinner meeting attended by the late Wall Street Journal editor Robert Bartley and such high-powered policymakers as Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Laffer showed how two different rates—one high and one low—could produce the same revenues, since the higher rate would discourage work and investment. The Laffer Curve helped launch Reaganomics here at home and ignited a frenzy of tax cutting around the globe that continues to this day. It’s also one of the simplest concepts in economics: lowering the tax rate on production, work, investment, and risk-taking will spur more of these activities and will often produce more tax revenue rather than less. Since the Reagan tax cuts, the United States has created some 40 million new jobs—more than all of Europe and Japan combined."

      " Do tax cuts on investment income, such as George W. Bush’s reductions in tax rates on capital gains and dividends, pri­marily benefit wealthy stockowners?

      The New York Times reported that America’s millionaires raked in 43 percent of the investment tax cut benefits in 2003. It’s true that lower tax rates have been a huge boon to shareholders—but most of them are not rich. The latest polls show that 52 percent of Americans own stock and thus benefit directly from lower capital gains and dividend taxes. Reduced tax rates on dividends also triggered a huge jump in the number of companies paying out dividends. As the National Bureau of Economic Research put it, “The surge in regular dividend payments after the 2003 reform is unprecedented in recent years.” Dividend income is up nearly 50 percent since the 2003 tax cut."

      source: http://www.american.com/archive/2007/november-dece...

      Now, back to those income figures:

      "Also in 2007, again before Obama was even elected, and after 25 years of Reaganomics, the bottom 40% of income earners on net as a group paid less than 0% of federal income taxes. Instead of paying at least some income taxes to help support the federal government, the federal government paid them cash through the income tax code."

      "In the Tax Reform Act of 1986, President Reagan reduced the federal income tax rate for middle and lower income families all the way down to 15%. That Act also doubled the personal exemption, shielding a higher proportion of income from taxation for lower income workers than for higher income workers."

      I do believe I already said that Reagan reduced them originally to aid in economic recovery and after that recovery was well under way, he did then increase taxes, however, the higher exemptions for lower incomes remained in place. Meaning, that less of their income was taxable, the net result being less taxes paid.

      I tried to find a simple chart but could not because I know from personal experience that your numbers are not even correct. Absolutely no one making $9000 a year pays one dime in taxes. In fact, if they are HOH they get PAID by the Government with the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you really knew about economics the way you claim, you would be well aware of this fact. As the Earned Income Tax Credit was created in 1975, a move Reagan testified before Congress in favor of, your figures for 1988 are an outright lie.

      Growth is not going to be proportional. However, what you leave out of your chart is how much of that "growth" actually goes into paying the tax burden.

      In 2009, the bottom 50% paid only 2% of the entire Federal tax burden.

      The top 5% paid over 50% of the entire nation's tax burden. This idea that the middle class is carrying the tax load is a lie.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Sassy, by definition your statement " to the "extending the Bush tax cuts" as an accomplishment of Obama when it was only the GOP compromise that made this happen." is true. But I don't think it was the extention of the tax cuts for the middle class that was the accomplishment, that was a given; it was the rest of the package he got for agreeing to the extension of the tax cut for the rich as well that was the accomplishment.

      I am not sure what you are implying by saying "On December 10, 2010, self-described "democratic-socialist" Senator Bernard Sanders, I-VT, ...", I mean the highlighting of the "democratic-socialist" part. Yes, he is a socialist, one the people of Vermont elected, maybe you can eleborate.

      As to the rest, "... began a "Tax Cut Filibuster" at 10:25 am and finished at 6:59 pm later that day[37] on the floor of the Senate. Sanders' office said the intention was to "speak as long as possible against a tax deal between the White House and congressional Republicans." I actually remember something about that, but again, I am not sure what your point is. This is what filibusters are for, aren't they, but it looks like he was fighting alone for it certainly didn't last very long, as true filibusters go. Again, Sanders was "not" on a campaign to stop virtually every piece of Democratic legislation coming down the pike as the Conservatives are, that is a big difference between your example and what I am talking about.

      I need to work on this one: "The median income ROSE for every single solitary household in America under Reagan. Bush Sr. kept most of Reagan's economic practices in place, as did Clinton. What Clinton did however, was raise taxes disproportionately. This helped, in part, to slow growth and bring us the recession of 1992.

      Reagan cut taxes on EVERYONE, during the crisis he inherited from Carter, including businesses. Later, AFTER massive recovery, he raised taxes on EVERYONE, but not to the extent that Clinton took it, which led to the recession of 1992."

      First - are you saying Clinton's policies led to the 1992 recession?

      Second - who is the "he" that raised taxes on EVERYONE

      Third - my source for all of my tax rate data is: http://taxfoundation.org/article/us-federal-indivi...

      Before Reagan 1980: (adj of inflation)

      $0 - $9,258 tax rate: 0%

      $9,258 - $14,977 tax rate: 14%

      After Reagan 1982:

      $0 - $7,906 tax rate: 0%

      $7,906- $12,788 tax rate: 12%

      $12,788 - $17,671 tax rate: 14%

      After Reagan 1988:

      $0 - $55,305 tax rate: 15%

      So, those with an AGI of $9,258 or less went from paying zero taxes to 15% and those from there to $14,977 went from paying 14% to 15% under Ronald Reagan. Yep, those taxes sure went down alright, love your math. How many tens of millions of people do you think had their taxes lowered like that? (How many thousands of people had their taxes lowered from 70% to 35%?)

      Fourth: While you are going to be "technically" right (all groups did increase), you will nevertheless be embarassingly wrong regarding the median household incomes. Granted, I am just eye-balling these numbers from a graph, but in inflation adjusted dollars:

      20th percentile: 1980 - $17,100 1990 - $17,200 (0.6%)

      50th percentile: 1980 - $45,000 1990 - $49,000 (+8.8%)

      80th percentile: 1980 - $80,000 1990 - $90,000 (+12.5%)

      95th percentile: 1980 - $130,000 1990 - $155,000 (+19.2%)

      That certainly is proportional sharing in growth, isn't it.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      While I have no doubt there are at least some Dems who confuse TARP with the stimulus, I haven't seen any so far in the comments I have read. On the other hand, I have been surprised to find several examples of Conservatives trying to lay TARP on Obama. My guess is they are not making that up but repeating it from a more authoritative source such as Limbaugh, Hannity, and the like who know the difference, but like the good SDOs they are, pass on the misinformation anyway; that is my guess anyway.

      " ... and bringing small business-and large- to a standstill, because they are so unsure about how much Obamacare will cost them- a MAJOR problem." -- I guess I can only give my personal experience to this one. My little 32-person (in about 9 different states) company has only benefitted from Obamacare with a 10% reduction in my rates this year; I provide full health, dental, and vision benifits picking up 80% of the tab. There is nothing in Obamacare that my HR department or my HR business partner ADP finds threatening in the future either; I had them look to make sure. As a business person, I am pleased with Obamacare and I haven't talked with any of my contemporaries who have been hurt or are confused by it either. As to cost, the CBO estimate is as good as any; the only confusion there is whether the Conservatives will be successful in changing any of it. If the Conservatives dropped their opposition, then business could get on with implementation. As it stands now, they have to wait until after November to see if the battle and further confusion is over, or just beginning.

      Answer me this, if the Democrats had proposed a budget, would it have done any good? Would it have ever passed or would the Conservatives have torpedoed it to because of a refusal to compromise? Fortunately, while very helpful, a budget isn't critical; the appropriations are. Further, I doubt, so long as there are only Conservatives in the Republican Party, America will every see the normal 13 (I think) appropriation bills come out of Congress on Sep 30, or even Dec 31 as they once did with some frequency; the Conservative's inability to compromise will guaranteed that.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      No, the Dems weren't that lame and cockolded; instead the Conservatives abused the filibuster rule and there was nothing the Dems could do about then, just like they can't do anything about it today. With the filibuster (assuming they have 41 votes and the Conservates did and do), the Minority rules in the Senate to the degree that they have equal control as to what gets to the Presidents desk.

      No, I didn't say the Majority Party "rules", I said the Majority gets to "set the agenda", what bills come up for consideration. It is the Minority, when abusing the filibuster, who controls what actually gets voted on by the full Senate.

      In the past, the minority Party, when sufficiently motivated by a bill they didn't like, could have its three wings close ranks and successfully filibuster a bill; but this power was used sparingly because they knew the other side would ultimately return the favor. Now, there are no wings in the Republican Party, it is just Conservative, period, the ranks are already closed. Because of this, they don't pick and choose what to filibuster, they simply filibuster everything in sight, with a few minor exceptions.

      I will have the same complaint when, and if, the Dems do it the next time they are the minority party in the Senate. They will be much less successful however because they are an inclusive Party rather than an exclusive one. But will the Dems at least try to do what the Conservatives did to them, you know they will at least try. Fortunately for America, I doubt they will be able to tie up government as effectively as their predecessor did.

      I will be interested in how you draw the link between what TARP was used for and Unions, this will be interesting. If you said stimulus and unions, then you would have a point, but not TARP and unions.

      BTW. I added a new section to this hub and I remembered you can get to the a couple of the hubs I refered to from links at the beginning of this hub

    • teamrn profile image

      teamrn 5 years ago from Chicago

      My,

      "There is no question about my bias toward progressivism, however, there is nothing "unfactual", if I might coing a word, in my saying " ... nothing passed Congress that the Conservatives didn't want passed ..." That statement is actual fact, it is in context, and that is exactly the point I wanted to make as it related to the legislative process."

      I'm glad you admitted bias, but what makes you say that nothing passed Congress that conserve didn't want passed. Were deems that lame and cuckolded? Also, later on in a different post, you said something to the effect that 'the majority party rules and that's the way the game is designed to be played.' Well, you can't have it both ways, calling it a negative when conserve do it, but NOT calling the same when it is done by libs.

      I just read this, "- Exactly what does TARP, Bush's Troubled Asset Relief Program, have to do with Unions?" You've got to be kidding? Please say you are!

    • teamrn profile image

      teamrn 5 years ago from Chicago

      My, there you go again, not keeping bias out of stating fact. Me thinks that MSNBC would find a FINE replacement for Chris Matthews in you.

      Anyway, " I am not sure where the idea among Conservatives came from that TARP is an Obama program" My Esoteric friend, there are MANY libs who think the same thing, also; do you really think that Conservatives have the market cornered with that erroneous thinking? Yet, you fail to point out that just as many libs are a bit confused on that one!

      Of course Democrats, meaning progressives, have obstructed, but never, to the point of bringing the country to its knees (like Republicans). I consider not passing a budget (other than CR) more more than a minor inconvenience to the country and bringing small business-and large- to a standstill, because they are so unsure about how much Obamacare will cost them- a MAJOR problem.

      Why is that a MAJOR problem? It keeps the UE rate low, as businesses don't know how much to set aside to cover their employees. To pay the penalty/tax or not hire that new employee? No longer can small business afford to offer health care benefits to employees. They'd rather pay what appears to be a tax now because it is the cheaper alternative. So, UE stays high.

      The unemployment rate which appears to be coming down? These figures don't count the numbers of underemployed workers, the unemployed whose benefits have run out (my husband included). The real rate is much higher and unfortunately, the numbers are MUCH higher among inner-city blacks. Up to double digits. This doesn't make it to network news, and rarely to the MSNBC or CNNs of this world.

      According to the New York Times, the unemployment rate for inner-city black teenagers is a staggering 40%. What has the POTUS done for this situation? Education is one key. Throwing more $$ at hamburger joints and telling them how to eat isn't helping them at all, Michelle.

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      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      Ah the Obamameter (I did try to go to your Hub, couldn't get there from here). That thing is bogus. It counts things like "use influence to get a college football playoff" and counts it as a "promise kept". Further, I've seen things counted as "kept" that clearly were not. And it leaves off many things as well.

      Nevertheless, I was referring strictly right now to the "extending the Bush tax cuts" as an accomplishment of Obama when it was only the GOP compromise that made this happen.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Nooo, Sassy, if you had read the Hub, you would have seen my main source is Politifact, which, in turn, lists all of its own sources. I just put things in chronological order with my own brief comments.

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      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      So, let me get this straight, your basis for your facts comes from your own Hub? Firstly, President Obama did not want to extend the Bush tax cuts. He did want to extend unemployment benefits. The GOP forced a deal. They would approve the unemployment extension if the President did not veto the extension of the Bush tax cuts. I don't consider this "one of his accomplishments". He already came out and said, both in 2009, 2010 and now, that he is fine with ALL of the Bush tax cuts expiring. The GOP is why those tax cuts were extended.

      "

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      More - I am not sure where the idea among Conservatives came from that TARP is an Obama program, it is not. TARP was signed into law by President Bush in October 2008. The piece of complementary legislation which Obama signed was ARRA, the stimulus probram in February 2009.

      As to your dimuniation of Obama's accomplishments in the first two years (which also included extending the Bush tax cuts and repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell), I refer you to http://myesoteric.hubpages.com/hub/What-has-Presid... Now you may not like what he has accomplished of what he said he would, but accomplish he did.

      I gather you attribute the rise in unemployment from 7.9 to 10 as the fault of Obama and his economic policies and that under McCain it might have gone down under his leadership? While at the same time you don't credit Obama from bring unemployment down from 10% to 8.25%; that isn't bias?

      As to unemployment rates, I refer you to my source: http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/data/UNRATE.t... For the record, however, Nixon/Ford ranged from 3.9% (inherited from Johnson) to 8.9% and Carter from 5.6% to 7.8%; both better than Reagan's record which ranged from 5.3% to 10.8%. Further, unemployment was stable when Nixon took office, going down when Reagan took office, stable when Bush Jr. took office, and skyrocketting when Obama took office; go figure.

      Of course Democrats, meaning progressives, have obstructed, but never, to the point of bringing the country to its knees as the Conservatives did in the debt ceiling crisis, and they have never used the filibuster in the large scale obstructionist pattern inaugurated by the Conservatives. There is a couple of reasons for that last statement, the main one being that the Democratic Party has members from all political wings, not just one. There is no way on Earth Harry Reid could command the Democratic Senators to vote in the same manner that Mitch McConnell does because the conservative, moderate, and liberal wings of the Democratic Party rarely see eye-to-eye enough to let him do that. In the end, until the Gingrich revolution came along, except in a few instances, Republicans and Democrats always found a way to comprise; not so today.

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      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      sorry...I hate when I forget something:

      You're premise that all the filibusters of the current Congress are the GOP is also false:

      "On December 10, 2010, self-described "democratic-socialist" Senator Bernard Sanders, I-VT, began a "Tax Cut Filibuster" at 10:25 am and finished at 6:59 pm later that day[37] on the floor of the Senate. Sanders' office said the intention was to "speak as long as possible against a tax deal between the White House and congressional Republicans."

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      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      @My

      "Because, as the minority Party in the Senate, they can make use of the filibuster any way they want. In past Congresses, that statement would have been biased because it would have only been theoretical fact, the minority Party "could have", if they so chose, stymied the majoirty Party via the filibuster, but they rarely did"

      Really?

      "During the 1930s, Senator Huey Long used the filibuster to promote his leftist policies. The Louisiana senator recited Shakespeare and read out recipes for "pot-likkers" during his filibusters, one of which occupied 15 hours of "debate"."

      "Finally, in 1975 the Democratic-controlled Senate[5] revised its cloture rule so that three-fifths of the senators sworn (usually 60 senators) could limit debate, except on votes to change Senate rules, which require two-thirds to invoke cloture.[18][19] Another type of filibuster used in the Senate, the post-cloture filibuster (using points of order to consume time, since they are not counted as part of the limited time provided for debate), was eliminated as an effective delay technique by a rule change in 1979"

      "The 110th Congress broke the record for cloture votes, reaching 112 at the end of 2008." (a Democratic majority Congress I might point out) Now, do I get to say their sole purpose was to hinder Bush to insure election of their candidate?

      So no, your so-called "facts" are not facts at all.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      (I hate it when that happens!) Annie, good points and I do try to be careful even when I use declarative words to make a point. Let's take the first example you pointed out:

      "-- in 2006, Bush had a totally Conservative Congress, and in 2007-2008, nothing passed Congress that the Conservatives didn't want passed." In the years 2007-2008 there was a Democratic majority in both Houses; if liberals wanted to pass bills, bills would have been passed.

      Why did you not say that Dubya had a Democratically controlled House and Senate in 2007 and 2008 and legislation still happened. That's bias right there.

      There is no question about my bias toward progressivism, however, there is nothing "unfactual", if I might coing a word, in my saying " ... nothing passed Congress that the Conservatives didn't want passed ..." That statement is actual fact, it is in context, and that is exactly the point I wanted to make as it related to the legislative process.

      Because, as the minority Party in the Senate, they can make use of the filibuster any way they want. In past Congresses, that statement would have been biased because it would have only been theoretical fact, the minority Party "could have", if they so chose, stymied the majoirty Party via the filibuster, but they rarely did. Beginning with the 2008 Congress and continuing to today, the use of the filibuster to control legislation has become a very real and dangeruous threat. (and yes, "danerous is a biased word also, but also correct because anytime one uses a process to bring the government to a standstill, that is, by definition, dangerous)

      Consequently, while my statement may sound biased, it is, in reality, not. And neither is yours, for that matter, although it hides the truth of the matter. The NEW rules of the Senate, beginning in 2007 are thus:

      - the Majority Leader sets the agenda, which has always been the case and is that way by design, meaning he or she controls what reaches the floor for a potential vote.

      - the Minority Leader, so long as he has a lock-step Party of sufficient numbers behind him or her, controls, byway of the filibuster, what parts of the Marjority Leaders agenda gets to the President's desk. (That is the new part.)

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      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      Oh and for the bottom 40% not increasing:

      "The report concluded that"families in the lowest forty percent of the income distribution actually had lower real incomes on average in 1989than they did in 1979." Upon closer inspection, however, what the income data really show is that when JimmyCarter's economic policies were in effect, family incomes plummeted by 9 percent, but that after Reagan's economicpolicies took effect (1982-89), family incomes rose by 11 percent."

      source: http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa261.pdf

    • teamrn profile image

      teamrn 5 years ago from Chicago

      Dear My,

      I had a whale of a response written and somehow I lost it. That's wonderful that you are employed in your passion, but your bias DOES show through. Maybe not at work, but at play, here at HubPages it does.

      I'm a professional writer and know a logical conclusion without emotion when I see it. Then there's the opinion piece which you write smattered with so many stats and because if has stats in the right place, it's almost an easy leap, to claim it as FACT, NO MORE THAN FACT.

      A few examples of where that's not the case: I feel I have to point out a few little tidbits (unsolicited as they may be).

      One example is from the Hub itself:

      "-- in 2006, Bush had a totally Conservative Congress, and in 2007-2008, nothing passed Congress that the Conservatives didn't want passed." In the years 2007-2008 there was a Democratic majority in both Houses; if liberals wanted to pass bills, bills would have been passed.

      Why did you not say that Dubya had a Democratically controlled House and Senate in 2007 and 2008 and legislation still happened. That's bias right there.

      Then , in 2009 and 2010 there was a Democratic executive, and both legislative bodies and precious little was accomplished other than the health care bill and TARP. Both major pieces of legislation, but the viability of each, open to opinion.

      said to Sassy, "I don't see the increasing trend you are talking about, can you point it out to me?" Not so much biased, as downright arrogantly stated and mean. (The whole quote won't fit into this little box!)

      "As to Carter having the highest UE rate, wrong again, go look at the Nixon/Ford era, it was much worse." I think this was said to Nick or Sassy. Please back up that assertion with FACT. All I can say is that UE is higher under President Obama than it was with Carter.

      It fell during the Carter years (UE) while UE grew during Obama years with the exception of @ 11/11-3-4/12.

      You provide lots of examples of parties not compromising, yet you flat out say, "some Conservative politicians say flat-out that compromise has no place in government." There needs to be an example of Democratic obstructionism if your Hub is to be considered balanced. And please don't insult us with some jabberwocky that there's no such thing as Democratic obstructionism, or liberal stunt or filibustering. That's an insult to the intelligence of every person who reads your Hub.

      "NO gain in wealth for the bottom 40% of America. " This was said to sassy. While the stats were true, how many of those 40% paid taxes? If the figure was 60%, then a lot of people didn't work to get wealthy. That is the kind of thing you leave out of your statistics that could make common sense and give credence to your points.

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      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      @My

      You are completely incorrect. I just gave you the numbers and the facts. The median income ROSE for every single solitary household in America under Reagan. Bush Sr. kept most of Reagan's economic practices in place, as did Clinton. What Clinton did however, was raise taxes disproportionately. This helped, in part, to slow growth and bring us the recession of 1992.

      Reagan cut taxes on EVERYONE, during the crisis he inherited from Carter, including businesses. Later, AFTER massive recovery, he raised taxes on EVERYONE, but not to the extent that Clinton took it, which led to the recession of 1992.

      You like to credit Clinton for our growth when that is not accurate. Clinton also kept most of Reagan's economics in place, including a further cut to corporate tax rates. Raising taxes is not always an evil thing, but doing so during the longest recession period in the history of our country, when you've not stimulated growth of GDP or job creation in any real fashion, is a set back, not a move forward. Plus, you also fail to acknowledge that this President's budget proposals call for even more spending for programs that have already failed to stimulate the economy. You can slice and dice the numbers any way you like, but you can't change 25 years of prosperity which was spurred by Reagan's policies. Further, you also ignore, that it was not a Bush economy. The Congress was controlled by the Dems and much of our economic policy was initiated there with Bush compromising. It is a fallacy that these policies reflect those of the Bush Sr-Clinton years. It is also a fallacy that we are anywhere near the same position we were then. I explained before, and I'll mention it again, Bush Sr - Clinton inherited an economy in growth. They had the freedom to address revenue by raising taxes. To do so in our current situation will not help us out of the hole, it will only dig a deeper one.