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Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party Have More in Common than we Realize

Updated on September 7, 2013

Everybody seems to be talking about the Occupy Wall Street protests. Some folks don’t know what to make of them. Some folks love them. And, predictably, the Right is condemning them as gatherings of America-hating commie hooligans. But interestingly, the OWS protesters have more in common with the folks at Tea Party demonstrations than right-wing commentators (or OWS themselves) would care to admit.

They are (or Were) Angry About the Same Stuff

Remember when the Tea Party movement first got started? It was during the last few months of the Bush presidency. It was right about when the housing bubble had started to pop, and the government was making noise about bailing out certain banks—the ones that had messed up so badly that they were going to fail. The Tea Party was born right about then, and they said, “Hey! Why are you giving all this money to the banks? They failed. Let them fail! Don’t throw the taxpayers’ money at them!” Granted, the Tea Party seemed to be upset not that the banks had crashed the economy (hey, that’s just the free market, after all) but rather that the government was spending money to prop them up. The Tea Party didn’t seem to have a problem with the fact that the government was doing nothing to investigate the layers upon layers of malfeasance and fraud that led to the housing crash, mainly because the government doing nothing (not even catching criminals, I guess) is exactly what the Tea Party wants.

OWS on the other hand, are upset about the Wall Street bailouts not because the government did it, but because the bailouts rewarded the people most responsible for the housing collapse, and did nothing for its innocent victims: the people who borrowed responsibly and still ended up with underwater mortgages, the people who had steady jobs before the crash, lost them because of the crash, and suddenly couldn’t make their mortgage payments, and the retirees whose pensions have dropped significantly in value because a large percentage of the pension fund was invested in mortgage-backed securities.

Of course, time has passed, and now the Tea Party seems to have forgotten how angry they were about the bank bailouts, and are more focused on how furious they are about the government doing things like trying to create jobs, trying to ensure that Americans all have access to affordable quality healthcare, trying to ensure that another housing bubble won’t happen, and trying to do anything at all, really.

They are Both Being Ridiculed and Vilified by their Opponents

When the Tea Party first started up, nobody really knew what to say about them. But after the 2008 election, everybody picked sides. The Right (the side that had just lost an election) decided that the Tea Party was saying what needed to be said. The Left, on the other hand (the guys who had just won an election) did not want a large anti-government movement to be taken seriously. So they tried to paint the Tea Party as an “astro-turf” movement, bankrolled by monied interests tied to the GOP. They pointed out the folks at Tea Party protests who looked silly, sounded silly, and carried silly signs. They pointed out the folks at Tea Party rallies with the racist-looking posters. And they paid a great deal of attention to the Tea Partiers who threatened violence against the government. The GOP leaders embraced the Tea Party, though, and used the movement to win back a lot of congressional seats in the following election.

Everyone’s first reaction to the OWS protests was no reaction at all. OWS was completely ignored for the first week of its existence: completely ignored for an entire week, by the Right, the Left, and the news media. After the first week, we started seeing a few articles in a few newspapers (mostly foreign ones). But still, the only way most of us heard about OWS was via online social media like Twitter and Facebook and YouTube. When people finally started commenting on OWS, though, the comments (at least from the Right) were incredibly predictable. They ranged from amused derision to fearful warnings. The OWS crowd are being painted as a bunch of feckless rebels-without-a-clue who have no idea what they want, why they are protesting, or even who they are. Or, we’re being warned that these people are a sinister, highly organized left-wing communist America-hating revolutionary group that will soon rise up and destroy the USA—unless they’re stopped! So far, with one or two exceptions, the leaders of the Left have not embraced the OWS crowd. Rather, they have made cautious statements about how the OWS folks have a right to be upset.

They Both Have a Sizeable Group of Ill-Informed Morons in Their Ranks.

The Tea Party:

...and OWS:

They Both Attract People who Carry Embarrassing Signs

The Tea Party:

Click thumbnail to view full-size

...and OWS:

Click thumbnail to view full-size

So What’s the Difference?

The main differences between the two groups are these:

Age

The Tea Party is mostly made up of folks who are about 40 and up. Some of them bring their kids and grandkids to the protests. The OWS crowd, on the other hand, are mostly under 30.

Who They Blame

The Tea Party blames the down economy on the Government, but seems to want government not to do anything about it. The OWS crowd blames corporations (and possibly, the Gnomes of Zurich) but not Apple or Google or Twitter.

Religion

The Tea Party folks who talk about religion are, or profess to be, Christians, and they seem to have a problem with Muslims. The OWS folks don’t talk much about religion, except one person who had a sign reminding us that Jesus fed the hungry and cured the sick.

Stamina

The Tea Partiers show up, drink their tea, wear their tricorn hats, wave their misspelled signs, and go home in time to catch a Matlock rerun before bed. The OWS people show up, keep showing up, and like your college roommate’s obnoxious friend, they never. Go. Away. And they eat all the Doritos.

What They Want

The Tea Party wants to defund the entire federal government, except for the Defense Department and the War on Drugs. Oh, and Medicare. Those three things will get all the money that was cut from the EPA, Dept of Education, the National Parks, and enforcing regulations on corporate misbehavior. Corporations should be allowed to do whatever they please, to whomever they please, so that everyone can have a job that pays fifty cents an hour and like it.

OWS, in contrast, wants….well, I have no idea, really. And when it comes down to it, neither do they. Maybe someday they’ll figure out what it is they want, but until then, OWS will be to politics what the Unitarians are to religion.

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    • profile image

      Sanxuary 3 years ago

      These two parties have nothing in common. The Tea Party believes electing two already chosen candidates and picking the one that favors them will change things. The other knows nothing will change until the people are protected from Ponzi-schemes and carpet baggers. One believes deregulation improves lives and the other has already been the victim of deregulation that was designed to take advantage of them. One is selfish and the other simply wants fairness and true justice. The Tea Party embraces the Republican Party and we the other will never vote for them again. One is concerned about real world problems and the crap World they live in. The other lives in a fantasy land thinking some rich millionaire is going to somehow bless them with there rich conservative values, Corporate mentality and trickle down economics. I guess you better reify your home, get those tax credits and pretend your kids have a future, but why the hell would you care? The only jobs that pay money is the lawyer doing your will and someone in the medical field keeping some self entitled generation of deaf, dumb and blind people alive long enough before they take your social security away.

    • ThePelton profile image

      ThePelton 5 years ago from Martinsburg, WV USA

      The actual quote should be "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." It was mangled by President George W. Bush.

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
      Author

      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      Hi, ThePelton,

      it's important to know that it's not just investors overseas who bought into the fraudulent mortgage-backed securities. Many domestic municipalities and pension plans also bought them, because they were rated as safe investments, even though the banks that built them knew they were made of "liar" loans.

      AmRo has totally been suckered. I suspect that he won't admit it because it's embarrassing to admit you've been suckered. And that's funny to me, because I consider it to be more embarrassing to /keep/ being suckered after you know you've been suckered. What's the old saying? Fool me once, shame on...shame on me...fool me, can't get fooled again?

      Oh, well. At least some people get it.

    • ThePelton profile image

      ThePelton 5 years ago from Martinsburg, WV USA

      I am 61 years old, and five months away from qualifying for Social Security (at a reduced rate, and if it's still there, then). I would like to get a job if I could, and would be more than willing to work, and seriously.

      I also would like to take this oppurtunity to say that I subscribe to the economic theory that the economy is cyclical, not driven entirely by politics. It cannot be put into a permanent "growth mode" situation by Reaganomics any more than it could with Communism.

      I disagree with American Romance on a number of points. I am in sympathy with the OWS crowd because they are a real grassroots organization, not one cobbled together by Billionaires like the Tea Party. The Democrats didn't call for the deregulation of the banks, which decided, when they got the license to do so, that they could bundle up their subprime loans and sell them overseas as "Securities", leaving some poor saps in Brussels holding the bag when the poor people with the housing loans suddenly had the interest increase to the point they were unpayable. This economic conundrum started on September 15th, 2008- four months before Obama became President. Blaming him for it is so lame as to be paralysis. Incidentally, I haven't used any illegal substances since 1972, and would willingly take a urine test to prove so.

      Incidentally, I love this country and would die for it, but not for a bunch of fools tricked into defending the interests of a few billionaires. In short, American Romance, I think you got suckered big time!

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
      Author

      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      “I read half the hub and none of the comments, I mean this not in meanness but to question your thinking.”

      I didn’t think you were saying this to be mean, but rather admitting that you were being lazy. That’s cool.

      “Why are you blaming banks for the housing collapse?”

      Because it was (mostly) their fault. Once upon a time, there were regulations in place that prevented the vicious cycle of risky lending followed by the offloading of risk to unsuspecting investors. Once those regulatory barriers were removed, the banks went nuts. Why wouldn’t they? There was money to be made (in fees) and once they bundled the risky loans together, pretended they were safe, and sold them off, the lender had no risk at all.

      “Why are you a typical liberal who believes the government has all the answers when the government fails the people over and over and over?”

      Heh, that’s funny. I don’t believe the government has all the answers, nor does the government fail the people over and over simply because it’s a government. It fails the people when it’s hamstrung by conservative politicians who run for office claiming that government can never work, and once elected, do their best to prove it.

      “Barny Frank and cohorts started this serious problem with laws to force banking to make loans that would never get paid back!”

      No they didn’t. The federal government never required a single bank to loan a single dollar to a single person who had no income and no assets. The banks did that on their own, because the rules preventing them from sneakily offloading those risky loans had been removed.

      “Many have reported that the govt told the banking industry not to worry if anything went south they would step in and bail them out.”

      Cite your sources, please?

      “Banks not on board I'm sure were scorned by the govt and probably breaking laws by not giving bad loans.”

      ‘I’m sure’ /= fact. And in actual fact, there was no requirement to write bad loans. None. Stop spreading misinformation. It’s irresponsible and bad for the country.

      “Jeff, either you have to change your thinking or stop voting.”

      Heh, that’s funny.

      “You and millions like you are so intellegent but you can't start a lawn mower?”

      That’s even funnier. I'm tempted to respond to these comments with something equally childish, but I’ll refrain (even though I came up with a bunch of really funny ones).

      “I have never truly understood this type of thinking. It seems to be more prevalent on the liberal side? Maybe this is why libs believe themselves to be inellectualy above others?”

      Sorry, you’re not going to goad me into a brain-waving contest. I know there are some liberals out there that could give the most ignorant conservative a run for their money, and vice versa. And I'm sure you do, too.

      “I don't know but I know that conservatism is the answer. It has a proven track record.”

      Of opposing pretty much every societal advance in history, yes.

      “It built the greatest society the world has EVER known!”

      I assume you mean the US, which was founded by a cabal of radicals. Read your history.

      “Why a liberal can know this and yet spend their life trying to destroy it I will never understand!”

      Okay, I’ll explain: because none of what you claim is true.

      “I fear those like you and I want to figure out a way to silence you from those naive that jump on your silly bandwagon!”

      Is that because you secretly fear that your empty rhetoric about conservatism and your falsehoods about how the housing crisis came to be will not stand up to scrutiny?

      [snip to skip empty partisan rhetoric]

      “Back to subject: The Tea Party has NOTHING in common with the lazy thugs of OWS! Tea Party folks are family oreinted, tax paying, good citizens of their communities! OWStreeters are drug users, jobless, tax payer park hoarding bums with the liberal mentality that someone should give them something because they noticed that those working in those office buildings all day are getting paychecks!”

      The Tea Party has nearly /everything/ in common with OWS except who they blame for the problems we’re having. The Tea Party blames the government for its failures to keep the economy in growth mode, and their answer is to take away the government’s power to stimulate the economy back into growth mode. The OWS crowd at least understands that the collapse is the direct result of a /lack/ of strong oversight.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      I am 1977% behind Sustainable Sue - Bravo girl... bang on!

      Big Business AND Big Government are BOTH problem areas that are eliminating the middle class.

      Great Hub Jeff - you have hit some nails on the head!

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      Hi, Jeff,

      I wish I could agree with your last comment, but that AmRo guy doesn't have any real worthy points for discussion.

      Several bank whistleblowers have already pointed out that their banks were in the habit of putting people into bad mortgages and loan products that they knew they couldn't afford. Atop this, bankers and investment banks developed "mortgage-backed securities" and other financial derivatives--several scandals at investment companies and banks have shown that they defrauded investors with *those*, too. It's fair to say that banks were behind it because the evidence leads us directly to them.

      Further, in his second paragraph, whomever the guy really is behind his handle seems to really enjoy tarring large groups of people with epithets, and it's clearly because the guy isn't even educated enough to spell the word "intelligent" correctly. I'd much rather see people actively discussing solutions than partisan blustering about feeble generalities. Neither liberalism nor conservatism alone built this country--it was founded on COMPROMISE from the very beginning, and the ability to DISCUSS problems instead of insult people is what has enabled us to adapt in a constantly-changing world. As for "outrage," nobody has a monopoly on this. Quite frankly, I'm more outraged by the fact that we went to war on lies while the government threw money to its cronies by selling monogrammed KBR towels to our troops... and we're not even talking about the billions that went *missing* in Iraq.

      He may be right about the Tea Party being different, at least in terms of where they get their cash. The Tea Party gets its funding by reactionary racists like the Koch Brothers that want to defund education for the nation's lower and middle classes, while the Occupy crowd gets much of its money and supply through broad-based grassroots support. Now, it might be tempting to refer to the Tea Party as a mass of undereducated sheep that want to go back to an idealized version of the 1950s that never actually existed, and it might be similarly tempting to refer to the Occupy crowd, based on people I've met, as being largely composed of people ousted from jobs during the Bush Depression or ousted from homes under the aforementioned mortgage meltdowns and bank failures or the illegal robosignings that followed, but both of these would be generalities.

      Setting words down don't mean there are any valid points in them.

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
      Author

      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      Hi, AmRo,

      You raise some worthy points for discussion, but alas I'm pressed for time just now. I'm posting this to let you know I've seen your comment and will respond, but not very soon.

      All the Best,

      JB

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 5 years ago from America

      Jeff,

      I read half the hub and none of the comments, I mean this not in meanness but to question your thinking. Why are you blaming banks for the housing collapse? Why are you a typical liberal who believes the government has all the answers when the government fails the people over and over and over? Barny Frank and cohorts started this serious problem with laws to force banking to make loans that would never get paid back! Many have reported that the govt told the banking industry not to worry if anything went south they would step in and bail them out. Banks not on board I'm sure were scorned by the govt and probably breaking laws by not giving bad loans. At the same time the govt. opened doors to make loans way to easy to pass out and those who figured it out did so with little to no regard for what the results would be.

      Jeff, either you have to change your thinking or stop voting. You and millions like you are so intellegent but you can't start a lawn mower? I have never truly understood this type of thinking. It seems to be more prevalent on the liberal side? Maybe this is why libs believe themselves to be inellectualy above others? I don't know but I know that conservatism is the answer. It has a proven track record. It built the greatest society the world has EVER known! Why a liberal can know this and yet spend their life trying to destroy it I will never understand! I fear those like you and I want to figure out a way to silence you from those naive that jump on your silly bandwagon! They listen to Obama being outraged that college students graduate with an average debt of $25K..........but they never hear him outraged that every taxpayer in this nation has $158,000 of national debt to pay off! None of you are outraged that he spent a trillion dollars on stimulus and not one of you even knows a single person that benefited! Not one of you are outraged that we have new numbers on health care that have doubled! None of you are outraged that Buffet owes a billion dollars in taxes and saved himself and his friends over 1 Billion in taxes by getting loop holes for private jet rental! Liberals are hypocrites and prove it time and time again! It's always what I say and not what I do!

      Back to subject: The Tea Party has NOTHING in common with the lazy thugs of OWS! Tea Party folks are family oreinted, tax paying, good citizens of their communities! OWStreeters are drug users, jobless, tax payer park hoarding bums with the liberal mentality that someone should give them something because they noticed that those working in those office buildings all day are getting paychecks!

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
      Author

      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      Hi, Sue, thanks for stopping by.

      You're absolutely right. Trickle-Down economics is a load of hooey, plain and simple. Giving money to the rich does not create jobs. Jobs get created when the general population has disposable income, which they use to buy stuff, which has to be made and sold by workers, who are employed because people are able to buy the stuff.

      If people can't buy the stuff, there's no reason to hire anyone to make the stuff or sell the stuff, so the stuff-makers and the stuff-sellers get laid off, and now they won't have any money to buy stuff.

    • Sustainable Sue profile image

      Sustainable Sue 5 years ago from Altadena CA, USA

      Can a newcomer step in here? I am friends with a number of OWS'ers but, contrary to the stereotype, I have a Masters degree in international business development (focusing on natural resources), which included many semesters of economics. One thing that hit me strongly, while studying, and which caused me to question our economic system from the beginning, was the assertion that capitalism is a top down system, where the money at the top automatically redistributes to the bottom and throughout.

      History has shown that money is actually more like cream. It rises to the top and stays there. So if the money is not being taxed and recirculated through the government system, if small businesses are being swallowed instead of supported, then the money just accumulates at the top and we end up with multi-billionaires on one end and mass poverty on the other.

      History has also shown that our country was at its economic best when the focus was on small business development. Small business as a sector hires the majority of workers and pays the greatest amount of taxes. The reason our country is falling apart right now is because the attention has shifted so drastically from the small business sector to multinational corporations. Small businesses have been failing for years now, as states and the national government tax them more and tax multinationals less.

      The average American from either of these parties may not have the words to express what I just did, but they are experiencing the results of it, and they know that's wrong. America cannot continue to view itself as one of the richest nations in the world, when so many are out of work, in debt, unable to find work, and too poor to start a business of their own.

    • hubber088 profile image

      hubber088 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Great videos. Very funny

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
      Author

      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      Thanks for the kind words, Jennifer!

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 5 years ago from Idaho

      Very well said. Voting up and linking.

    • profile image

      ThePelton 5 years ago

      As I recall, the Tea Party candidates said that Obama's health care bill would destroy Medicare, and one of the first things they did when they got power in the House was to introduce a bill that would do exactly that. On the tenth of September, I had to go to the emergency room to have four stiches put in the end of my left index finger. The last thing I want to see is an end to Medicare. The Hogs have dominated the trough too long!

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
      Author

      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      That's true, Will, but both are under attack from the Right, the Right has been calling both of them "entitlements," and SocSec is in financial difficulty because its funds have been borrowed to pay for various other stuff, including the War on Terror. Medicare is okay, but there's a lot of fraud going on, which ought to be clamped down on.

      ThePelton, yes, the AARP were a lot more vocal than the TeaParty about keeping Medicare and SocSec intact, but there were also many tea partiers who demanded that the government keep its hands off of their medicare.

    • profile image

      ThePelton 5 years ago

      It wasn't the Tea Partiers that wanted Medicare left alone. It was Senior Citizens, such as AARP, and I'm 61. The TP wanted the Government to defund every sort of assistance for people and send all the money back in tax breaks.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Medicare and Social Security are paid for throughout a lifetime of employment, so they are not 'free' entitlements. Both are earned.

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
      Author

      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      I dunno, The. I seem to remember Tea-Partiers shouting at congress to "keep the government's hands off my Medicare!"

    • ThePelton profile image

      ThePelton 5 years ago from Martinsburg, WV USA

      As for Medicare, the Tea Party wants to defund them as well. Remember: Rush Limbaugh, taking a break from a Hawaiian vacation to see the Doctor of his choice that he can afford since he's worth millions said that there was nothing wrong with American Medicine as it was.

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
      Author

      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      Hi, James,

      Thanks for the kind words!

      No, I totally realize that my crack about the tea party was an exaggeration. But it's an exaggeration based on the truth: the Tea Party has consistently complained about "big government" and said that the problem is that government is too powerful, and that the solution is to cut spending and deregulate. So my wisecrack /is/ remotely the truth. An exaggerated, hyperbolic version of the truth, but still....

      The same could be said about my crack about OWS. In both cases, I exaggerated true stuff to make a point (and hopefully, a joke). Looks like you didn't think the one was very funny, though. Can't win 'em all.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

      I'll tell you what, Jeff. You had me right to the end when you just couldn't end your article without getting snide. I agreed with most of your piece until you said this:

      "The Tea Party wants to defund the entire federal government, except for the Defense Department and the War on Drugs. Oh, and Medicare. Those three things will get all the money that was cut from the EPA, Dept of Education, the National Parks, and enforcing regulations on corporate misbehavior. Corporations should be allowed to do whatever they please, to whomever they please, so that everyone can have a job that pays fifty cents an hour and like it."

      Of course, you know that this is not remotely the truth.

      It's a shame, because you made a lot of sense until then.

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
      Author

      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      Hi, Freeway,

      Hey, thanks for the kind words. And if you have a hub in you about this, there's nothing wrong with writing it. I'm sure you've thought of some stuff I haven't.

      JB

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      I believe that they wanted to create a place where people could live without fear of people trying to kill them or hurt them without good reason, "good reason" generally relating to a crime against person and property. "Welfare" as they meant it is probably a bit harder to define, given their philosophical nature, but based on the lives they lead and what they put into the Bill of Rights, they wanted everyone to be healthy and wealthy enough to meet their own needs in terms of both survival and their "pursuit of happiness." Given the size and population of the country at the time, as well as the general bounty of resources, this probably seemed quite achievable to them.

      You didn't answer my question, though. Why do you seem to think that restricting government to actions that attempt to improve the lot of the *entire* populace is "worthless," given that such actions were seen to include a distribution of wealth?

    • Freeway Flyer profile image

      Paul Swendson 5 years ago

      Jeff, you kind of beat me to this hub. I also noticed some parallels between these movements, and especially the reactions of people who opposed them. In both cases, people in these movements have been unfairly lumped into generic categories.

      This is also one of the funnier hubs that I have read in a while. If nothing else, we should get some entertainment out of politics.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "I claim that our founding fathers wanted to support the welfare and safety of every citizen, leaving out none."

      Define 'welfare' and 'safety'.

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      @Willstar: I claim that our founding fathers wanted to support the welfare and safety of every citizen, leaving out none. Remember, they were fighting off the rule of a tyrannical king that prospered while his people suffered. Their Great Experiment was in trying to build a system that encouraged the *opposite* of tyranny and the benefit of all people. To my mind, that would include redistribution of wealth when necessary.

      Restricting the government to actions that attempt to improve the lot of the *entire* people does not seem worthless to me. Why do you think that such a thing is without worth?

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
      Author

      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      " I did refute you, so you chose to dodge it:"

      You /refuted/ nothing. You merely told me I was wrong.

      My projection was this: someone who lives paycheck-to-paycheck and gets a windfall will probably spend the windfall on an expense he was putting off until he had the money. I base this projection on the assumption that the paycheck-to-paycheck person has things that need fixing, as he is probably not buying new stuff very often, and that since he lives paycheck-to-paycheck, has a hard time accumulating enough savings for major purchases/expenses.

      I also project that someone who only spends about 75% of his paycheck every week and gets a windfall will probably save it, since his 25% disposable income is plenty for paying to fix stuff that's broken, or replace it, or whatever, and that since he isn't using all of his income just to get by, he buys new, high quality stuff instead of used, junky stuff. Surely he /could/ spend it, but he won't /need/ to spend it as the paycheck-to-paycheck guy probably will.

      I further project that a tax increase on the guy who only spends 75% of his income every week will not put too much of a crimp in his lifestyle: he can of course /choose/ to cut back, but he is not /forced/ to cut back as the paycheck-to-paycheck guy would be (since he has no cushion to absorb the tax increase).

      Now, having a little experience with living paycheck-to-paycheck, as well as a little experience earning enough so that I can put away some money every week, these seem to me to be safe assumptions.

      Do you disagree that these are safe assumptions? If so, why do you disagree?

      If you can answer those questions well and logically (especially the 'why' one), then you will have 'refuted' my assertion. If you can't, then you're (still) just saying the rhetorical equivalent of "nuh-uh!"

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8UW__mFMd8

      One more of a RECENT Chris Hedges

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      Elder - then this

      Occupy Wall Street - Chris Hedges shuts down CBC Kevin O'Leary

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAhHPIuTQ5k

    • ElderYoungMan profile image

      Elderyoungman 5 years ago from Worldwide

      http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2011/10/19/occu... It seems we are doing the news media's job for them.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      To argue Left and Right Values will continue to go no where. A "new" way of looking not just at government and business.... but a "new" way of looking at mankind and humanity MUST be a per-requisite to the change(s) needed.

      Those who are bogged down in left and right values and philosophies will not see the potential of any type of paradigm consciousness shift... we need to free ourselves of the current established rules and traditional values before any type of change will be effective.

      Did anyone in this thread watch the video link I placed above? It has more truth in it than either left or right valued thinking!

    • ElderYoungMan profile image

      Elderyoungman 5 years ago from Worldwide

      WILL.................You aren't understanding. The $800,000,000,000 was coming out anyway. Whether they put a it to new wars, old wars, haliburton or xe's bills it does not matter. It is not a matter of whether or not the money is coming out, it's where it's going. If the money is not going to the people that control the lobby, then you have a chance of stopping it from coming out at all. That's why you neo-cons can't solve anything, you refuse to look at the role of those that you vote with that are using you as a human shield.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      BTW, I did refute you, so you chose to dodge it:

      "Can anyone find a flaw in this logic?"

      Of course. It's not logic. It's pure projection. You are claiming to know what someone would do with their money in a hypothetical situation.

      You want logic? Taking $800,000,000,000 out of an already struggling economy as taxes would kill any chance of a recovery.

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
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      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      And "Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit."

      --Oscar Wilde.

      (And yes, the irony is not lost on me.)

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

      - Charles Caleb Colton

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
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      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      "Of course. It's not logic. It's pure projection. "

      Translation: I can't refute your claim, so I'll dismiss it out of hand. It's a lot easier than arguing the actual point.

      You've got nothing, Will. Nothing. But your posts sure are amusing.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      So you claim that 'general welfare' means individual welfare and income redistribution??

      If that's true, then the Constitution restricts government not at all, and is totally worthless.

      Is that your claim?

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      @Will: Actually, Article I, Section 8 allows for the lay taxes and duties for *any* cause determined to provide for not only the common defence, but also causes that support the general welfare of the United States (and thus its citizenry). Even if you take a more strict interpretation, it still provides for the redistribution of wealth to soldiers, artists, scientists, postal workers, members of tribunals (which, of course, would include lawyers and judges), and officers and sub-officers that have anything to with any enforcement of laws. Based on that, it's safe to say that they could levy taxes that took money from one faction of individuals and gave it to another faction of individuals... hence, "redistribution of wealth."

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Can anyone find a flaw in this logic?"

      Of course. It's not logic. It's pure projection. You are claiming to know what someone would do with their money in a hypothetical situation.

      You want logic? Taking $800,000,000,000 out of an already struggling economy as taxes would kill any chance of a recovery.

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
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      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      "No, that's true for everyone, because every penny that goes to government in tax increases is a penny taken out of the private sector,"

      Now that's the first thing you've said that's 100% true. Yes, every dollar paid in taxes get removed from private hands.

      Now consider: someone who spends close to 100% of his income every week gets a tax increase. what happens? He cuts back on elastic expenses like dining out, entertainment, new clothes, etc. You know, the kind of stuff small business owners sell. But someone who spends only 75% of his income every week gets a tax increase, and what happens? Maybe he cuts back, but he's not /forced/ to. He can choose to or not, because he has that 25% cushion to absorb the tax increase.

      Now consider: the 100% spender gets a tax break. What does he do? Chances are he spends a lot of it, probably to fix something that he's been putting off fixing because he can't afford it. That goes to the small business owner: the mechanic or contractor that fixes his car or house.

      What happens when someone who only spends about 75% of his income each week gets a tax break? What does he do with the extra money? He probably won't spend it on stuff like the other fellow: he can already afford to keep his car and home in good repair. Chances are, he'll save it rather than spend it.

      Given the above, if you want to get the budget balanced, and get the economy moving, a targeted tax cut will be more efficient than an across-the-board one.

      Can anyone find a flaw in this logic?

    • ElderYoungMan profile image

      Elderyoungman 5 years ago from Worldwide

      If the government was going to prop anyone up, it should have been the people and then the people should have decided where to invest this tax money. The fact that a mass payout, to anyone, that we get to pay for in future taxes, should have upset the

      fiscal conservative...which it did..ie the tea party. The fact that NONE of these massive payouts have benefited the people, the poor or the small business owner who can most directly attack unemployment should have ran afoul of the liberals and moderates....which it has, ei occupy. The only thing that is not natural about the relationship between the two trains of thought is the stuff we've added, that really doesn't impact the economic aspects of the issue. If we can drop the contempt, we can rebuild, but God is not going to bless our childishness or hatred.

      Elder.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Governments redistributing wealth are performing a socialist act. There's nothing wrong with this..."

      Except for that pesky Constitution that does not authorize such a thing.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      It appears to me re-hashing old ideas goes no-where. New models for corporations as well and new models for government are needed.... not a revision to either old ways that no longer work. I have this video link on my hub

      Corporate Greed vs Government Waste .... here it is again so you wont have to jump to my hub to watch it.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOP2V_np2c0

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      Governments redistributing wealth are performing a socialist act. There's nothing wrong with this--whenever a government coopts some task that can be performed by a company, they're performing a socialist act. State-owned parks? Socialist. Providing air and waterway security? Socialist. Making sure there's no toxic melamine in the baby food? Socialist. Heck, we could do without a standing army if we hired mercenary companies.

      People forget that we're *supposed* to be doing these things, though. It's right there in the preamble to our Constitution: "... provide for the common defence, support the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty..." (capitals *theirs*, not mine!) The concept of "supporting the general welfare" inherently describes a level of communal caring that falls well within the characteristic of socialism. Is that, by necessity wrong? Should people not care about each other?

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "I'm all for giving a tax break to the consumers that need one--I'm even for writing each of them a check, like you suggest (even though that's a SOCIALIST fix)..."

      No, I said that it would have been far better to just give it back to taxpayers, rather than spend it on government pork and temporary government jobs.

      Giving people back their own money is not socialism.

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      I should add that this is not rocket science at all. Rocket science is EASY. Force = Mass x Acceleration, add a few more trajectory equations, and you're there. The rest is all about getting reliable parts. With this, you have a highly interdependent structure which changing will have global repercussions, and any "simple" solution will have the potential for massive, serious blowback. This is more like BRAIN SURGERY.

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      I'm all for giving a tax break to the consumers that need one--I'm even for writing each of them a check, like you suggest (even though that's a SOCIALIST fix)--but if someone has at *least* $250,000 a year coming in, they can easily afford to be part of the solution by offsetting the break with a tax *hike*. If they *can't* afford it, they're clearly currently living above their means. Further, if the rich are taxed, that money will flow into paying for the types of job creation that we need, so yes, that money will be put right *into* the hands of the people who buy my goods and services.

      Given that bulk of the bailouts (counted over at $16,000,000,000,000 by the GAO) starting under Bush, came from the FEDERAL RESERVE, which is a separate organization not run by the government... but with government oversight. What I *really* want to know is where our CONGRESS was when it came to actually providing that oversight. Republicans Charles Grassley and Richard Shelby crippled the bipartisan audit bill--this much is known. Regardless, Bush' nominee Bernanke is directly responsible. I wish Obama had cut him loose rather than keeping him on, based on the premise that it would help to have the same hand presiding over the crisis. If anyone deserves the anger over our financial state, it's Bernanke and his teem, regardless.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Which is why it's so stupid to raise taxes during a recession,"

      "That's only true if you raise taxes on the people who can least afford a tax increase."

      No, that's true for everyone, because every penny that goes to government in tax increases is a penny taken out of the private sector, which is why Obama did not say "except the rich".

      If the 'rich' are taxed another $800 billion, that's money that will not be available to buy the goods and service your friends want to sell.

      This is not rocket science.

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
      Author

      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      "Which is why it's so stupid to raise taxes during a recession,"

      That's only true if you raise taxes on the people who can least afford a tax increase. If you raise taxes on those who can most afford it (those earning $300K and up), they will /still/ be able to buy stuff! While hitting people who live paycheck-to-paycheck with a tax increase will ensure that they have even less to spend on the stuff the small business owner sells.

      "Government needs to tighten its belt and LOWER taxes, so people can buy things and get the economy going."

      The top earners can afford to buy stuff. It's the folks at the bottom who can't. Given that, how do you feel about a targeted tax cut? I mean, one that benefits the bottom earners, not the top ones?

      "It would have been far better to write each American a $3,330 check, so they could have bought the things your friends wanted to sell."

      Sure, it would have. But you and your friends would be shouting "Redistribution! Communism! Fear! Panic! End of the World as we know it!" if he had.

      Except if he were a socialist, he'd have written those checks you complain that he didn't write.

      Sheesh.....I dunno why I bother.....

    • ElderYoungMan profile image

      Elderyoungman 5 years ago from Worldwide

      He's a modified socialist...kind of like the GMO food we eat. If the bailout (the first one) was paid to the people (communism/socialism), that would have been $450,000 per tax paying American. The bailouts went to the folks we think are "Capitalists"....vote Republican bigtime! So you can't even trust the labels that you place on people. What we lack is balance. $450k into the populace would have fixed a whole lot more than just propping up a broken banking system. There would be no foreclosure issue or a credit issue. Some folks would have put their money together and started new banks and businesses...but the elite didn't want that. The banks took both the assets (the houses) and capital (the money), they benefited from both sides of the contract, so how does an economy work in that circumstance? No movement of money because there is no equilibrium. That's what both the Occupy folks and the Tea Party folks have half of an understand of.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "'Cos I've heard business owners say, "If nobody can afford to buy my product/service, then there's no reason for me to hire more people to make my product/provide my service, even if I had the money to hire them."

      Which is why it's so stupid to raise taxes during a recession, a fact that Obama himself admitted, just a couple of years ago:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aufAtuTwKlE

      Government needs to tighten its belt and LOWER taxes, so people can buy things and get the economy going. Obama spent the equivalent of $13,300 per family of four on government pork with his failed stimulus.

      It would have been far better to write each American a $3,330 check, so they could have bought the things your friends wanted to sell.

      This is what is so wrong with having a stubborn and inept socialist in the white House.

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
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      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      "And there's the leftist attitude...screw what business and the private sector need to get the economy rolling again! Obama, and his obedient minions (as we see here) couldn't care less what will work. They want their socialism and to hell with jobs."

      Translation: I can't defeat him with logic, so I'll just make personal attacks. It's what I do, and all I know.

      You say that "the private sector" has told us what it needs to get rolling. Well, which private sector folks have you been talking to? 'Cos I've heard business owners say, "If nobody can afford to buy my product/service, then there's no reason for me to hire more people to make my product/provide my service, even if I had the money to hire them."

      Taxes are in fact as low as they've been since before the Great Depression.

      You seem to think that lowering them /even more/ will fix everything, but clearly there is no causal relationship between low taxes and economic recovery. We have low taxes, and we're not having a recovery. given those facts, how do you figure that cutting taxes even further will result in a recovery?

    • ElderYoungMan profile image

      Elderyoungman 5 years ago from Worldwide

      @IdeaMan1-Well said. If you've read any of my stuff, you'll note real quick that in my mind, big business and small business (the self-employment folks I'm speaking of) have absolutely nothing in common, though it is widely passed off as though they do. Small businesses have no lobby and can't just make their concerns the concerns of elected officials. That is a really hard thing to get across to some conservatives. The key to this mess is for the self-employed (small businesses) to detach themselves from supporting the corrupt big business machine we see today and attach back to the employed class. When that happens, then people can begin a dialog about "Corruption" of power. I'll be seeing you around! ;-)

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      I wish the sound-card was working on my PC; it would really help with YouTube clips and some of the research that I try to do.

      @CMerritt: I wish it were true that the Tea Party was beholden to no one, however much of their funding comes from the same personages that finance the right-wing infrastructure in general, including voices from ExxonMobil, Amoco, Koch Industries, Citibank, and General Electric. It helps that they bundle and funnel their cash through brave-sounding PAC names like "Americans for Prosperity," "FreedomWorks," and "Citizens for a Sound Economy." (From the 'people' giving to the last of these, it's clearly about a sound economy for the corporations.)

      @ElderYoungman: Speaking as one of the self-employed (and frequently self-impoverished), I have no problem with the "employed" class--when people around here are employed, they actually BUY MY BOOKS AND GAMES. Most of the problems I see are big companies with big money that are still not hiring (at least not in this country). The baldfaced theatrics currently passing for "debate" in this country bothers me rather sincerely as the resulting inaction merely deepens both the crisis and the anger.

    • ElderYoungMan profile image

      Elderyoungman 5 years ago from Worldwide

      This is worth taking a listen to... http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedd...

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      "A human being is part of the whole called by us universe , a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty... We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive." - Albert Einstein

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      To look to government or big business for a solution is crazy. That is how we got in this mess.

      We need a totally new perception shift... and that is beginning to happen as I see it.

      As I said in my hub Middle class to zero -- "We need to stop making such a huge deal about manufacturing things, and we have to start making a big deal about building character. Build a new man from the inside out. No longer running from who we are inside."

      When the middle comes together as they most definitely should, we will witness the beginning of a new era ... or we will not survive as a species.

      That is how simple it is through my eyes.

    • ElderYoungMan profile image

      Elderyoungman 5 years ago from Worldwide

      Hello Merritt-The "Press" on the Tea Party is that they are anti-establishment, but are not anti- "Croney" capitalism, in any meaningful sort of way. That's the press version. The issue is that we can't just take on a part of the problem. We all understand that our Government is corrupted by corporate money. We can't just change the representatives and expect that the "System" won't have an effect on the people that we send or that the system won't work to make these change agents less effective. The people that have pulled this crossing of the line, hide behind the honest businessman, that's not trying to buy an advantage in the market. Both movements have the potential to being a 1-2 punch to the "Entire" problem, not just the part of the problem that the left or the right dislikes. So the solution is in us. Can the differences be reconciled and can the self-employed and employed class reconcile their differences well enough to take care of the business at hand, is the question.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Will, you seem to be operating under the delusion that anyone who disagrees with you is a Left-wing extremist."

      And you seem to be operating under the delusion that you can put words in my mouth and get away with it. If you'd bothered to notice, my last disagreement was with a declared 'middle of the road' guy, hardly a left wing extremist.

      In any case, the only time I use the overworked word "extremist", is in reference to its use by others.

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Hi Elder, I agree with your analysis, but the tea party is all about sending new people to washington that is NOT part of the BIG GOV mentality....Most of those newly elected with the Tea Party persuasion, are NOT tie in to anyone...they are there by grassroots people who voted for them....THAT is what I personally like about the tea party....they have NOT been sold out, at least yet anyway.

    • ElderYoungMan profile image

      Elderyoungman 5 years ago from Worldwide

      Eventually, we are all going to realize that what is at the heart of both the occupy and tea party protests are one and the same, perpetuated by the same group of people. Tea Partiers are upset specifically with the "Government". It is always the "Government", not the corporations that control them. OWS focuses on the "Corporations" and the government, but the corporations first. The OWS message is a clear message...Get the corporate money out of washington. Tea Party...Get Washington out of my life AND make them stop taking my money for things I don't vote for. Now here is the threading of the needle. The government, that's Obama, Boehner, McConnell, Pelosi, Clinton (take your pick) are ALL controlled by big money lobbiests, which means that they are employed by....The Corporations, the banks and the fed. THEY ARE THE SAME PEOPLE!!!!!!! Let me say that again...THE POLITICIANS AND THE BIG MONEY CORPS AND PRIVATE BANKERS ARE ALL COMPLICIT IN WHAT WE COMPLAIN ABOUT FROM THE TEA PARTY PERSPECTIVE OR THE OCCUPY PERSPECTIVE. If we can't wake up and reconcile these artificial divisions that can't live without a certain level of contempt and hatred, then we get what we deserve.

      Wake Up! When the walls fall down between common folks on the left and the right, this country has no choice but to change. Is it really that complicated?

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      @Will: People who compromise or "think outside the box" on problems can definitely take a moderate stand. Again, this does not make them "fence-sitters." Moderates *can* have solutions--by current definition, Reagan would be considered a Moderate, yet he had taken quite the lead on making progress with the USSR and missile treaties, sewing the seeds for NAFTA (something that added to the exporting of jobs), and several other issues. Anyone can make a difference.

      I am reminded of the quote, "It's only called 'class warfare' when someone fights back," and I wish I had the attribution for it, but the stagnation of wages as cost of living rises while the corporate elite continue to give themselves raises and bonuses definitely represents an attack on the middle and lower classes. If you want to attack Obama, you can go on ahead and do so, but it's not going to move people toward solving problems.

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
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      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      Will, you seem to be operating under the delusion that anyone who disagrees with you is a Left-wing extremist. That's just plain not the case, and it makes you look like a Right-wing one..

      But it sure is an entertaining debate.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

      You might want to forward that to our president, who is currently campaigning on class warfare, and siding with the radical demonstrators.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Now you offer a false, 'take no position' analogy?

      Middle of the road, fence sitters have nothing to offer. They simply take no position at all, and then smugly consider themselves somehow superior for doing so.

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      @Will: That's the thing, though, not all people "in the middle of the road" are merely sitting on a fence. Some of us have solutions that we want to develop or are looking at better, balanced compromises than either side might be willing to do. A strong center holds the country together--as famous Republican Abraham Lincoln is quoted, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      But then a teeter totter would not be a teeter totter without the fulcrum point in the middle bearing "ALL" the weight! Thus the middle class is squished!

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I have far more respect for the far left than I have for middle of the road fence sitters who refuse to take a position on anything, other than claiming to be in the middle and absurdly sympathetic to polar opposites.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      Thinking is a lot of work..... thus explains the fact so few people engage themselves in the activity.... Henry Ford

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      Of course, it's easier to be at either extreme than it is to be in the middle; you don't have to be confused by things like "facts" or "reason." I think that makes either side more attractive these days than ever before, in which too much information is inbound, and for those who are not used to it, it can be difficult to mediate, discern, and filter the data well. I touch upon that somewhat in my latest "Screaming at the Deaf" article here.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      Both Left and Right political extremists are those that never take time to sit in the middle nor try to wear the other sides shoes.... usually they continually (or seem to) promote vehement discussions without showing any evidence that they at least understand the others point of view. They seem to think it is their way or the high way... compromise is never considered. Both left and right extremists fall under this definition.

      Extremists with Religious views are defined (by me) the same way.

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      There are a number of different types of extremists that consider themselves "right-wing:"

      * There are the "anti-federalists," that would rather see states having most of the power, regardless about what that would do to interstate trade,

      * There are the members of the "Religious Right," that consider the Republican party the bulwark of moral conservatism despite the fact that there are still some significant disagreements over whose morality is being discussed,

      * There are the Randian conservatives, whose "greed is good" egoist philosophy backfires without some kind of oversight constraints,

      * There are the Libertarian conservatives who believe that government on the whole is unnecessary and that "market forces" will solve everything, despite the fact that corporations have no care for a social safety net,

      * There are the think-tank neoconservatives who want to foment perpetual wars on the principal that during wartime, economies generate the most money, and

      * There are the "Hegelians," who take that philosophy to extremes. However, Hegel's structure of dialectic only works in a healthy fashion when thesis and antithesis each make concessions to each other through negotiation. These guys only show any willingness to compromise once their opponents have thrown enough concessions their way *just* to get them to bargain. It's because of these guys that right-wing beliefs have drifted far enough that way that Reagan doesn't pass the current "Republican purity test."

      These are just a few of the factions that I can remember hearing about when listening to C-SPAN, members of the Heritage Group, and some of the other think-tank organizations. I actually *used* to identify as a Republican under Reagan back when I was living in Florida in the 80s, but the party drifted away from me.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      You used the term, so it's up to YOU to tell us what YOU mean by 'right wing extremist'.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      Will --- just think about it! You are a capable intelligent human being, no doubt you can determine a definition somewhere opposite the left wing extremist! Sit yourself somewhere in the middle and it is easy to see extremists on both sides.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "The extremist on both left and right are the problem."

      Define what you mean by a right wing 'extremist'.

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      @Will: I didn't *say* Warren Buffett and George Soros were small businessmen (in fact, I didn't even mention Soros). They are, however, part of the "private sector." Oddly, just now looking up Buffett's history, he has advised people on both the left and right side of the aisle. Strictly speaking, anyone who blindly follows a partisan agenda fits the definition of an ideologue, and he is hardly blind--you can't be both blind and successful to his degree. Either of us might fit that definition better than he does, but I owe no allegiance to any party.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      The extremist on both left and right are the problem.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "If that was the case, you wouldn't have people like Warren Buffett and his ilk *offering* to be taxed."

      Warren Buffet and George Soros are hardly small businessmen, and both are left-wing ideologues.

      The private sector, small business community has told us what they need to get up and rolling again, but the left is obviously ignoring them, preferring instead to push their own agenda. Every point the private sector made was immediately rejected by the anti-capitalist left.

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      @Will: Going back to the whole "attack mentality" doesn't help anyone. I will note that the "private sector" doesn't only include people with your point of view on the matter. If that was the case, you wouldn't have people like Warren Buffett and his ilk *offering* to be taxed.

      @texasbeta: While I agree wholehartedly with what you say, is there a way you can say it without attacks on the arguer, focusing instead on the argument?

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "You are basically a 10yr old in a grown body, who thinks because he sold his baseball cards to the school bully, that you now can debate graduate level economics."

      Translation:

      I can't defeat him with logic, so I'll just make personal attacks. It's what I do, and all I know.

      ...

      I'm simply relating what the small business, private sector has been telling us all along, and the left chooses to ignore.

      As we can see, the leftists here are far more concerned about advancing their socialism than they are about allowing the private sector to create jobs. Their leftist notions of putting people in houses they obviously could not afford is what caused this recession in the first place, a fact they will never admit.

    • profile image

      Texasbeta 5 years ago

      Occupy is fighting things like the repeal of Glass Steagall, the securitzation food chain, the leveraging of personal banking deposits to a point of 36/1, to fight the idea that corporations are people and unlimited corporate contributions to legislators. When Texas executes a corporation, I'll consider them a person. Occupy is fighting against the culture of deregulation, to regulate things like CDOs, credit default swaps and derivatives, to fight against banks using your personal banking deposits for risky investments. They are fighting against corporations skating legislation and law to push themselves into the Too Big To Fail arena. Most of these things the Tea Party fought against originally as well, that is until Koch purchased the entire movement with Freedomworks and AFP. Occupy isn't organized, that is for sure. However, in that, one can be assured that they aren't purchased either.

      You are acting as a talking bobblehead of conservative rhetoric and daily talking points, and offer very little understanding of the basic pillars of the argument.

    • profile image

      Texasbeta 5 years ago

      You still don't address the facts of basic economics Will. Policy doesn't drive employment. Lower corporate tax rates (which by the way the multinational corporations pay on average only 2.4%), and it won't drive employment. If nobody is buying the product or service, if demand isn't rising, then no increase in employment is needed. Demand will not grow until people get hired. People won't get hired by the private sector unless demand grows. Your logic isn't logical, it is rhetoric.

      The private sector is sitting on 10 consecutive record quarters of aggregate growth, sitting on $3 trillion dollars right at this very second. You response is to give them MORE. Lower taxes MORE, despite the fact that taxes are at their lowest point in 60 years.

      You don't use logic sir. You know very little about the fundamentals of the argument, very little. You are basically a 10yr old in a grown body, who thinks because he sold his baseball cards to the school bully, that you now can debate graduate level economics. It isn't that WE, the informed, are smug. It is that you are an idiot.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      What I actually said, before the smug, all knowing, and supremely arrogant left altered it:

      "And there you have it...the smug, all knowing left simply rejects out of hand what the private sector is telling them needs to happen to get rolling again."

      And there's the leftist attitude...screw what business and the private sector need to get the economy rolling again! Obama, and his obedient minions (as we see here) couldn't care less what will work. They want their socialism and to hell with jobs.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      A fundamental shift in perception is needed. The extremist on both left and right are the problem. I touch more on that in my hub "Corporate Greed vs Government Waste".... The whole globe is in need of a paradigm shift.... watch the videos on my hub I just mentioned.... there you will find more of my thoughts in commenting on this hub.

      Thanks for the stimulating write Jeff!

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
      Author

      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      "And there you have it...the smug, all knowing left simply rejects out of hand [stuff I make up with no basis in reality]."

      There, fixed it for you.

      You're trying to tell us that lowering taxes even further will help the economy, but we've been lowering them steadily for decades, and the economy is in the toilet. Lower taxes do not automatically stimulate the economy; higher taxes do not automatically cause stagnation. It's fact. Ignore it if you will, but it remains fact. Further, ask any small business owner what he'd do if he suddenly got a cash windfall, but sales were down and there was no reason to expect sales to pick up again soon. If he's an idiot, he'll tell you, "Well, I'd use the money to hire someone to help me make more stuff that nobody will buy, and when the money runs out I'll have a lot more inventory that I can't sell and I'll have to lay that person off again." If he's not an idiot, he'll tell you that he'd save it (for retirement, or to hire someone when sales /do/ pick up, or whatever). This is not made up, this is from small business owners. (Obviously different ones from the ones you talk to, but your anecdotes and my anecdotes just cancel each other out, I guess.)

      You're trying to tell us that "the people" didn't want health care reform, and therefore we should entirely scrap the reform legislation. Well, you're only half right: people were upset about Obamacare, true, but they were mostly upset because it scrapped the public option! They're not mad about reform--they're mad that the reform wasn't enough.

      You're trying to tell us that merely announcing that we'd be drilling domestically would "immediately" drop energy costs. It's just not true: oil company presidents have admitted as much. Of course, what would oil execs know about what affects the price of oil? Your other points stand: there would be jobs created. But without laws in place that ensure that the polluter pays to clean up the pollution they cause, it's also a recipe for disaster. In Pennsylvania, people have been sickened and farms have been ruined by fracking. Make the frackers pay for the problems they cause, every single time, and they'll probably be more careful not to cause problems.

      Your assertion that EPA regulations are economy-killing is just so much unsupported partisan BS. It just ain't so. If it were, the frackers wouldn't be bothering--but they know they can do what they want without being held accountable. BP's gulf spill? They're being let off easy. The spill under the Kalamazoo river? The pipeline is running, but the spill isn't cleaned up yet.

      You say that Dodd-Frank is killing financial institutions. You're just plain wrong. It's barely doing enough to protect consumers. Financial institutions are doing fine, thanks. Their profits are high, and they can afford to continue paying out big bonuses.

      If you want not to be dismissed out of hand, you gotta stop saying stuff that has no basis in reality. If you say crazy stuff, sooner or later people will start to think you're crazy.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Guys, I have been through this with Will, which is why I didn't bother to provide anything other than a dig at the guy. Nothing you say will make a difference in this case. The guy will flat out lie, is nothing but a shill for oil companies, and provides absolutely nothing beyond talking points."

      Translation:

      I can't defeat him with logic, so I'll just make personal attacks. It's what I do.

    • profile image

      Texasbeta 5 years ago

      Guys, I have been through this with Will, which is why I didn't bother to provide anything other than a dig at the guy. Nothing you say will make a difference in this case. The guy will flat out lie, is nothing but a shill for oil companies, and provides absolutely nothing beyond talking points.

      What would I do? I would get realistic and follow basic economics. Corporations aren't hiring because they are regulated too much, or Obamacare, but because there is no demand. Demand drives employment, not Presidential policy. Right now, there is no demand and part of that is the vast unemployment.

      With no demand driving jobs, how do you get the unemployed to be employed and spending their paychecks, thus driving the economy? Employ them. How? If private corporations aren't, then we have plenty of infrastructure projects we need completed, which we pay for using, yes, tax dollars, which statistics show that middle and lower income people, the people involved in the projected hiring, spend immediately, thus stimulating the economy.

      Instead, Will offers the same "give it to the rich and maybe one day their table crumbs will hit the floor so we can eat" solutions. Nah...have fun. Point of order however - when a guy has a picture wearing a cowboy hat, like you have your 5 yr old do at Christmas but pray he grows out of it, and a woman kissing his cheek - you might have a child in a grown body with some insecurity issues. Couple that with reading his posts, displaying his lack of integrity and racial motivations, and you have a wasted argument. 3 people so far in other posts have commented to me that personal attacks are crappy, when I directed them at Will-and I said, just wait. I'll see you soon. 2 of the 3 came back and agreed. So, guys...I'll see you soon. Am I a d*#k for telling him he is a sh*tty American? Yep. But he is still a sh#tty American and brings nothing but shame to this country. He defines our failure.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Say what you will about Obama's current jobs bill, but bills like this have been a proven way to create jobs and fix up ailing parts of our country."

      Show me your 'proof'. (And your opinion is not proof.)

      ...

      American small business has told us time and again what they need to get rolling, but the left here sides with Obama, the man who has never run so much as an ice cream stand, in telling business owners that they are wrong about running a business, and Mr. Know-nothing Obama is right.

      The left is in charge of the Oval office, doing all the wrong things, and that is why the recession goes on and on. They simply and stubbornly refuse to listen.

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      I should note, Will, that each of the points that you bring up relate to mechanisms *within* the government, not other than it, but you bring up points that I agree are worth examining.

      Speaking as a small business owner, it's not so much about reluctance to hire as it as not having any capital for it. This is because the banks created their derivatives market scam (thanks to, I'll note, deregulation). Unfortunately, that *does* make something like Dodd/Frank necessary--if they're not going to be responsible of their own free will, they need someone to keep them responsible. If you know of some way to do this *without* such regulation, I'd like to hear it.

      It's similarly unfortunate that the EPA is necessary, but when you consider how many disasters get *hidden* by corporations (Monsanto's infamous for it), but you're only looking at 10.5 billion, or less than a tenth of one percent of the national budget. I don't know about you, but I want someone protecting my air, water, and ecosystem.

      I would somewhat concur with respect to drilling and mining, particularly if this was done with an eye toward safety and pollution recapture, and especially if revenues gained from this went toward research and subsidizing renewable energy. If someone were to put together a bill that discussed this, I would happily petition my politicians to vote for something like that.

      I have to agree that Obamacare, as it stands, is flawed, but it's also a counterweight to how we currently treat health care in this country. We could have a *huge* discussion of how to fix health care--and a large chunk of this would relate to how the insurance industry is a gigantic parasite on all industries and humans in this country--but I get the feeling that it's not being seen as being in the interests of either party. As far as I know, there's no legislative structure that would let them put the health care bill "on hold," but there are ways by which it can be amended and fixed. Again, we could have a great conversation about this one, and I hope we do at some point.

      Your primary point is a sticky one, and it relates more to how the stock market is being used as opposed to how it is *meant* to be used. If people were using the stock market to encourage long-term investments, I would be entirely behind what you are saying. Unfortunately, many investors use the market as a casino, and current electronic investment tools encourage this behavior. While people get plenty of encouragement from advertising and the published successes of certain "day-traders," the bigger corporations, including supposed "respectable" money managers and investment banking companies execute BILLIONS of trades every day based on fluctuations and volatility algorithms (reading up on "high-frequency trading" will yield some stuff you will *want* to read, if only for your own fiscal safety). In fact, a few months ago, we had one such algorithm cause the market to go into a downward spike--you may remember the May 6th "Flash Crash." Currently, gains taxes are the only "brake-pedal" on the gambling that occurs in the Wall Street Casino; until someone develops a better "flood control system"--and that's going to mean more SEC regulation--there's some real necessity for this.

      Part of the problem is the way both parties subsidized industries in various attempts to either avert crises (and then failed to revoke them in a timely manner) or pass money to their "handlers" in the various corporations. Additionally, some of those subsidies come in the form of the tax loopholes that, if they closed, would help restore some of the balance to the flow of money. These range from farms to certain types of manufacture to oil, gas, and other resources. Part of the long-term solution involves getting rid of these, but at the same time, in the short term, things would *really* hurt--more so than they do now.

      There has to be a judicious focus on the raising of revenue to fill the holes left by TARF and other fiscal ridiculousness caused under both the Bush and Obama administrations--reduction of spending won't solve it all.

      * We could easily handle some of it by placing revenue tariffs back in place, particularly where it would level the playing field with respect to hiring *internally* rather than overseas--while this may raise the price of iPADs and cellphones, it's not like we need those to live.

      * Similarly, rather than having the government run elements of the TSA the way it does, we could instead allow *corporate* handling of security, letting airports, docks, and other transporters of people and goods hire people from private companies that instead get *licensed* by the government. That would create industry and competition while providing REVENUE instead of outflow.

      * Rather than eliminating capital gains to encourage investments, how about this: Your *first* 10 capital gains sources during the year (by calendar date) are TAX-FREE. After that, each source gets taxed on a gradually-increasing scale. That would provide flood control on high-frequency trades while encouraging *larger* investments over day-trades.

      * Drastically reducing our troop mobilization overseas and concentrating on using our troops for homeland-

      protection projects (border patrols, defense against significant agri-terrorst targets, defense of our waterways) would significantly reduce cost while increasing our soldiers' value.

      * Say what you will about Obama's current jobs bill, but bills like this have been a proven way to create jobs and fix up ailing parts of our country. It's barely a band-aid compared to some, but it's an effort in the right direction, and we can't afford to have our transportation infrastructure collapse like it is with those bridges on the KY/OH border.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      And there you have it...the smug, all knowing left simply rejects out of hand what the private sector is telling them needs to happen to get rolling again.

      What would small business owners know about running small businesses?

      BTW, as soon as President Bush announced renewed offshore drilling, oil prices plummeted, so don't tell me that an announced all out push for American energy production would have no immediate effect on oil prices.

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
      Author

      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      "1) Lower or eliminate capital gains to encourage investments"

      Capital gains taxes are at the lowest rates in history. It's not 'investments' that we need. We need a reason for businesses to hire people. If nobody has the money to buy stuff, there's no reason to hire more people to make and sell the stuff, now is there? Tax cuts for the wealthy do not stimulate the economy; the money does not trickle down. If it did, our economy wouldn't be in the toilet right now.

      "2) Put Obamacare on hold for at least ten years or better yet, yield to the will of the American majority and [turn it into a single-payer public option like the people actually want]."

      There, fixed it for you.

      "3) Open up drilling and mining for American energy, wherever it is known to be. That would drive down energy prices almost immediately, and put millions to work on real jobs."

      No, it wouldn't drive down energy prices "almost immediately." Even oil execs admit as much. But exploiting domestic sources of energy is not a bad thing, provided that in the case of a spill, the people responsible for the spill are held 100% liable for the cost of cleaning up the spill, and for repairing any environmental damage the spill causes, including the medical bills of any persons made ill by the spill, and the fair market value of any property rendered useless by the spill.

      "4) Roll back onerous EPA regulations, and reel in the agency altogether. It is far too powerful and subservient to radical environmentalists."

      The above statement is patently false. The EPA isn't killing the economy even a little bit.

      "5) Repeal Dodd/Frank. It is killing financial institutions."

      Only if Glass-Steagall is reinstated, as well as a law requiring lenders to retain at least 51% ownership of any loan they create for the life of the loan. This will ensure that those who write a risky loan will not be able to offload the risk onto unsuspecting third parties (which was the real ultimate cause of the housing collapse).

      Further, I'd like to see total transparency in credit reporting: when a person's credit rating goes up or down, the rating agency should be required to explain to the person exactly /why/ his credit rating changed.

    • Jeff Berndt profile image
      Author

      Jeff Berndt 5 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      Y'know, either of those paths are fine, but I don't see the second one as terribly realistic. We can't legislate how people feel about money, having it, and not having it.

      I'm more interested in ensuring that corporate money gets the heck out of politics. The disastrous Citizens United decision must be reversed, by constitutional amendment, clarifying that only an individual human being shall be considered to be a "person" to whom the constitution applies, and that corporations, associations, clubs, etc are not considered to be "people." Further, the act of spending money shall not be considered in any way the equivalent of "speech" for any purpose, whether the money is spent by a person or a legal entity that is not a person.

      Also, secret campaign contributions via legalized money-laundering through 501(c)4 organizations (like Stephen Colbert's or Karl Rove's) must be abolished, and all political contributions must be transparent.

      These steps would take us closer to the ideal of government by the actual people, for the actual people. Certainly there are other improvements (the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall act would be nice) that we could make. I'm not even necessarily interested in putting the tax rates back up where they were under Clinton. Tax rates will just get changed back again as soon as our back is turned unless we ensure that monied interests can't unduly influence our elected officials.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Well, Will, I was asking earlier if you knew of some other mechanism by which the economy might be put back into balance, if not by the government."

      Yes, of course. Just listen to small business owners...they've been telling us all along why they are hesitant to hire!

      1) Lower or eliminate capital gains to encourage investments

      2) Put Obamacare on hold for at least ten years or better yet, yield to the will of the American majority and repeal the damn thing altogether.

      3) Open up drilling and mining for American energy, wherever it is known to be. That would drive down energy prices almost immediately, and put millions to work on real jobs.

      4) Roll back onerous EPA regulations, and reel in the agency altogether. It is far too powerful and subservient to radical environmentalists.

      5) Repeal Dodd/Frank. It is killing financial institutions.

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      Well, Will, I was asking earlier if you knew of some other mechanism by which the economy might be put back into balance, if not by the government. Corporations, as we've all seen, seem to be less interested in acting in the people's best interest, as do many of the ultra-rich that form our country's investment backbone. I'm sure you will agree that the Federal Reserve just printing more money will not serve us well--it just results in hyperinflation and another crash.

      Historically, our economy has been at its healthiest when we had much higher tax brackets for both the extremely wealthy, and when our corporations were more tightly regulated, with trade barriers protecting domestic jobs from being exported overseas to countries with much lower standards of living. (Obviously, it's easier for them to profit when a $10 an hour job over here goes overseas to people who make $10 a *day*.) However, in our current climate, where people talk about "free trade" as if it equates to "fair trade" and one political party refuses to raise taxes on those few who *have* the money in order to put some solutions in place, going back to things that *used* to work seems untenable. It seems as if we need to find a better way to define and develop our economy than one based solely on GDP and consumerism--one that changes our way of thinking about things like money and happiness without raising the sinister bogeyman of "communism."

      Which of those paths would interest you most: righting the economy by re-regulating companies and raising taxes on the rich or redefining what we think of as our economy so that money plays less of a role in people's survival and solving problems?

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      So what are your 'solutions'? I haven't seen anything but snarky comments.

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      @texasbeta: Personal attacks won't help solve problems. All they do is harden people toward the possibility of finding rational solutions. Which is more important to you? Finding a way out of this economic sinkhole or fighting with a guy that doesn't seem to have an element of a solution to discuss?

    • profile image

      Texasbeta 5 years ago

      No Will, we aren't ashamed of the country. We are ashamed of people like you IN our country.

    • IdeaMan1 profile image

      Michael Marcus 5 years ago from Hamtramck, Michigan

      Describing my perspective of events is all I was doing; you will note, if you read carefully, that no claim of "success" was made.

      Everything the GAO told Obama certainly does have to do with his claims. If one has inaccurate information, it's impossible to make accurate claims.

      In any case, attacking him doesn't have anything to do with discussing a way out of this mess. Are you interested discussing elements of a solution or not?

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Of course my experiences are anecdotal--whose aren't?"

      Then don't present them as evidence to support your claims.

      "As far as failing "miserably," that's a rather relative term, especially since the economic plummet started well before 2001, under another tenure."

      Which has zip to do with what Obama claimed about his stimulus keeping unemployment below 8%! Don't try to move the goalposts.