ChrisWeigant.com

My Class Warfare Rant

[ Posted Monday, February 21st, 2011 – 12:39 PST ]

[Program Note: By popular request, I am reprinting the "meat" of Friday's column separately here today. I got a special request to run the "rant" portion as a standalone article, to facilitate linking to it. So if you've already read Friday Talking Points, Volume 155, there is no need to read the following -- but if you'd like to read the rant, without the rest of the FTP format, here you go.]

 

My "Class Warfare" Rant

Before I even begin here, I'd like to address what my critics will respond with, when they hear what I have to say. They're going to call these ideas "class warfare." You know what? They're right. I am calling on the middle class and the working class and all the other classes that make up over 19 out of every 20 Americans to start fighting back. Note that, please -- fighting back. Because there has indeed been class warfare waged in America in recent decades, and our class is losing -- and losing badly. The wealthiest of the wealthy -- the modern-day robber barons among us -- have been successfully waging class warfare on the rest of us for so long now that I am sick of it and I think it's time the rest of us fought back, rather than meekly submitting to the whims of the moneyed class. So, before my critics even have a chance to respond, I will save them the trouble -- you are damn right that there is class warfare happening in America. By admitting this, I'm urging the people who have borne the brunt of the situation to wake up and begin to stand up for what is right.

Republicans have been quite open about their desire to lower taxes to such a point that government becomes so small (as one taxcutting extremist so eloquently put it) that it can be "drowned in a bathtub." What we are seeing right now -- from Washington, D.C. to Madison, Wisconsin -- is the natural result of this. Republicans sense victory in their decades-long fight to completely dismantle every good thing that government does. They literally don't care that they're throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as evidenced by their recent deep cuts in aid to pregnant women and new mothers.

That is merely the most abhorrent example, I should point out. Republicans are slashing spending so drastically that we are in danger of becoming more like a Third World country than the largest economy on Earth. Don't believe me? Consider what is being cut, by governments at all levels. We are told that there is no money to keep the streetlights on all night, for instance. That's right -- just like those pathetic countries that can't keep the electricity on 24 hours a day, we can't even afford to light our roads at night anymore. We are told we can't afford to pay for the most basic of services from our governments any more -- things like police on the beat, firefighters who protect us, libraries to educate our young, and the teachers to teach them. So sorry, no money for such frivolities. But we can't even discuss the hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks we are handing out to the people who need it the least, because that would be unseemly, somehow.

House Republicans pledged to cut one hundred billion dollars from this year's federal budget. They aren't going to, because (thankfully) they can't do basic math. Instead, they're only cutting a little over sixty billion dollars this year -- all from basic government services like food safety inspectors, border patrol, nuclear weapons proliferation monitoring, basic disease prevention research, and a whole host of other things. Public television will be cut off entirely. To say nothing of the cuts to the poor, which will be deep and drastic as well. All while the wealthiest among us enjoy the lowest tax burden since Eisenhower was president.

Robert Reich recently pointed this out in rather stark terms:

Republicans would rather go after teachers and other public employees than have us look at the pay of Wall Street traders, private-equity managers, and heads of hedge funds -- many of whom wouldn't have their jobs today were it not for the giant taxpayer-supported bailout.

Last year, America's top thirteen hedge-fund managers earned an average of $1 billion each. One of them took home $5 billion. Much of their income is taxed as capital gains -- at 15 percent -- due to a tax loophole that Republican members of Congress have steadfastly guarded.

If the earnings of those thirteen hedge-fund managers were taxed as ordinary income, the revenues generated would pay the salaries and benefits of over 5 million teachers. Who is more valuable to our society -- thirteen hedge-fund managers or 5 million teachers? Let's make the question even simpler. Who is more valuable: One hedge fund manager or one teacher?

People who make money off of what is essentially gambling wind up paying a much lower tax rate than a teacher, or a firefighter, or a policeman, or even their own secretary. This is obscene. Senator Bernie Sanders recently pointed out a few other obscenities in our tax structure:

The deficit primarily has been caused by two wars unfunded, huge tax breaks to people who don't need it, an insurance-company-written Medicare Part D prescription drug program, and the bailout of Wall Street.

The cause of it is not hungry children in this country or people who are sleeping out on the street. So, we have got to deal with the deficit, but you do it in a fair and progressive way. For example, this year alone, we're losing a hundred billion dollars in revenue because corporations, the wealthy, are stashing their money in tax havens in the Cayman Islands.

This year, ExxonMobil, the most profitable corporation in the history of the world, is not paying a nickel in federal income taxes, despite having made $19 billion last year. In 2005, one-quarter of corporation -- large corporations in America making a trillion in revenue didn't pay a nickel in taxes. You have got a military budget which in many ways is still fighting the old Cold War.

So, I believe that we have to move toward significant deficit reduction, but you don't do it on the backs of the middle class and working families who are already suffering as a result of this Wall Street-caused recession.

You want to know the way to raise money? Put a transaction fee on Wall Street, so maybe we can curb some of the speculation and raise some money.

I'll take this one step further -- you want to know the way to save Social Security? Make it a true flat tax -- everybody pays exactly the same rate. You may think this is how it works now, but you would be wrong. Because while cops and firefighters and bus drivers and teachers and soldiers and sailors and janitors and construction workers and librarians all do indeed pay exactly the same rate, the wealthiest wage-earners pay a far, far smaller percentage. It's a fact -- look it up. Make Social Security payroll taxes completely flat -- by removing the "earnings cap" altogether -- and you would "save Social Security" for the next 75 years (at least). With no cuts in benefits, no borrowed money, and no raise in anyone's retirement age. In fact, this is a pathetically easy way to fix the program which pretty much everyone can understand, and which would only affect those who make over one hundred thousand dollars a year -- everyone else could probably even enjoy paying a slightly lower rate. It's easy, it's fair, it's a "flat tax" (which Republicans are supposed to love, right?), and it would likely lower taxes for 95 percent of workers. But it is rarely, if ever even discussed in Washington -- because whenever anyone brings it up, the cries of "class warfare" begin. Which is just downright pathetic.

Corporations love to whine about how American corporate taxes are "the highest in the world," but they never seem to mention the fact that most giant corporations pay little or no taxes whatsoever, because of the loopholes their wholly-owned subsidiary (or "Congress," as we so quaintly still call it) creates for them to exploit. They're not even subtle about it, either -- take a look in any corporate annual report, and then compare their profit numbers to the profits they report on their income taxes. To their investors, the corporations actually brag about their immense profits, but these profits completely disappear when they fill out their taxes. Hey presto! The practice of keeping such a "second set of books" is almost universal in the American business community. What's even more astonishing is that it's fully legal for them to do so.

The share of total government income which comes from corporate taxes has actually shrunk drastically from what it was even a few decades ago. What this means is that your income taxes are a bigger share of what government takes in, because corporations have been getting away with not paying their fair share for decades now. And that's not even the worst part.

This is the first period in American history -- perhaps in the history of the entire world -- where we have gone to war (in not just one, but two wars) and refused to raise the money to pay for what our leaders told us were wars that were necessary to fight for our own security. Let me repeat that, in case you missed it -- when a country goes to war, it raises the taxes to pay for it. Until now. Instead, we were told to "go shopping." What we are seeing right now in our budget battles is a direct result of this inability to perform such basic mathematics.

You want to cut $100 billion from the budget? How about we get out of Afghanistan, then? That would pretty much save us the money that the Republicans want to hack out of services right here at home. We'd rather pay to train police halfway around the world than to pay for the policeman who patrols your own street. How is that setting our priorities straight? We pay more for our military than just about the rest of the world combined, and yet we can't afford to pave our own roads. Once again, a hallmark of the Third World right here at home.

It wouldn't be so blatant if Washington hadn't just extended the tax cuts which were enacted at the beginning of our two wars. Seven hundred billion dollars in tax cuts for people making over a quarter of a million dollars per year was added to our deficit as a direct result. Which makes all the Republican claims about being "deficit hawks" a cruel, cruel joke. Let's see... take our current deficit... add hundreds of billions in tax cuts for the wealthy... then subtract sixty billion in cuts. What do you get? A deficit which is hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars bigger. It's basic math, folks. Thirteen hedge fund managers versus five million teachers. It's a matter of priorities, and Washington's priorities are just flat-out backwards.

This sad jest of misplaced priorities can be seen in Republican attitudes towards people who work for a living versus the bankers who destroyed our economy. When the subject of bonuses -- bonuses, for Pete's sake, of millions upon millions of dollars each, for the very people who had tanked America's financial system and whose companies had been bailed out by public money -- was brought up in Washington, Republicans howled that "private employment contracts" were sacred. "Sacred!" they told us. We couldn't possibly force these financial geniuses to give up million-dollar bonuses which they "earned" in the same year they destroyed their companies and almost destroyed our whole economy, because employment contracts were so untouchably sacred. These geniuses might actually take other jobs in other countries if we didn't hand over bags and bags of taxpayer money to them, as a personal reward for the biggest financial screwup in human history, we were told (as if such an exodus of "geniuses" would have been some sort of "bad thing" for America).

Compare this with what Republicans are saying now about public employee Unions. Union workers, according to Republicans, are going to just have to tighten their belt and buck up, because it's deficit-cutting time. No mention that these Union workers bargained for pensions and medical benefits long ago -- giving up raises in pay to gain them -- in hard-and-fast employment contracts with their employer, the government. What happened to the sanctity of employment contracts? Whisssh! Right out the old window. When public money was used to save the banks, million-dollar bonuses had to be paid out or else Western civilization would have collapsed, Republicans told us. When public money was used to save the auto industry, well, the Union folks are just going to have to suck it up and not get that pension they worked decades for -- and were promised in employment contracts. Tough luck, Joe Autoworker. You see, some employment contracts are more equal than others.

Like I said, it is a cruel joke. Republicans -- and many Democrats, when you get right down to it -- who defended the bankers' truckloads of money in bonuses, are now joining in the Union-bashing with outright glee. The governor of Wisconsin is even rumored to be considering calling out the National Guard to break a teachers' strike today -- something most Americans thought was a thing only read about in history books.

Republicans on Capitol Hill are working hard to slash the jobs of hundreds of thousands of cops, firefighters, teachers, researchers, construction workers, food safety inspectors, border patrol, and too many other valuable members of the workforce to even name. You know what their leader had to say about these thousands of jobs they were killing? "So be it." Really -- that is their attitude to laying off massive amounts of people in recessionary times -- "So be it." I'm surprised he didn't just say "Let them eat cake," personally. Republicans have not done one thing so far to create jobs. Not one bill to create one job has even been considered by the new Republican House. The only time the subject came up was when they voted down an extension of unemployment benefits. They're destroying good jobs at will, but refusing to even address the issue of creating jobs -- all so billionaires can continue to pay the lowest taxes they've paid in half a century. Their priorities are clear as an expensive crystal wineglass.

Which is why you can't say I'm proposing to wage class warfare, here. I am not encouraging class warfare in any way. I'm merely pointing out that this war is already raging. In fact, the millionaires and billionaires are pretty damn close to declaring total victory in this war. They're about to con America into giving up many of the basic services American governments have been able to provide for hundreds of years -- things like streets which are lit at night, and libraries that are open every day of the week. They're about to fire teachers and cops and all the rest of them, just so they can keep on cutting taxes on the robber barons of the new century. Which means I am proposing nothing new here.

What I am in fact proposing is that the public see the term "class warfare" for what it is -- a supposedly-bad term for what should really be called "the middle class fighting back." Because once you see through these particular "clothes" on the modern-day Emperors, it becomes a lot easier to realize that class warfare has been raging for a long time now -- and the 95 percent of us out here who have been continually screwed during this battle are about to lose again (even more drastically, this time) if we don't start ranting about it in earnest.

I wonder how much airfare to Wisconsin would cost....

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

53 Comments on “My Class Warfare Rant”

  1. [1] 
    Nicole473 wrote:

    Right on, Chris!

  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Nicole473 -

    Thanks for the kind words, and welcome to the site!

    Just as a note, your first comment post was automatically held for moderation, but you should now be able to post comments immediately, just FYI, unless you post two or more links in the same comment (which are also held for moderation to cut down on comment spam).

    -CW

  3. [3] 
    Americulchie wrote:

    The Republicans have us by the throat;and for the most part we allowed them to undermine the New Deal and the Great Society from the days of Reagan;the Anti FDR;who by the way did not have the decency to die before they were renaming everything for him.O.K. that last might have been crass but I despise Reagan.The so called Neo Con is just a con.Time to put these Republicans in their place;they are the force of darkness no doubt about it.

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    So....

    The vast majority of American voters who gave the Democrats their "shellacking" are wrong and ya'all are right??

    How does that work, exactly??

    Isn't it more likely that the American people gave the Leftist/Progressive way of doing things a chance and it was found wanting..

    Isn't that the most logical and reasonable of explanations??

    Michale....

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    What IS about Democrats who think that being a legislator means running away and hiding when you can't get your way???

    http://www.indystar.com/article/20110222/NEWS/110222004/House-Democrats-flee-Indiana-stop-votes?odyssey=mod|breaking|text|IndyStar.com

    Jeezus H. Chreest!!!

    Michale....

  6. [6] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    thanks CW! great re-frame of the class issue, and a great retort for any sunday talk show pundit who hears the "class warfare" line - of course it's class warfare, and it's about time the bottom 95% started to fight back!

    i had the same thought about wisconsin airfare...

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ya'all complain about the top 2% getting richer..

    Just keep in mind that it is NOT the top 2% who elects our leaders....

    Why do you think that is??

    Michale.....

  8. [8] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    michale,

    why has the top 2% managed to increase their power in spite of being a small minority of voters? because the power of television, radio and other media for transmitting propaganda has reached epic proportions, and corruption in campaign finance is essentially legal. as h.l. mencken said, nobody ever went broke understimating the intelligence of the american public.

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    NyPoet,

    So, you are saying that the top 2% has managed to fool MOST of the voters ALL of the time..???

    I just don't buy that...

    Something else is at work here....

    Maybe there are good and valid reasons for what the GOP governors are doing. Isn't that possible??

    Even if that is NOT the case (which is unlikely) that doesn't excuse State Democrats complete short-circuiting the democratic process by running away from their jobs and their responsibilities..

    Name me another job where you can ditch work and just not show up because you don't like what's going on and still KEEP your job...

    I can't think of a one...

    Those people (legislators AND protesters) should just be thankful they HAVE jobs, considering the state of the US economy..

    If they don't want to DO their jobs, they should quit and make room for people who DO want to work..

    Michale.....

  10. [10] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Name me another job where you can ditch work and just not show up because you don't like what's going on and still KEEP your job.

    Err ... Congress? Ok, ok ... this is kinda funny.

    Maybe there are good and valid reasons for what the GOP governors are doing. Isn't that possible?

    Such as? The unions agreed to the pay cuts and benefit hikes long ago. The only reason for going after collective bargaining is to bust the union.

    Here's a question for you, Michale. Let's look at this long term. We all know the agenda- deregulate and transfer costs to the workers. This includes lowering wages, eliminating benefits, getting rid of regulations, and basically anything else that corporate America asks for.

    What's our country going to look like when all of this is successful? (To me, it looks a lot like a 3rd world country ...)

    -David

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    Err ... Congress? Ok, ok ... this is kinda funny.

    Actually, I don't think that has ever happened, has it??

    Is there anything in the laws or Constitution that says a specific number of legislators MUST be present before anything can be passed?? I am not being facetious, I am sincerely curious...

    But, if there IS such a rule or law, how would the Left had reacted if the GOP split to Canada to prevent CrapCare from passing???

    Ya'all would have howled from the rooftops.. And I would have been right there howling with ya'all...

    Such as? The unions agreed to the pay cuts and benefit hikes long ago. The only reason for going after collective bargaining is to bust the union.

    No, the only reason to go after collective bargaining is so that the Union can't get the pay cuts and benefits BACK, once the eyes of the Nation are elsewhere...

    Regardless, Unions of state/federal employees are not only useless, they are actually a detriment..

    In the private sector, Unions may serve a purpose, because there you have two private sector groups. A union will, when they work right, protect the interests of the workers and management will protect the interests of the company...

    But in state and federal jobs, Federal and State law protects the interests of the workers..

    In other words, in private sector jobs, you have two private entities pitted against each other.

    In Public jobs, you have a private entity pitted against the taxpayers...

    Tell me how that is fair???

    Here's a question for you, Michale. Let's look at this long term. We all know the agenda- deregulate and transfer costs to the workers. This includes lowering wages, eliminating benefits, getting rid of regulations, and basically anything else that corporate America asks for.

    And what if wages are too high?? What if benefits are too high?? What if regulation is stifling business the job market??

    Why can't you at least TRY to see things from the business perspective??

    Don't you think that corporations know that if they do as you are accusing them, they will only hurt themselves??

    The simple fact is, we're ALL in this together... If you WANT class-warfare, then you will likely get it...

    If you WANT to work together and make this country great again, then everyone has to do their share..

    And if that means that Unions get their power scaled back a bit, then so be it...

    Michale.....

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    Here's an idea..

    Let's make it so that ALL Federal and State employees have wages and benefits that are the same as their private sector counter-parts..

    Wouldn't that be the fairest way to go?

    What do you think the Unions reaction to THAT would be?? :D

    Michale......

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    But, OK... Here ya go...

    Ya'all are in control and YOU get to choose..

    You can choose to allow Teachers and State Workers to keep their collective bargaining options..

    Or you can choose to have 10K to 12K Teachers and State Workers fired..

    Those are your choices..

    What say ya'all??

    We can address the cowardly approach to democracy that Democrats favor at another time...

    Michale.....

  14. [14] 
    akadjian wrote:

    If you WANT class-warfare, then you will likely get it.

    We've had it as our esteemed host wrote about for the past 30 years. And the rich have won fight after fight.

    The simple fact is, we're ALL in this together.

    Michale, if this is about us all being in this together, what are the wealthy contributing?

    It's certainly not their fair share of taxes.

    If it was truly about us all being in this together, I'd be all for it. But it seems like all the concessions are coming from one side.

    Wall Street got their handouts, the rich got their tax cuts, and now they're asking workers to pay for it.

    Seriously, what are the wealthy chipping in?

    -David

    "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining." - Clint Eastwood, The Outlaw Jose Wales

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    Michale, if this is about us all being in this together, what are the wealthy contributing?

    Uhh.... They provide the jobs....

    At least, they do when the Government lets them...

    Wall Street got their handouts, the rich got their tax cuts, and now they're asking workers to pay for it.

    According to you, the workers have already SAID that they will pay for it..

    What you are complaining about is that the workers won't have the option to get back to feeding at the trough, once the nation moves on to other issues...

    So, what's your solution?

    The ONLY way to give the workers what they want is to raise taxes..

    Is THAT your solution???

    Michale.....

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    Did you know that the average teacher in Wisconsin makes 6 figures in wages and benefits??

    That their benefits package is almost as large as their salary package??

    That, even under the Walker bill, teachers and state workers will be paying less than A THIRD of what their private sector counter-parts pay in benefits??

    Now, you want to talk fair....???

    Isn't it possible that, in Wisconsin, state workers have TOO good a benefits package, that their pay is TOO high to be sustained in the current economic climate..

    Isn't that even SLIGHTLY possible???

    Michale.....

  17. [17] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    So, you are saying that the top 2% has managed to fool MOST of the voters ALL of the time..???
    [snip]
    Maybe there are good and valid reasons for what the GOP governors are doing. Isn't that possible??

    There are valid reasons for the current trend, but none of them good. There are multiple degrees of separation between the money and the public. the pipeline goes from stockholder to corporation to PAC, and from there to lobbyists, lawmakers and media. nobody HAS to fool people, per se, because most of the people who have the money make little or no direct contribution to the ways in which it is used.

    In service of the money that got him elected, the governor of wisconsin created a giant budget deficit that did not exist prior to his swearing in, and will balance the books on the backs of public employees. that much is already a foregone conclusion. the elimination of collective bargaining is an ongoing trend, fed by the profit motive and systemic corruption. in theory, everyone should have those protections, but it's natural for those who have already lost them to be jealous of those few who haven't lost them just yet.

    The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
    -John F. Kennedy

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    In service of the money that got him elected, the governor of wisconsin created a giant budget deficit

    "He did!?? Well, why didn't you say so!? Oh that's right. I forgot. You were sick the day they taught law at law school."

    :D

    Com'on David, seriously?? You believe that Walker magically pulled a deficit out of his ass, in this time of sever public upheaval, SOLELY to dick his public workers and constituents..

    Is that what you are saying???

    Do you have any proof of this that doesn't come from the pages of HuffPoAol or DailyKos??

    Here is another possibility...

    Joe Q American is sick and tired of the Gimme Culture that has permeated the Left.. So Joe and people like him overwhelmingly vote in people like Walker to clean things up and slim down budgets and entitlements..

    Given your scenario (a grand conspiracy against the "little guy" (who, incidentally, makes 6 figures a year)) or my scenario (Americans are fed up with paying for people who refuse to work) which one is the most likely scenario??

    Considering the mood of the country, as espoused by the many many polls on the issue, I am guessing that Occams' Razor says the latter scenario is the most likely

    Michale.....

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let me ask you this..

    How do you think this is all going to end??

    Do you think that Democrats and Unions will achieve their ends??

    When the State Of Texas wanted to redraw the District lines, Democrats ran away to Colorado to avoid voting.

    Guess what happened?

    The District lines were redrawn a couple months later. Democrats failed..

    Do you think it's going to be any different in Wisconsin??

    Michale.....

  20. [20] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    michale,

    read the budget review. there's nothing magical about the wisconsin deficit; most of it was created by the governor and legislature this year. that's fact, not opinion.

    http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lfb/Misc/2011_01_31Vos&Darling.pdf

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    Wooops... I thought it was David that wrote post #17, but it was NYpoet...

    My bust.. :D

    Michale.....

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    NYPoet,

    there's nothing magical about the wisconsin deficit; most of it was created by the governor and legislature this year.

    I find it quite impossible that Walker could have amassed a LEGIT 3.06B deficit in the 50 days that he has been Governor of Wisconsin...

    On the other hand, perhaps he was HANDED the gross deficit by the previous DEMOCRAT governor, Jim Doyle..

    "In September 2010, Doyle was one of seven governors to receive a grade of F in the Cato Institute's fiscal-policy report card.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Doyle

    As far as your PDF, could you condense it down to Cliff Notes for me.. I have always said I am not an Economist...

    But I know enough to know that NO WAY NO HOW could a Governor amass a 3.06 B dollar deficit in less than two months...

    Unless his name is Obama, that is.. :D

    Michale.....

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    I mean, look at what ya'all are defending..

    Legislators who totally decimate the democratic process because they can't get their way because the VOTERS told them that their way wasn't the American Way...

    Teachers who are ignoring their student's welfare....

    Teachers who are LYING and using forged Medical notes so that they can ignore their student's welfare...

    What are those Democrats and those teachers teaching their kids??

    That it's perfectly OK to lie, cheat and steal, if you think you haven't gotten what your entitled to...

    That it's fine to resort to barbarism politics if you have a mob saying it's OK...

    That it's perfectly OK to totally destroy democracy if it stands in the way of your entitlements..

    Is that REALLY the lesson that kids should be learning???

    Because that is EXACTLY the lesson that Democrats in Wisconsin are teaching the kids....

    And that is simply shameful...

    No ifs, ands or buts about it....

    Michale.....

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

    -Thomas Jefferson

    Ironic isn't it.

    What we are seeing in Wisconsin is exactly what Jefferson prophesied...

    Michale

  25. [25] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Com'on David, seriously?? You believe that Walker magically pulled a deficit out of his ass, in this time of sever public upheaval, SOLELY to dick his public workers and constituents.

    I didn't say anything about this. Oh wait, you caught that.

    I think the problem is largely Scott Walker screaming about GIANT DEFICITS when he wants to end collective bargaining. But he did this after just giving GIANT HANDOUTS to corporations.

    If you're for deficit reduction, be for deficit reduction.

    The question everyone's asking is, why are you only concerned about deficits when it suits you?

    So it's not clear what Scott's agenda is. All we know for sure is that it's not deficit reduction.

    Wooops... I thought it was David that wrote post #17, but it was NYpoet.

    I'm not sure why you're getting so angry and ranty. I'm afraid you might be mistaking me for someone who is anti-business.

    Or is it because I come up with better movie quotes? :)

    So, what's your solution?

    Ok. I'd much rather talk about this than get into the back and forth nonsense.

    What I believe is good wages and good business are not exclusive. You can have both. So let's look at who is able to have both.

    High tech companies like Apple. Companies with differentiated services like Starbucks. Cutting edge companies. Companies entering new Greenfield areas. These are the types of companies that we want more of. So let's work to foster the conditions for these types of companies. They need more skilled workers, for example.

    Then let's look at who doesn't do this. Foxconn, in China, for example. They are by all intensive purposes a sweatshop operating in a deregulated environment giving as little as possible back to their workers.

    Let's gear our government policies around helping to create the environment where the first type of company prospers. The ones we want more of.

    Ok, ok. But none of this answers the questions about the deficit. If we had a tax policy where everyone in this country paid their fair share, we wouldn't be running deficits. Instead, we have a system where the poor and middle class pay a disproportionate amount because the rich have the means to avoid taxation. One way to do this would be a flat tax across the board. No loopholes. Figure out what the percentage is and everyone pays it equally.

    Cheers
    -David

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    I think the problem here is that ya'all look at Unions as part of the solution whereas I look at Unions as part of the problem..

    Just like Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin, so are Unions and Corporations..

    Both are greedy, unscrupulous and only looking out to their own power-mongering agenda...

    What I believe is good wages and good business are not exclusive. You can have both. So let's look at who is able to have both.

    Who decides what are "good wages"?? And based on what criteria??

    As I have pointed out, public workers in Wisconsin have a great wage and benefits package that is the envy of private sector workers...

    So, are their wages and benefits too high????

    Considering that the State has to have a 3.06Billion dollar deficit to sustain it, I would say... yes... The wage and benefits are too high...

    I think a Flat Tax is a great idea...

    But then millions of accountants would be out of work....

    There is obviously no easy solution..

    The problem is, the unions WANT to make things easy for them, at the expense of Joe Q Taxpayer..

    And THAT is wrong...

    Michale....

  27. [27] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    to translate from math into english, the actual deficit is around 140 million, 117 million of which comes straight from legislation that the governor just signed. the 3.6 billion figure is a pie in the sky estimate that would only materialize if every single agency spending request were approved. so essentially, the governor's budget crisis is very exaggerated, and at least partly self-created. in addition, he has refused to negotiate on terms that have nothing to do with the budget, like the ability to negotiate working conditions. two wrongs may not make a right, but everything that's happened in wisconsin has been a direct result of the governor's actions. granted, fleeing the state is the most nuclear of nuclear options, but considering the governor threatened to call in the national guard to end the protests, is it that hard to imagine he might also have the lawmakers arrested for refusing to participate in his legislation?

    as to your second point, i think you're reading into this conflict a dichotomy that doesn't really exist. unions, like corporations, governments or any other organization, can either solve problems or create problems, and do one or the other on a case-by-case basis. that aside, it's as unfair to guilt-trip teachers for pseudo-striking (it's not even a real strike) as it is to deride the israeli army for striking neighborhoods that harbor terrorists.

    as far as i'm concerned, governor walker is hiding his katyusha rockets behind wisconsin's children.

  28. [28] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Considering that the State has to have a 3.06 Billion dollar deficit to sustain it, I would say... yes...

    I thought we'd already established that for Mr. Walker, this isn't about deficits. He has no problem increasing the deficit when it comes to his interests.

    I think the problem here is that ya'all look at Unions as part of the solution whereas I look at Unions as part of the problem.

    I believe it was you who said we're all in this together :)

    If it becomes a one-way street where one side has all the power, is that really in the best interests of our country?

    public workers in Wisconsin have a great wage and benefits package that is the envy of private sector workers.

    Since when? Since Scott Walker needed another argument? I haven't exactly heard anyone ... ever talking about moving to Wisconsin for their great public employee contracts ... :)

    I do find it hilarious though, that since Wisconsin, all of a sudden, conservative pundits are talking about the huge money teachers are making.

    Puhleez ... do you know any teachers? Ask them what they make.

    $100k ... hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahh.

    Sorry. I really don't mean to laugh. I'm just imagining all the teachers I know saying "I'm going into this for the money!" Boy ... were they wrong.

    I got out of it when I was making the whopping sum of $9k a year teaching Freshman English. I miss it because it was fun, but I'm sure happier w/ my private sector pay/benefits.

    Now that I think of it, this may actually be the lie that does in conservative media (joking) because it is so incredibly unbelievable.

    The reality is that its much closer to this:
    http://www.marconews.com/blogs/he-is-that-guy/2011/feb/21/scott/

    Glad to hear that you think a flat tax is a good idea! It's not exactly mine :) but it could be one approach to a more equitable tax code

    -David

  29. [29] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Hey nypoet-

    Any idea what teachers in NYC are making?

    I believe the starting salary is near $40k a year. This basically makes it just about impossible to teach in NY and live in NY at the same time :)

    -David

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    NYpoet,

    in addition, he has refused to negotiate on terms that have nothing to do with the budget, like the ability to negotiate working conditions.

    State Law protects Civil Service workers and their working conditions. Walker has offered to strengthen Civil Service laws and protections, but the Unions won't negotiate that...

    In the case of Civil Service workers, Unions are the problem, not the solution..

    Walker is simply doing the job he has been elected by the people of Wisconsin to do...

    is it that hard to imagine he might also have the lawmakers arrested for refusing to participate in his legislation?

    If by "participate in his legislation" you mean that the Senators must vote on it yes or no, then why WOULDN'T the Governor have them arrested.

    It's their JOB to "participate" in the legislation.

    If they don't want to do their jobs and arresting them is an option, then why SHOULDN'T the Gov arrest them??

    It's like Contempt Of Court.. If you do something to piss the judge off, you will likely be arrested..

    it's as unfair to guilt-trip teachers for pseudo-striking (it's not even a real strike) as it is to deride the israeli army for striking neighborhoods that harbor terrorists.

    Big difference...

    Teachers don't NEED the exorbitant benefits package they are ignoring their students over... Teachers WANT to live in the lap of luxury and are willing to sacrifice their student's to continue it..

    If you really WANT to use the terrorist/hostage analogy, then it is actually the Teachers who are using their student's as hostages to further their own personal agenda...

    The teachers had a choice. The could choose the welfare of their students or they could choose to fight for their excessive wages and benefits package..

    "He chose...... poorly."
    -Knight, INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE

    Seriously, I would have more sympathy for the teachers if A)they didn't make six figures a year including a benefits package that is the envy of every private sector worker in the country and B)the put the welfare of their students first and their own selfish needs second...

    The public workers of Wisconsin have to come to grips with one simple fact.. The days of getting grossly high pay and benefits paid for by the taxpayers of their fellow cheese heads is over...

    The people of Wisconsin are firmly behind Walker and the GOP in this case.

    The Union would be wise to surrender in this battle and live to fight another day..

    If the Union doesn't, it will likely cease to exist as a viable entity...

    Michale.....

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    I thought we'd already established that for Mr. Walker, this isn't about deficits. He has no problem increasing the deficit when it comes to his interests.

    If by "his interests" you mean the vast majority of people in Wisconsin who voted him as Governor and their interests, then why would he have a problem with that??

    He is simply doing his job.. Perhaps the Democrats in Wisconsin should take a lesson from Walker and do THEIR jobs, eh??

    Why are you comparing teacher salaries in Florida with that of Wisconsin??

    I KNOW that teachers in Florida don't make dick.. That's why my wife left the School District to work as a private HomeSchooler/Nanny...

    But the low salaries in Florida are completely opposite to the high salaries in Wisconsin...

    An average teacher in Wisconsin makes approx 58K a year... Their benefits package totals about 45K a year...

    You can do the math...

    All the citizens of Wisconsin want is for the Teachers and State Workers to contribute SOMETHING to their benefits package... Is that really too much to ask?? They will STILL be paying a THIRD less towards their package than their private sector counterparts pay..

    Is that really so unfair???

    Michale.....

  32. [32] 
    akadjian wrote:

    All the citizens of Wisconsin want is for the Teachers and State Workers to contribute SOMETHING to their benefits package...

    And they agreed. Why is Scott Walker still going after them?

    And, why isn't it too much to ask for the wealthy to contribute their fair share?

    If you're willing to go after a few people making $100,000, why not go after everyone making more than $100,000?

    Why are you singling out the public union?
    (I mean ... aheam ... other than your expressed hatred of unions.)

    Why are you comparing teacher salaries in Florida with that of Wisconsin?

    Florida? I'm not sure what you're talking about. NY? The point is that there isn't a teacher out there who's in it for the money. Not in NY. Not in Florida. Not in California. Not in Ohio. Not in Wisconsin.

    Why not go after the people who stole over $800 billion from our government? Why are you going after teachers when so much more of our tax dollars are being redirected to Wall Street every minute?

    It's like going after the person who took a penny out of the spare change tray instead of going after the person stuffing their pockets with everything they can find.

    Cheers
    -David

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    I'm not sure why you're getting so angry and ranty. I'm afraid you might be mistaking me for someone who is anti-business.

    Or is it because I come up with better movie quotes? :)

    Hay now!! Let's not be sayin' things we can't take back!! Keep 'em above the belt. :D

    Michale.....

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    And they agreed. Why is Scott Walker still going after them?

    Because Walker knows that, once the eyes of the Nation are elsewhere, the Unions will swoop back in and demand those benefits back...

    So, the only way to ensure that this doesn't happen is to get rid of the ability to do so...

    If this is NOT the Union's plan, why don't they agree to a temporary suspension of the Collective Bargaining til 2013, as one GOP Senator proposed??

    Florida? I'm not sure what you're talking about.

    The MarcoNews link you posted was about teachers in FL...

    Why not go after the people who stole over $800 billion from our government?

    Why not go after the people in the Government who GAVE away 800 Billion?? Ya know, the Stimulus that didn't stimulate anything... :D

    Why are you going after teachers when so much more of our tax dollars are being redirected to Wall Street every minute?

    I am not sure Walker has the ability to go after Wall Street... :D

    But I agree with you.. We should go after them for the current state of the economy..

    Just as Unionized workers SHOULD realize that they can't satiate themselves at the public teat as they have been...

    The Unions are NOT doing their people any favors by coming across as greedy and corrupt as the Wall Street fat cats or the greedy and corrupt corporations ya always rail against..

    Michale....

  35. [35] 
    akadjian wrote:

    The MarcoNews link you posted was about teachers in FL

    My bad. That was more humorous than anything else. But was a nice way to show the true value of teachers.

    The Unions are NOT doing their people any favors by coming across as greedy and corrupt as the Wall Street fat cats

    Huh? The Wisconsin workers seem rather reasonable to me. They offered to take a cut in pay and pay more benefits to help out. When was the last time you heard anyone on Wall Street say something like this? Or, anyone in the private sector for that matter?

    Remember when the government was going to cut Wall Street bonuses to the firms they bailed out. Remember what the response was? It was, w/o the bonuses we might lose these people. Would it really have been a loss to "lose the people" who caused the crisis? In my opinion, they should have been lost long ago.

    I am not sure Walker has the ability to go after Wall Street.

    Sure he does. All he has to do is support a plan for equitable state taxation.

    Let's make sure everyone pays their fair share w/o any loopholes. If he was serious about balancing the budget, this is what he would be doing.

    If you're willing to ask the same from everyone equally, I'm with you. But it makes no sense to ask teachers and state employees to pay for the mess created by Wall Street.

    Flat tax. Everyone pays the same. No loopholes.

    Cheers
    -David

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    Huh? The Wisconsin workers seem rather reasonable to me. They offered to take a cut in pay and pay more benefits to help out.

    It's a disingenuous offer at best because the workers know that the Union can get their benefits back thru Collective Bargaining...

    A meaningful offer would be to agree to the cuts AND to suspend Collective Bargaining for a couple years to allow Wisconsin to get back on it's feet.

    Isn't that reasonable???

    Would it really have been a loss to "lose the people" who caused the crisis? In my opinion, they should have been lost long ago.

    Then who will create the jobs???

    Michale.....

  37. [37] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    The teachers had a choice. The could choose the welfare of their students or they could choose to fight for their excessive wages and benefits package...

    that's an absolute lie, and frankly i'm apoplectic seeing it repeated by someone i respect as much as yourself. the unions were very willing to negotiate, but the governor made explicit that he had absolutely no interest in negotiating. his goal is to destroy the influence of the unions, and the budget is just a convenient vehicle to do so. when he thought he was talking privately, he acknowledged exactly that.

    http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/116751499.html

    to go back to the middle-east analogy, the border (pay/benefits) had already been set. instead of asking to renegotiate, he just lobbed rockets at every teacher in the state. their actions have been retaliatory; i am dead-certain that many protesting teachers are deeply concerned about how the events will effect their students, while i have yet to see evidence that the governor cares one whit about ANY student. the teachers are NOT the antagonists here. the border as it is may be unfair, but the fact is that he shot first.

    just like the israelis, the teachers have offered to give up almost all of what the governor had said he wanted, but that wasn't enough. the only objective that will suffice for him (and apparently you as well) is to push the entire teacher union into the ocean. that is EXACTLY like the palestinians.

    George Clooney: What's the most important thing in life?
    Mark Wahlberg: Respect.
    Clooney: Too dependent on other people.
    Spike Jonze: What, love?
    Clooney: A little Disneyland, isn't it?
    Ice Cube: God's will.
    Clooney: Close.
    Wahlberg: What is it then?
    Clooney: Necessity.
    Wahlberg: As in?
    Clooney: As in people do what is most necessary to them at any given moment.
    ~~THREE KINGS

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    that's an absolute lie, and frankly i'm apoplectic seeing it repeated by someone i respect as much as yourself.

    Wow.. I am truly touched and honored.. I mean that sincerely...

    the unions were very willing to negotiate, but the governor made explicit that he had absolutely no interest in negotiating.

    That's because there is nothing to negotiate... If Wisconsin is facing a fiscal nightmare a'la California, then there isn't room for negotiation...

    If the Unions would say, "OK, we agree.. There is a fiscal emergency and we are all in this together.. We'll accept the bill as is, as long as it has a Sunset Clause of, say 2 or 3 years. Then we can go back to discussing things.."..

    THAT would be reasonable and THAT should be acceptable to the GOP...

    But the Unions and the Democrats aren't doing that.. They are as intransigent as the GOP is... And this running away and hiding is NOT helping them, from a PR point of view...

    The majority of the state AND the nation are with the GOP on this...

    Love the movie quote.. And from an equally awesome movie as well... :D

    Michale.....

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    As for pushing the Union into the ocean? In this case, I think it's warranted..

    The Union is NOT NEEDED in the case of teachers and other Public employees... They public workers already have protections and the like in the form of Civil Service laws..

    In this particular case, this particular Union is doing more harm than good.. This Union is not there for the teachers and the State Workers. They are there for Democrats, to keep Democrats in office......

    The teachers and state workers are being used by the Union and the Democrats...

    And that is why you are seeing such desperate measures taken by Democrats and the Union...

    And the longer it goes on, the worse it's going to get for everyone but the GOP...

    The Democrats, the teachers and state workers and the Union are going to lose this thing. That's a pre-ordained conclusion..

    The only part that is up in the air is how bad they are going to lose...

    They should accept the legislation as it is now and live to fight it another day...

    Michale.....

  40. [40] 
    akadjian wrote:

    A meaningful offer would be to agree to the cuts AND to suspend Collective Bargaining for a couple years to allow Wisconsin to get back on it's feet.
    Isn't that reasonable???

    No. Would you feel it was reasonable if I were going after corporations?

    Fair would be a solution in which everyone pays equally. Anything else is not fair.

    I'm not sure why you think its reasonable to go after average people yet still give enormous handouts to the wealthy who need it least.

    Then who will create the jobs?

    Ok. Now I think I understand. If I'm getting you correctly, you think that if we don't subsidize corporate America, they won't create jobs.

    Let's look at what happened w/ the Bush tax cuts. We subsidized. And they didn't create jobs. They took the money and ran. Didn't do a damn thing for country.

    I'd argue we need to change the approach. We need to incent job creation. Tie any tax breaks to job creation or something similar. This is the direction I'd suggest.

    As for pushing the Union into the ocean? In this case, I think it's warranted. ....
    They are there for Democrats, to keep Democrats in office.

    And Scott Walker would agree. Let's be honest. This is the real reason conservatives are going after the public union. You both have this belief that unions don't do any good. And, you don't like that they support Democrats.

    The problem I have is that this has nothing to do with the budget or deficits.

    If Scott Walker wants to talk about how to solve a problem together, I'm with him. But let's do that, as you mentioned together, rather than creating sides and going after certain people.

    If there's problems w/ a union, let's fix them. Not destroy them. If there's a problem w/ the government, let's fix it, not destroy it.

    Cheers
    -David

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    David,

    There is no NEED for a Union when it comes to State or Federal workers..

    State and Federal LAW take care of the workers..

    Imagine if there was an agency to take care of Corporate Interests IN ADDITION to the people already tasked with taking care of Corporate Interests...

    Unions for Federal and State workers do more harm than good, as we are seeing in Wisconsin and Indiana and California and Texas etc etc etc etc...

    Fair would be a solution in which everyone pays equally. Anything else is not fair.

    Agreed.. But that can't be done now.. What CAN be done now is to get rid of the Union in Wisconsin as they are part of the problem, NOT part of the solution..

    Let's look at what happened w/ the Bush tax cuts. We subsidized. And they didn't create jobs. They took the money and ran. Didn't do a damn thing for country.

    And in came Obama and the Democrats who made it even MORE impossible for Corporations to create jobs...

    You both have this belief that unions don't do any good.

    The evidence clearly shows this...

    And, you don't like that they support Democrats.

    I don't like that they support Democrats at the expense of the teachers, the workers and the American people..

    Sue me... :D

    Michale.....

  42. [42] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Imagine if there was an agency to take care of Corporate Interests IN ADDITION to the people already tasked with taking care of Corporate Interests...

    There is.

    It's called Congress

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    There is.

    It's called Congress

    Touche' :D

    Michale....

  44. [44] 
    akadjian wrote:

    What CAN be done now is to get rid of the Union in Wisconsin as they are part of the problem, NOT part of the solution

    I'm sorry you feel this way, Michale. It's a shame you don't believe both sides can talk and work together.

    -David

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'm sorry you feel this way, Michale. It's a shame you don't believe both sides can talk and work together.

    No, they can't..

    Because they Union is only looking out for it's own power and it's own agenda..

    Walker and the GOP are looking out for the interests of Wisconsin taxpayers..

    The fact that those interests coincide with the agenda of Walker and the GOP is irrelevant..

    This is an issue that pits the Union against the taxpayers..

    The taxpayers are in the right, morally, ethically and legally...

    Michale....

  46. [46] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Gosh, Michale. You're right. I don't know what I was thinking.

    People shouldn't be allowed to negotiate or have the right to safe work environments. That's ridiculous! They should just shut up and do what they're told!

    This is the perfect chance to crush the unions and pay back those uppity liberals for daring to question conservative rule!

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    People shouldn't be allowed to negotiate or have the right to safe work environments. That's ridiculous! They should just shut up and do what they're told!

    Can you negotiate if you don't like your work??

    Can I???

    Can we pick and choose and raise holy hell if our job is not to our liking???

    If you don't like something about the job, then quit. There are plenty of people out there who would LOVE to have even HALF the job that the Union is whining about.

    If something illegal, immoral or unethical is being done, then there are civil service laws to address that...

    My god, are we so "entitled" that we can say, "I don't like my job, change this, this and that or I will make your life hell."

    It's a JOB.... If one wants to "enjoy" what they are doing all the time, become a billionaire and take up a hobby... :D

    Michale.....

  48. [48] 
    Michale wrote:

    What it all boils down to is that the taxpayers in Wisconsin are sick and tired of paying for titty jobs, viagra or Union Leader's yachts and Porsches and Caribbean vacations..

    And I really can't blame them....

    The days of the GIMME culture sucking at the public teat is over...

    It's belt-tightening time..

    Michale.....

  49. [49] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Can you negotiate if you don't like your work??
    Can I?

    Neither can they. This has nothing to do w/ "like". It has to do w/ safe working conditions. It has to do w/ negotiating pay and benefits. It has to do w/ offering good working conditions so the state can recruit the best people. It has to do w/ both sides sitting down to work things out together.

    Where do you get these ideas about unions?

    The days of the GIMME culture sucking at the public teat is over..

    ???

    I mean it's a great idea trying to pit the people against each other - unions vs. taxpayers - because it doesn't look good for politicians and corporations to be going after the unions.

    But its just a marketing tactic as opposed to anything that's actually going on.

    http://tax.com/taxcom/taxblog.nsf/Permalink/UBEN-8EDJYS?OpenDocument

    Just like your comment about unions complaining if they don't "like" work. It's a good tactic and I'm guessing you picked it up from conservative media. But I don't see any truth in it. I mean ... unless you have some evidence the rest of us don't.

    -David

  50. [50] 
    tommymccarthy wrote:

    My Lord! How did I ever miss this piece?

    Absolutely fabulous...talk about red meat for the base!
    I felt like giving the "power salute" or maybe shouting "Free Huey!" (OK That one may be a little dated...but you get the idea)

    All kidding aside....The most cogent argument Chris has made here is the one regarding the payroll tax ceiling on Social Security.
    And it's the one most likely to resonate with our dumbed down, propagandized, and utterly "Future Shocked" electorate (remember Toffler?)in terms of not only practicality...but of simple fairness.

    Not only that....it's the one most likely to induce something of a "lightbulb moment"....

    Once one "Groks" the concept (that's Heinlien)...
    That an UPPER limit (100K?) on contributions INTO SS.....coupled with a lack of means-testing disburments FROM SS...constitutes at least some level of "double-dipping" in an era of severe budget constraints.....then it's the next logical step to question WHY neither are on the table.

    I've been beating this drum for MANY years...but
    Want to know what a dummy I am?.......

    Until today,just a few minutes ago...it never occured to me to refer to this as a "flat tax"...a phrase that excites Conservatives at least as much as telephone sex does...with identical results.

    I could go on at length..(probably have)but if EVER there was a "talking point" that could resonate UNIVERSALLY with EVERY American...this is the one.

    Just a LITTLE bit of thought on this subject would so clearly point out that the constant refrain that we don't DARE start down the path of the dreaded "class warfare" has been nothing but a smoke screen to prevent the simple-minded from NOTICING that it's been ON for 30+ years or more...

    Many years ago, in a jungle FAR from here...a much youger man than I asked a buddy (incredulously)

    "Are they shooting at US?"

    It took not one WORD (just the look in his eyes) to hear his answer loud and clear....to wit:

    " Who the f*ck you THINK they're shooting at, fool?"

    One of your all-time hall-of-fame best, Chris
    The very highest regards
    TM

  51. [51] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Tommy-
    Good to see you here. I thought this was one of Chris' best too. Repost to your friends!
    Best
    -David

  52. [52] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    tommymccarthy -

    Thanks for the kind words. I too have been beating this drum for a long time. Here is an excerpt from my very first column (I actually proposed the idea in my last book):

    Even better, steal Republican thunder and turn it against them. Save Social Security by reducing the tax rate for all from 6.2% to 6.0%, while at the same time abolishing the cap on earnings. Campaign on the sound bite: "Our plan cuts payroll taxes both for businesses and for 94% of American workers. The remaining 6% would just be paying their fair share -- the same flat tax percentage everyone else pays. How can the Republicans be against a tax cut for 94% of Americans?"

    I recently heard that if they raised the cap to where it has historically been, it would jump to around $180K. That's a start, but I'd just abolish it. Because if you did so, you could "save" SS with NO decreased benefits and NO retirement age hike. Also, it polls phenomenally well with the public.

    Most politicians and pundits, however, never even mention this option. Sigh.

    -CW

    PS. Here's my whole first column:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2006/06/09/62006/

  53. [53] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @cw,

    great point about the social security tax cap (or ANY tax cap, for that matter), and props to tommy for pointing it out. the thing is, "tax cap" isn't really an emotionally stirring term for what they do. when phrased that way, it sounds like "lower taxes," not lower taxes only for the rich.

    maybe someone could coin a new phrase that frames it better. millionaire exception? platinum umbrella? well, you get the idea...

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