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Who Threw The Party, And Who Got Occupied?

[ Posted Monday, August 6th, 2012 – 16:38 PDT ]

This is the story of two political movements. As with any such movement, both eventually got to the point where they asked themselves the fundamental question of what they were attempting to achieve, and (more importantly) what methods they were going to use to accomplish their goals. This fork in the road can be summed up as: do we work within the existing system, or is the system itself so broken we should work outside the system in order to reform the workings of the system itself. One group chose one path, the other chose to head the other direction.

I'm speaking, of course, of the Tea Partiers and the Occupiers. Both groups started with a simple motivation: to "take the country back" from those who had hijacked it. Of course, both groups defined that statement in radically different ways, but the motivation was similar enough. Both groups started in disarray, without clearly defined goals (or, as the media demanded, "demands"), and with a healthy amount of suspicion for "the system" they were attempting to change.

To be fair, being part of the Occupy Wall Street movement was fairly clear-cut, while even today it is tough to pin down exactly what is encompassed when using the term "Tea Party." Powerful conservative groups moved almost immediately to co-opt the origins of the Tea Party, and have been very successful at doing so. Within the Tea Party ranks are found pure libertarians, social and religious conservatives, anti-tax fanatics, and the "AstroTurf" money which drives a lot of media events (which tends to lead the media to identify this group as being the core of the Tea Party -- a conclusion many rank and file Tea Partiers would have a major problem with).

But even given this complex nature, it's pretty easy to see that the Tea Party largely chose to work within the American political system, while the Occupiers chose to reject that system and work for change from the outside.

Working within the system can mean a couple of different things. You can attempt to pool money together and form a lobbying group, for instance. Or you can work to directly elect candidates you prefer to political office, in the hopes that they'll work for the changes you would like to see once they get in office. Working outside the system has many more options, such as the "occupation" tactic itself, staging protests and rallies, labor actions such as one-day strikes, creating your own mass communications system to get your word out, and things of this nature.

While it is unfair to compare the two movements, since one started about two years earlier than the other, it is still impossible to deny that the Tea Partiers have been more effective at achieving their goals -- or, at the very least, getting their candidates into office. This is partly due to another aspect of the Tea Party -- the fact that a lot of this energy has been around for a long time in Republican circles, and the whole "Tea Party" explosion of energy was nothing more than an exercise in re-branding a major chunk of the Republican Party base. Democratic Tea Partiers may exist, but they are indeed a rare creature, as most Tea Partiers likely voted Republican for a long time before the Tea Party ever existed.

The one thing both movements spectacularly succeeded in doing was changing the American political narrative. The Tea Party rebranding caught the media's eye, and they started framing their stories around the anti-tax, slash-the-budget Tea Party message. Politicians of both parties soon followed suit. The Occupy movement gave birth to the "99 Percent" theme, which also was picked up by the media and members of the Democratic Party (Republicans have mostly shied away from using this framing). Both the Occupiers and the Tea Partiers changed the American political conversation in a large way -- and that is not an easy task to accomplish for any group or movement.

Still, having said that, it cannot be denied that the Tea Party has moved a lot closer to actually changing the American political system and its laws than the Occupiers have managed. The Tea Partiers have had some spectacular successes, as well as some spectacular failures. Nominating unqualified people for Senate races -- people who enthusiastically embraced the Tea Party rhetoric and swore they were the best person for the job because they had no experience -- likely lost Republicans the chance to take control of the chamber in 2010. Harry Reid would now be in retirement in Nevada instead of being Senate Majority Leader if the Tea Party primary voters had made better choices, to put it another way. This may play out in the 2012 election cycle in House and Senate races in some "purple" states as well.

But even with this handicap, the Tea Partiers are indeed making inroads in Congress. The headline "Tea Party Candidate Ousts Republican Favorite" has almost become a cliché, in fact -- it's hardly even news anymore. Some of these candidates win primary victories and are crushed in the general election, but not all of them. Some win office, and their ranks in Washington seem to be growing.

Now compare this to the Occupy movement. One might be excused for responding to that by thinking: "What Occupy movement? Are they still around? Really?" The Occupiers can boast today that they successfully fended off every attempt to co-opt them by the Democratic Party or any Democratic operatives or lobbying groups. The Occupiers have retained their fierce independence. They have also hewed religiously to the concept of "having no leaders." But where has it gotten them, really?

Can anyone point me to a news headline which says "Occupier Candidate Wins Primary, Ousts Democrat"? Or anything even remotely similar? While a few Democratic politicians were initially enthusiastic, there is no "Occupy Caucus" within Congress today. There is no "Occupy" agenda which is being worked on by sympathetic politicians. There may be some things Democratic politicians are attempting which the Occupiers agree with, but that's about as far as the connection goes.

While I rarely interject my own feelings into analytical columns like this, I will admit a certain sense of "what might have been" about the Occupy movement -- and a certain trepidation over the prospects of a more heavy Tea Party influence in Congress. This isn't an obituary for the Occupy movement, though -- I fully expect them to put on some demonstrations here and there, and occasionally manage to get themselves on the news radar. Some of what they do will be ignored, but some of what they do will indeed get their message out. But is that enough?

Look at where the Republican Party is today, with respect to the Tea Party. Republicans who hold office are downright terrified of being "primaried" by a Tea Party challenger. Because of this, they tack even further to the right than they ever have before, in an attempt to assuage angry hordes of voters who might kick them out of their cushy jobs. Now look at Democrats in comparison. Democrats aren't being pressured by Occupiers, because the Occupiers have chosen to reject the whole political system altogether. Democratic officeholders don't worry about placating the Occupiers, because the Occupiers aren't threatening them with dismissal, the way the Tea Partiers are with Republicans.

Not to be too glib, but in this story of two movements, two paths were taken. One group decided to work from within the existing political structure, and one chose not to. One group is pushing their agenda to the floors of Congress, and is having tangible influence on lawmaking and the political universe. The other group does not wield anything close to this type of influence, which likely will not change after the upcoming elections, either. To be blunt -- one group decided to throw a party in the streets, and one group moved in to occupy a major political party. To me, it is truly ironic that the Tea Party have become the occupiers of the Republican Party, while the Occupiers seem more concerned with putting on demonstrations akin to the original American Tea Party in Boston.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Cross-posted at Business Insider
Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

90 Comments on “Who Threw The Party, And Who Got Occupied?”

  1. [1] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    Chris, that sound you hear is my applause.

  2. [2] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    wow, well written CW. every once in awhile, you put together a column like this that is so well-framed it deserves an olympic medal.

  3. [3] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    While a few Democratic politicians were initially enthusiastic, there is no "Occupy Caucus" within Congress today. There is no "Occupy" agenda which is being worked on by sympathetic politicians.

    That's because congressional members don't want to be associated with the violence and law-breaking. The Occupiers were never going anywhere with that approach.

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Joshua,

    wow, well written CW. every once in awhile, you put together a column like this that is so well-framed it deserves an olympic medal.

    Once in a while? You're kidding, right?

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    From my perspective, both groups are incredibly ill-informed.

    And, if they have succeeded in changing the political narrative, then they have done so based on their own misguided fantasies which can only lead to a less than enlightened debate - on the critical issues of the day and about who is the best equipped to lead the country for the next four years.

  6. [6] 
    Hawk Owl wrote:

    I'd like to add my kudos for this well-written, clearly-focused, essay based on original insights all framed within a balanced overview sadly lacking in most of the media these days. Only observation I might add, is that the Tea Party voice's success has relentlessly focused on "The Gummint" as the source of our woes & evils and has consistently garnered more media (corporate) attention and - - well at least I wonder -- has played the entertaining magician whose real trick is always set up by the hand you don't notice; i.e. the corporate trickery inherent in the Big Money in this election. But that's just my crotchety perspective. Well done, Chris

  7. [7] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Good article although I notice you avoid managing to conclude whether or not you agree with the approach taken by both sides ;)?

    I thought Occupy was always flawed in their approach. I can see now that it worked better than I thought (the fact that the '99%' is now a phrase and that taxing the rich now has massive public support). However, like you said, I don't think they used the momentum of the movement as well as they could have.

    And now we end up in this world where the people who caused the financial collapse have gotten away with it, business has returned to usual after a small blip in executive pay and the Republican party is proposing the same old flawed policies that caused the mess. Sometimes I wish they were still there to remind all the people in the world who have extremely selective short term memories...

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    and the Republican party is proposing the same old flawed policies that caused the mess.

    As opposed to the Democratic Party who not only IMPLEMENTED those same flawed policies but also have many of the same people around TO implement those same flawed policies...

    Michale.....

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Good article although I notice you avoid managing to conclude whether or not you agree with the approach taken by both sides ;)?

    That's just how CW is.. Me?? I have no such qualms. :D

    How many times did we read headlines like, "MASSIVE ARRESTS AT TEA PARTY RALLY!!" "MILLIONS OF DOLLARS DAMAGE AFTER TEA PARTY RIOT!!"

    Uhhh.... Never....

    The problem with the Oowzers (rhymes with Lusers) is they thought crapping on a cop car or throwing urine bombs at merchants who didn't give them free stuff were legitimate forms of protest...

    Why do you think Democrats couldn't backpedal fast enough???

    The fact that we didn't see a resurgence of the Oowzers (rhymes with Lusers) is a testament to the utter failure of the group as a legitimate protest..

    Call it silly, but everyday Americans are not interested in anarchy, mayhem or destruction....

    I DO have to give the Oowzers credit for one of the funniest moments of the winter...

    Oowzer girl got her IPAD stolen. Tea Party guy said, "Oh, it was stolen. Someone just redistributed your wealth. You don't have a problem with that, right??"

    :D

    Michale.....

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    Oowzer girl got her IPAD stolen. Tea Party guy said, "Oh, it was stolen. Someone just redistributed your wealth. You don't have a problem with that, right??"

    Grrrrrr Kinda loses the effect... :(

    Oowzer girl got her IPAD stolen. Tea Party guy said, "Oh, it wasn't stolen. Someone just redistributed your wealth. You don't have a problem with that, right??"

  11. [11] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    And now we end up in this world where the people who caused the financial collapse have gotten away with it

    Cronyism, political donations likely behind Obama, Holder failure to charge any bankers after 2008 financial meltdown
    http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/07/report-cronyism-political-donations-likely-behind-obama-holder-failure-to-charge-any-bankers-after-2008-financial-meltdown/

  12. [12] 
    michty6 wrote:

    You do realise that the statement "And now we end up in this world where the people who caused the financial collapse have gotten away with it" is a criticism of Obama?

    I don't think he dealt with it amazingly well. He wasted a great chance to pass some much needed economic and financial reform. Only now has he seen the light. He wasted a lot of political capital and opportunity to reform the messed up economic system on passing healthcare.

    But all the criticism I throw at Obama means nothing compared to where Republicans have moved on the issue putting Romney - Mr Corporation, Mr tax avoidance, Mr tax cutting and Mr de-regulation - as their candidate - the same old failed trickle down and de-regulatory economic policies that caused the Great Recession of 2008-2009 in the first place.

    As Obama correctly points out in his campaign adverts (although for a different reason) Romney is not the solution, he is the problem.

  13. [13] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    I don't think he dealt with it amazingly well. He wasted a great chance to pass some much needed economic and financial reform. Only now has he seen the light.

    Really? Because he says so? And (let me guess) you believe him, right?

  14. [14] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    the same old failed trickle down and de-regulatory economic policies that caused the Great Recession of 2008-2009 in the first place

    Clinton's lying economic team is responsible for that. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/view/?utm_campaign=viewpage&utm_medium=grid&utm_source=grid

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    michty,

    I don't think he dealt with it amazingly well. He wasted a great chance to pass some much needed economic and financial reform. Only now has he seen the light. He wasted a lot of political capital and opportunity to reform the messed up economic system on passing healthcare.

    That, I'm afraid to say, is 100% pure and unadulterated poppycock ... for lack of a better word.

    The most sweeping set of financial regulatory reforms known as the Dodd-Frank Act was passed by Congress in 2010. Perhaps you missed that amidst the amplified nonsense debate over healthcare reform.

    Fortunately for the planet, the Obama administration is able to walk and chew gum, among other things, all at the same time.

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    As Obama correctly points out in his campaign adverts (although for a different reason) Romney is not the solution, he is the problem.

    Yea, and Democrats said OBAMA was the solution in 2008...

    Now things are 20 times worse...

    Obama and the Democrats had their shot.

    They blew it...

    Time to try someone new...

    Michale.....

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    That, I'm afraid to say, is 100% pure and unadulterated poppycock ... for lack of a better word.

    Moose poop???

    :D

    Michale....

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    All politics aside...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWOu6D84_oQ

    .....THAT gave me goose pimples...

    Michale.....

  19. [19] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Chris
    Really? Because he says so? And (let me guess) you believe him, right?

    Well yes the Democratic Senate has already made it clear they will end Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. This is the new no.1 policy for Obama, you should hear quite a lot about it in the next few months.

    But for argument sake, lets say you don't believe Obama. Well I've got news for you: the other guy has made it so clear where he stands on this issue (going back to the failed policies of low taxes for the rich and de-regulation) that Obama would get my vote by default because he is by far the most likely not to go down this road.

    the same old failed trickle down and de-regulatory economic policies that caused the Great Recession of 2008-2009 in the first place

    Clinton's lying economic team is responsible for that.

    Actually Reagan is responsible for Trickle Down. It was his most prominent policy and most associated with 'Reaganomics'. You can make a case for Clinton carrying on Reagan/Bush de-regulation, sure. But making a case he was responsible for Trickle Down is to completely ignore the facts.

    The Clinton Presidency years were the only ones where inequality was reduced in the last 30 years (I include the Obama years in this statement) because he raised taxes on the wealthy. Surprise surprise the Republicans in the House and Senate voted against his tax raises but he got them through. And surprise surprise he handed over a surplus to Bush - the only time America has balanced the budget in the last 30 years. The argument that tax raises on the wealthy will stifle the economy and not balance the budget is easily disproven by looking at what Clinton did and the Presidents around him. But then Republicans don't like facts...

    Aside from Clinton, you can literally trace the start of rising inequality and the beginning of the transfer of the wealth of society up to the top few % to 1980. But no, lets ignore the facts once again and permanently reduce taxes on the wealthy.

    Trickle down and deregulation failed, but lets give it another shot - and no I promise I don't just want tax cuts because myself and all my donors are super wealthy - pinky promise - Romney 2012.
    (This should be his campaign slogan)

    "That, I'm afraid to say, is 100% pure and unadulterated poppycock ... for lack of a better word.

    The most sweeping set of financial regulatory reforms known as the Dodd-Frank Act was passed by Congress in 2010. Perhaps you missed that amidst the amplified nonsense debate over healthcare reform.

    Fortunately for the planet, the Obama administration is able to walk and chew gum, among other things, all at the same time."

    Elizabeth
    I agree Obama made some progress with Dodd-Frank. But look at what is still happening in the financial world. He had the chance to pass sweeping reforms on the financial sector with mass public support. He didn't. Dodd-Frank does not go far enough, it was too watered down because of the lobbying of the financial sector. There are still people calling for reforms like bringing back Glass-Steagall but it's probably too late now as the mass public outcry against the financial sector has waned and passing such reforms will be a lot more harder now.

    On the bright side, the UK is poised to pass our version of Glass-Steagall, after an independent White Paper recommended that this was necessary (we do things differently in the UK - actually putting independent studies in to examine the potential effects of policy before we implement them!). This might pressure the US to do the same because it takes the 'competitiveness' argument out. I would hazard a guess that if Romney is your President by this point there is literally 0% chance this would happen and Romney will destroy the existing regulations (like Dodd-Frank) that Obama put in place. Hence I would be selling every single US investment I have if Romney is made President - I'm not riding that roller-coaster.

    The difference is I criticise Obama because I don't think financial regulation and reform - like Dodd-Frank - went far enough; Romney criticises him because he believes it went too far - from someone who works in finance I can tell you this is absolutely laughable and makes the choice for the next election incredibly easy.

  20. [20] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Well yes the Democratic Senate has already made it clear they will end Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

    And how were they planning on getting the House aboard?

    This is the new no.1 policy for Obama

    Again? That was his policy in 2010. Y'know, before he flip-flopped and extended the Bush tax cuts.

    Aside from Clinton, you can literally trace the start of rising inequality

    I'm never quite sure what the Left is talking about here. Is everyone supposed to achieve the same level of success, or something?

    The argument that tax raises on the wealthy will stifle the economy and not balance the budget is easily disproven by looking at what Clinton did

    Mmm, this isn't Clinton's economy. Far from it. So why are you comparing apples and oranges (again)?

  21. [21] 
    michty6 wrote:

    "And how were they planning on getting the House aboard?"

    By winning the House or reaching a compromise, assuming Republicans are willing to. At some point they have to start compromising as if they don't ALL the tax cuts will expire next year.

    "Again? That was his policy in 2010. Y'know, before he flip-flopped and extended the Bush tax cuts."

    Not quite. His 2008 election policy was to 'hold most income tax rates steady, making permanent the Bush tax cuts for the vast majority of individual taxpayers. With those cuts scheduled to expire in 2011, he would allow rates for households making over $250,000 (or individuals making more than roughly $200,000) to return to earlier levels.'

    http://images.businessweek.com/ss/08/10/1027_candidates_positions/3.htm

    So he never planned on ending the Bush tax cuts immediately. However, he did extend them by two years - at this time they had lost control of the House though. Now he wants to end that extension. Hardly a massive move away from where he stood. But if you're arguing that extending them was wrong, I'm fully in agreement.

    "I'm never quite sure what the Left is talking about here. Is everyone supposed to achieve the same level of success, or something?"

    No equality is about equal opportunity - that thing that you guys like to call the 'American Dream'. Well since 1980, apart from a brief period under Clinton, the American Dream has been dying a slow death and more people in America don't move up the socio-economic ladder. Wealth has become more concentrated at the top and the dream has died for everyone else. This is what I meant by inequality growing since 1980.

    "Mmm, this isn't Clinton's economy. Far from it. So why are you comparing apples and oranges (again)?"

    Reagan also had a bad economy and reduced taxes on the wealthy, it made things worse - deficits grew.

    Bush1 reduced taxes on the wealthy, it made things worse - deficits grew.

    Clinton increased taxes on the wealthy, it made things better - deficits fell and surpluses were created.

    Bush2 reduced taxes on the wealthy, it made things worse - deficits grew.

    Obama kept Bush reductions on the wealthy, it made things worse - deficits grew.

    See a pattern here? This is what I mean by Romney and Republicans wanting to return or make permanent failed economic policies...

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    See a pattern here? This is what I mean by Romney and Republicans wanting to return or make permanent failed economic policies...

    As opposed to Obama & Democrats continuing THEIR same failed policies???

    Michale

  23. [23] 
    michty6 wrote:

    "As opposed to Obama & Democrats continuing THEIR same failed policies???"

    Not really. Obama knows now that extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy was a mistake. That is why this is now the number 1 policy he is focussing on just now... Romney just wants to return to Bush-era policies and hope things will work out differently this time...

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    Not really. Obama knows now that extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy was a mistake. That is why this is now the number 1 policy he is focussing on just now...

    You tend to get tunnel-vision when trying to defend Obama and his policies...

    It's undeniable that Obama and the Democrats have made things a LOT worse with their spending orgasm..

    It's not rocket science.. When you find yourself in a financial hole, the VERY FIRST thing you want to do is... STOP DIGGING....

    Obama and the Democrats not only did NOT stop digging, they brought in very heavy and very expensive machinery to DIG FASTER AND DEEPER...

    And you HONESTLY believe that 4 more years of this is exactly what this country needs???

    SERIOUSLY!???

    This only leaves me with one question...

    What color is the sky on your planet?? :D

    Michale.....

  25. [25] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    So he never planned on ending the Bush tax cuts immediately.

    I never said he did. (Are we back to your misrepresenting my statements?) I said he planned on ending them in 2010, but that he flip-flopped on his word. Yet you're now believing he's gonna eliminate the tax cuts for the evil rich, because after all... he said so.

    Well since 1980, apart from a brief period under Clinton, the American Dream has been dying a slow death and more people in America don't move up the socio-economic ladder.

    Y'mean, like the poor folks in Alex Pelosi's video? http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/03/17/real_time_interviews_shameless_welfare_recipients.html Newsflash: It's up to individuals to create success for themselves. They have the right to pursue happiness; not the right to happiness itself. Want a nice lifestyle? Earn it. Fascinating concept, to be sure.

    As for Reagan's policies, they paved the way for the roaring 90's. So I'm not real interested in your myopic assessment. Nor am I interested in your apples-and-oranges comparisons to yesteryear's economies. This is the here and now, not three decades ago, or two decades ago, or one decade ago.

  26. [26] 
    michty6 wrote:

    "You tend to get tunnel-vision when trying to defend Obama and his policies...

    It's undeniable that Obama and the Democrats have made things a LOT worse with their spending orgasm..

    It's not rocket science.. When you find yourself in a financial hole, the VERY FIRST thing you want to do is... STOP DIGGING....

    Obama and the Democrats not only did NOT stop digging, they brought in very heavy and very expensive machinery to DIG FASTER AND DEEPER..."

    You have a pretty loose definition of 'defend' - generally when someone is saying 'what this person did is wrong' they are not defending them!

    I don't know where to start with the rest of your stuff. Aside from the fact you are advocating austerity, which even Romney is starting to move away from, do you look at facts and stuff? Like how a deficit is formed? Actual spending by Obama? Or do you just repeat the 'right wing newscast' talking points?

    http://dailydish.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451c45669e20163059c86ac970d-popup

  27. [27] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Or do you just repeat the 'right wing newscast' talking points?

    Good lord, look who's talking.

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://dailydish.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451c45669e20163059c86ac970d-popup

    Like I said.. Tunnel vision..

    You cheery pick one or two alleged "facts" and concoct an entire reality based on the cheery picked item...

    Are Americans happy with Obama's handling of the economy??

    NO, we are not..

    Do Americans think that Romney will do a better job than Obama on the economy??

    Yes, we do...

    These are the only FACTS that are worth anything...

    You can quote cheery picked stats and polls up the ying yang, but at the end of the day, the American people will have the final say...

    And, the way things are going for Obama, he's going to be out of a job come Jan 2013...

    Michale.....

    Michale...

  29. [29] 
    michty6 wrote:

    "I never said he did. (Are we back to your misrepresenting my statements?) I said he planned on ending them in 2010, but that he flip-flopped on his word. Yet you're now believing he's gonna eliminate the tax cuts for the evil rich, because after all... he said so."

    Nope not quite again. Read my last post. He planned on eliminating them in 2011. But guess what happened in 2010? Clue: Obama hasn't been in control of all of Congress for all 4 years... When the position changed he had to compromise to get things done. Do I agree with this compromise? Absolutely not. Do I think this shows he was dishonest and breaking policies? Absolutely not - I understand how politics and Government function.

    You're clutching at straws. You know fine well what the Democrats position on taxes is - which is the position also favoured by the public I should add... Even the people being fed right wing nonsense about trickle down don't believe it anymore.

    ":Newsflash: It's up to individuals to create success for themselves. They have the right to pursue happiness; not the right to happiness itself. Want a nice lifestyle? Earn it. Fascinating concept, to be sure."

    Of course individual effort is important. But if it's not a level playing field all the individual effort will get you nowhere - and all data shows that, since 1980, America has been moving further and further away from being a level playing field.

    America is (or should I say was) the land of opportunity and the American Dream but it hasn't been any of these for a long time as the people at the top have sucked up all the opportunity and the 'dream' has not become less achievable and available. Every fact and statistic supports this.

    "Nor am I interested in your apples-and-oranges comparisons to yesteryear's economies. This is the here and now, not three decades ago, or two decades ago, or one decade ago."

    No what you're REALLY not interested in is evidence that Republican trickle down economics has been a complete failure for America. And yes one must delve into history to show this - this is generally where facts and logic to support your argument come from. This is how a lot of humans learn: trial and error. We tried trickle down economics, it was a huge failure. Romney wants to try it again (of course the fact that he and his millionaire donors personally benefit from his plan has NOTHING to do with it - look a flying pig!)

    "You cheery pick one or two alleged "facts" and concoct an entire reality based on the cheery picked item..."

    The difference is I use facts to support my arguments. You use blatantly untrue Rush-Limbaugh-like rhetoric like 'Obama went on a spending spree' with not a shred of evidence to support your claims, then when I point out how false they are I'm 'cheery (sic) picking' lol.

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    The difference is I use facts to support my arguments.

    No... You use *A* fact.. And from that one fact you concoct an entire scenario where Obama and Democrats are the good guys...

    You may have all the cheery picked facts you want.. But in the end, it's the American people who will have the final say...

    And the FACT is, the American people trust Romney over Obama when it comes to the economy..

    That's the ONLY relevant fact...

    and all data shows that, since 1980, America has been moving further and further away from being a level playing field.

    Oh what a load of moose poop!! MOOSE POOP!!

    ANYONE can succeed in America...

    ANY----ONE.... I started up a smartcard security firm that net'ed 3.8 million dollars it's first year...

    Don't EVEN try to sell that load of moose poop that it ain't a level playing field..

    It's only not level to the whiners and bitches who think that the country owes them a living...

    You see the problem with people that think like you do is that they WANT the success and the happiness.... But they want it HANDED to them by the people who DID have the guts, the intelligence AND the drive to make the American Dream happen. The ones who actually WORKED for it.....

    That is what Obama and the Democrats are all about.. Taking from those who are smart and successful and giving to those who are lazy and selfish....

    Guess what? It ain't gonna happen...

    Michale.....

  31. [31] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Nope not quite again. Read my last post. He planned on eliminating them in 2011. But guess what happened in 2010? Clue: Obama hasn't been in control of all of Congress for all 4 years...

    Clue: The tax cuts were extended in 2010 — by Pelosi, Reid and Obama. The new congress wasn't even seated until January of 2011. And no amount of yammering around that fact is gonna change that fact.

    No what you're REALLY not interested in is evidence that Republican trickle down economics has been a complete failure for America.

    In the opinion of Leftie economists, y'mean? You keep stating your opinon in the form of fact. Are you aware of that?

    Of course individual effort is important. But if it's not a level playing field all the individual effort will get you nowhere - and all data shows that, since 1980, America has been moving further and further away from being a level playing field.

    Not interested in the Left's endless amorphous phrases: this time "a level playing field." No one is guaranteed a "level playing field" in life OR in the Constitution. If you make bad decisions for yourself in life, you get to live with them OR take the initiative to pull yourself out of your screwed-up existence. PERSONAL drive is what creates success, and those who bust their butt, as opposed to sticking their hand out, are the ones who have the best shot at success. So what does the Left seek to do? Why, to make people more dependent on Big Mommy Government rather than on themselves. And where does that get folks, such as those featured in Alex Pelosi's video? It gets them nowhere fast. That's the life THEY choose to pursue in this country.

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    Of course individual effort is important. But if it's not a level playing field all the individual effort will get you nowhere - and all data shows that, since 1980, America has been moving further and further away from being a level playing field.

    I think what you are trying to say, Mitchy is that life should be "fair"....

    One thing we learn as we grow up and mature is that life is NOT "fair".....

    Those who accept that and work hard, will succeed..

    Those who whine and complain and expect that society OWES them...

    Well, they become Democrats.... :D

    Michale.....

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    Nope not quite again. Read my last post. He planned on eliminating them in 2011. But guess what happened in 2010? Clue: Obama hasn't been in control of all of Congress for all 4 years...

    Again, more Moose Poop....

    Obama had a virtual LOCK on Congress from Jan 2009 to Jan 2011....

    At one point in that span, he had a SUPER MAJORITY that could have passed ANYTHING that Democrats wanted...

    Guess what?? Obama blew it...

    Sorry, I simply will not allow you to rewrite recent history..

    It's not allowed... Those pesky facts you keep whining about always seem to have a way to come up and bite ya on the arse... :D

    Michale.....

  34. [34] 
    michty6 wrote:

    "ANYONE can succeed in America...
    ANY----ONE.... I started up a smartcard security firm that net'ed 3.8 million dollars it's first year...
    Don't EVEN try to sell that load of moose poop that it ain't a level playing field.."

    This is the sort of stuff that leads you to say 'getting an ID is easy - I did it!' when you live in a complete bubble and don't a vast chunk of America/the world lives. I would show you the stats but you'll conveniently ignore them as usual... Consider that education, crime, healthcare, salaries - basically everything important in standards of living have all been heading the wrong way since 1980 across the whole of America. If you consider this a 'success' and something worth returning to then go ahead and vote for Romney. I would like to imagine you think America can do better than 14th in education and 37th in health (both of these considerably down from the position in 1980).

    "Clue: The tax cuts were extended in 2010 — by Pelosi, Reid and Obama. The new congress wasn't even seated until January of 2011. And no amount of yammering around that fact is gonna change that fact."

    My bad, he extended them in 2010 I forgot about the Republicans using their filibuster - thank you for reminding me. I knew it was a compromise, I remembered it being in 2011 but no after Obama initially tried to pass the tax cuts cut-off at $250k, then $1m, both were filibustered by Republicans in the Senate after going through the House. The final result was a compromise so that something could actually get passed, including some tax credits Obama wanted.

    So actually Obama did stick to his campaign pledge, Republicans blocked it and he compromised. Thank you for reminding me, glad we cleared that up, Obama did not break his promise. Well done.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_tax_cuts#Extension_of_Bush_tax_cuts

    "No what you're REALLY not interested in is evidence that Republican trickle down economics has been a complete failure for America.
    In the opinion of Leftie economists, y'mean? You keep stating your opinon in the form of fact. Are you aware of that?"

    Nope. Complete nonsense - I presented facts showing the failure of Trickle Down economics. You stated that since they were historical they proved nothing as you weren't interested in looking at 'yesteryear's economies' lol. I pointed out facts tend to be historical and humans learn from trial and error, you did not respond.. I can produce more if you like? But I'll warn you, to examine the success of economic policies you generally need to look in the past to see what happened to them...

    "No one is guaranteed a "level playing field" in life OR in the Constitution. If you make bad decisions for yourself in life, you get to live with them OR take the initiative to pull yourself out of your screwed-up existence. PERSONAL drive is what creates success, and those who bust their butt, as opposed to sticking their hand out, are the ones who have the best shot at success. So what does the Left seek to do? Why, to make people more dependent on Big Mommy Government rather than on themselves. And where does that get folks, such as those featured in Alex Pelosi's video? It gets them nowhere fast. That's the life THEY choose to pursue in this country."

    This is all a great rant, completely making up a bunch of stuff that I never said or even implied - well done. At no point did I even mention hand-outs or Government in people's life. But glad you could try and put words in my mouth. Now I will respond to your rant with my actual words.

    I don't believe in hand-outs in the slightest. Or heavy Government involvement in anyones life - this is complete right wing made up rhetoric when they get into an argument involving statistics and data that they know they can't win.

    Now, if we're agree hand-outs are bad, I think you'll find that trickle down economics is based on massive hand-outs and benefits to those at the TOP. Yes, hand-outs work both ways. Trickle down economics is saying 'congratulations you are wealthy, now we'll give you MORE for free and we won't even make you pay your fair share!'. I can't think of any worse hand-outs on the entire planet.

    You completely miss the point: a level playing field DOESN'T mean hand-outs. At no point did I mention this in the slightest, you just made this up. A level playing field means everyone paying a fair share of tax based on their income and how much of the wealth of society they have obtained. It means everyone having access to the same opportunity - how they decide to personally put effort in is up to them and will naturally affect how successful they are.

    But letting people at the top pay less than a fair share is NOT a level playing field in any way, shape or form. It is pure unadulterated greed by people who can afford to put millions into a Presidential candidate (guess which one?) because they know if he is elected they will save millions more in tax cuts... Pure selfish greed by people at the top wanting hand-outs.

  35. [35] 
    michty6 wrote:

    "At one point in that span, he had a SUPER MAJORITY that could have passed ANYTHING that Democrats wanted..."

    I mean. Do you actually look at any facts at all or just follow some right wing blog (Rush Limbaugh?). You do know how Congress passed bills? You do know a super majority is 60 right?

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    Mitchy,

    I would show you the stats but you'll conveniently ignore them as usual...

    Cheery picked stats that don't show much??

    Yea, I pretty much ignore those....

    I mean. Do you actually look at any facts at all or just follow some right wing blog (Rush Limbaugh?). You do know how Congress passed bills? You do know a super majority is 60 right?

    Yep and I know, for a time, Obama had exactly that..

    You must be in a different space/time continuum...

    Rush who?????

    Michale.....

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    But letting people at the top pay less than a fair share is NOT a level playing field in any way, shape or form.

    And who decides what a "fair" share is???

    You DO know that the top 20% of this country pay more than 80% of the taxes, right???

    That the bottom 20% actually not only NOT pay taxes, they actually GET money back, right???

    So, given these FACTS, who is and who isn't paying their "fair" share???

    The problem with people like you is that you think if a person has a lot of money, they "obviously" are not paying their "fair" share..

    There is a word for what you are feeling.. It's called "envy".....

    So, who decides what's "fair"?? The welfare people???

    Michale......

  38. [38] 
    michty6 wrote:

    "You DO know that the top 20% of this country pay more than 80% of the taxes, right???"

    Nope. Try again. Remember I work in finance so you have to be very careful with your wording. The top 20% don't pay more than 80% of ALL the taxes. Not even close. Here is a clue as to why: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c8/Effective_Payroll_Tax_rate_for_Different_Income_Percentiles_%282010%29.gif

    "That the bottom 20% actually not only NOT pay taxes, they actually GET money back, right???"

    You know Corporations that make millions also get money back right? Like considerably (billions) more than the people at the bottom? Or that tax avoidance alone costs the country SIXTY times more than welfare for the unemployed?

    Again this is the problem of the right wing focus on the bottom when the problems are actually at the top. You focus on those at the bottom, who are suffering, ignoring those at the top getting away with murder and caused this suffering...

    "So, given these FACTS, who is and who isn't paying their "fair" share???
    The problem with people like you is that you think if a person has a lot of money, they "obviously" are not paying their "fair" share..
    There is a word for what you are feeling.. It's called "envy".....
    So, who decides what's "fair"?? The welfare people???"

    Of course 'fair' is subjective, but we live in a democracy so people decide what is fair. Usually by politicians presenting their ideas on what is fair and us voting for what we think of their ideas. So Obama says tax the very wealthy more whilst maintaining middle class tax rates; Romney says give them a tax break whilst taxing the middle class more. The people will decide which they believe is 'fair'. Polls indicate that people strongly believe Obama's plan is more 'fair'.

    Personally I believe a fair tax system is very simple, it is one where the people who obtain most of the wealth generated by society pay more in taxes. This is progressive taxation, used in most Western democracies. And those who could likely cause damage to society through their activities should pay very high taxes imo or high penalties. So both income and the benefits to society are elements of what I believe is 'fair' in regards to taxation. I'd love to here your personal view on what is fair?

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    Mitchy,

    You DO know that we're talking about US taxes, right?? :D

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/2012/01/31/the-facts-on-tax-rates-who-pays-what/

    Once again, you seize on one piece of subjective information and try to lay out an entire reality...

    The long and the short of it is this.. The American people have decided that Obama sucks at the economy...

    We have decided that we would prefer to give Romney a chance..

    In Nov, we will make that preference official...

    I'd love to here your personal view on what is fair?

    Fair is to let those who try, those who innovate, those who succeed retain the lion's share of their "spoils"...

    If someone else wants to earn what they do, let them EARN it....

    Nobody gave me a handout when I started my successful businesses...

    Why should someone who didn't do DICK get the benefits of my hard work??

    Michale.....

    Michale....

  40. [40] 
    michty6 wrote:

    "You DO know that we're talking about US taxes, right?? :D
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/2012/01/31/the-facts-on-tax-rates-who-pays-what/
    Once again, you seize on one piece of subjective information and try to lay out an entire reality..."

    Ah Michale you did not heed my warning. Try and read my post again and compare it to the Forbes report and spot what you are missing. I'll give you a clue: there are many different types of taxes, 'income tax' is only one... The link I provided (payroll tax rates) was a BIG clue.

    "Fair is to let those who try, those who innovate, those who succeed retain the lion's share of their "spoils"...
    If someone else wants to earn what they do, let them EARN it....
    Nobody gave me a handout when I started my successful businesses...
    Why should someone who didn't do DICK get the benefits of my hard work??"

    We're actually not too far off, you are just looking at it from a different point of view than me. Those who succeed have taken a lot of their success from many things in society and thus they should pay a fair share back to represent this.

    A big reason your business was successful was because you started it in AMERICA and were able to gain great success from being American and all the benefits this brings. If you want to measure this benefit or see how great it is, move to Namibia and try setting up a business there, see how successful it is...

    Again I repeat I don't believe in pure hand-outs and no-one should get the benefits of your hard work doing nothing.

    But your hard work was only part of the equation. For example, the fact that you are able to sit on the internet and type words into this forum is due to the free American education you were given. Some people didn't get this free education and because they didn't they don't make as much money as you do (don't get as big a piece of the wealth created by American society that you do).

    Should they pay more in taxes even though they didn't benefit from society, or should you, who did benefit very nicely from society, pay more? This is why I favor a progressive taxation system because it is the best way of representing this. Is progressive taxation perfect? No! Almost all taxation systems are not - however, it is imperfect at both ends of the system and what people on the right miss (and conveniently ignore) are the billions and trillions that are lost at the top end, preferring to focus on those at the bottom end whose cost to the system is a tiny fraction of the other end...

  41. [41] 
    michty6 wrote:

    One more thing. Michale, if you were President what would you make tax rates? :)

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    michty,

    Dodd-Frank went as far as it could go, given the political landscape, and much of it is yet to implemented as the Financial Stability Oversight Council works to write the rules that will make this fin reg legislation quite effective.

    As for Glass-Steagall and what Britain is doing ... I wouldn't hold up what Britain is doing as any great example when it comes to fixing the mess that the global financial crisis has wrought, not by a long shot, number one ... and, number two, the "too-big-to-fail" problem has now been transformed, thanks to Dodd-Frank and the efforts of US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, into the "couldn't-possibly-be-too-big-to-fail" trap specifically designed for the largest financial institutions. Barney Frank has a great term for this process to put the largest financial institutions out of their misery - and ours - should they ever come close to threatening the stability of the financial system as a whole ... he calls it "death panels" and he's bang on!

    Dodd-Frank essentially makes it illegal for taxpayers to be on the line for rescuing a financial institution from its own wreckless behavior, regardless of how big it is or how its failure may affect the system as a whole.

    Of course, the other part of this has to do with rules within which financial institutions must do business, rules which become a great deal stronger for the very largest institutions.

    So, the absence of Glass-Steagall was NOT a causative factor per se in what brought the financial system to its knees. Size doesn't really matter. What matters is how effective you can make the rules by which all financial institutions must live, with the largest ones living under the most onerous rules that are globally integrated.

    Finally, I would just say that it is far too early to judge the effectiveness of Dodd-Frank and far too easy to criticize President Obama and Secretary Geithner when we don't take into account the bigger picture.

    Of course, all bets are off if the Americans are foolish enough - and I don't believe that enough of them actually are - to elect Romney and put the Republican cult of economic failure and foreign policy disaster at the helm.

  43. [43] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Those who succeed have taken a lot of their success from many things in society and thus they should pay a fair share back to represent this.

    IOW, "You didn't build that." Newsflash: My hard work does not equal some slacker's lucky day. If they want a nice lifestyle, they can work their butts off for it, just like I did.

  44. [44] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris1962,

    I see you are still having problems understanding complex subject matter, or so, perhaps, you would like us to believe.

    On the other hand, one would have to be quite ill-informed to keep repeating the same nonsense over and over again and such behavior makes it difficult to imagine that you don't actually believe what you type.

  45. [45] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Not interested in your personal insults, Liz.

  46. [46] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Nope. Complete nonsense - I presented facts showing the failure of Trickle Down economics.

    In whose opinion, and based on whose standards? You just don't know the difference between opinions and facts, is all.

  47. [47] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    In whose opinion, and based on whose standards? You just don't know the difference between opinions and facts, is all.

    Now, THAT is the absolute height of irony!

  48. [48] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris1962,

    Do you realize that facts presented in the absence of their proper, reality-based context are essentially meaningless.

    It seems to be your mission here, and elsewhere, to simply toss facts up in the air in a decidedly haphazard manner and see where they land, apparently oblivious to the context and reality in which said facts exist. That is why intelligent discussions with you remain difficult, at best.

  49. [49] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Repeat: Not interested in your personal insults or attacks, Liz.

  50. [50] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris1962

    As for Reagan's policies, they paved the way for the roaring 90's. So I'm not real interested in your myopic assessment. Nor am I interested in your apples-and-oranges comparisons to yesteryear's economies. This is the here and now, not three decades ago, or two decades ago, or one decade ago.

    I'm afraid this indicates a remarkable lack of any sense of history and a penchant for avoiding fact-based, contextual arguments.

  51. [51] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    In whose opinion?

  52. [52] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Oh, didn't I make that clear? In MY opinion. :)

  53. [53] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    I don't know how to put this kindly, Liz, but I'm not planning on losing a whole lot of sleep over that. So whatever.

  54. [54] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Liz
    "I wouldn't hold up what Britain is doing as any great example when it comes to fixing the mess that the global financial crisis has wrought, not by a long shot"

    Haha good point. They're trying. Remember we have a Conservative Government now, the fact they are even considering Glass-Steagall level legislation is a big step for them. But then our Conservatives aren't crazy right-wing like in America...

    I don't think Dodd-Frank was awful and it addressed some concerns but (and this might get geeky because I work in finance) the derivatives markets and speculative trading markets are still ridiculously out of control in places. It is these that had a massive hand in causing the crash by inflating house prices - in particular trading in CDOs of sub prime mortgage pools. These sorts of markets have been a ticking time bomb. Let me put it this way: Enron practically invented half the derivative and security trading markets that exist. After they busted, these markets were continued to allow to exist! And regulation on them is still poor - look at what happened to JP Morgan this year as an example. And don't get me started on mark-to-market accounting... There is so much deep into the financial markets that Dodd-Frank didn't touch, it just broke the surface (imo obviously).

    "Finally, I would just say that it is far too early to judge the effectiveness of Dodd-Frank and far too easy to criticize President Obama and Secretary Geithner when we don't take into account the bigger picture.
    Of course, all bets are off if the Americans are foolish enough - and I don't believe that enough of them actually are - to elect Romney and put the Republican cult of economic failure and foreign policy disaster at the helm."

    I agree that it is early, but already signs are not good. My criticism is obviously my opinion, the facts will come forth in the years to come. And if Romney is elected you are quite correct - all bets are off and I'm getting out of the American investment market quicker than it took me to write this post ;)

    Chris
    "Newsflash: My hard work does not equal some slacker's lucky day. If they want a nice lifestyle, they can work their butts off for it, just like I did."

    Newsflash: I don't work my ass off so some rich guy can get millions in tax cuts and massive Government handouts, while shifting his money off to the Cayman Islands to avoid paying any taxes, leaving the burden of maintaining schools and everything important in society passed on to me. As I've said several times now, the problem with you on the far right is you look at the flaws in the system at the bottom, when the flaws in the system at the top are many, many, many million times greater.

    Liz
    "On the other hand, one would have to be quite ill-informed to keep repeating the same nonsense over and over again and such behavior makes it difficult to imagine that you don't actually believe what you type.
    I'm afraid this indicates a remarkable lack of any sense of history and a penchant for avoiding fact-based, contextual arguments."

    It is a far right thing - they don't have facts or anything to prove their point you have to resort to rhetoric. Their statements are just them repeating consistently used rhetoric they heard from people on the far right, buying into the statements because they 'sound good' and 'seem like they might be true' without examining the detail or facts at all. Michale's statement about Obama going crazy on a spending spree is a classic example - repeat it enough times and people will believe it, even when the facts easily prove it false...

    Not all right-wingers are like this, but I find it is especially common in America where the rhetoric of 'Government is bad' and such forth is repeated over and over again in the far right talk shows. A lot of people (especially in America) don't see that you can believe in strong Government/social welfare and still be Conservative. The Republican party has moved so far right now they are ignoring these people.

  55. [55] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    michty,

    When all is said and done and all the rules have been written, Dodd-Frank will do quite a lot to regulate the derivitives markets and that, in and of itself, will be a lasting legacy for Obama and Geithner when it comes to what has been accomplished to make the US financial system more stable and resilient and able to withstand future crises.

    It is amazing to me that the Dodd-Frank Act gets so little attention as it is was a truly historic piece of legislation. Of course, there remain vested interests and concentrated forces who are fighting tooth and nail to weaken this nascent regulatory regime but I predict they will largely fail in their collective effort.

  56. [56] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    michty,

    There is an old saying that I think certainly applies here ... let's not allow the perfect become the enemy of the good.

    We need to look at the Dodd-Frank Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the same light. These historic pieces of legislation are not meant as the be all and end all of healthcare and financial regulatory reform, but they are both very good starts.

  57. [57] 
    michty6 wrote:

    "We need to look at the Dodd-Frank Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the same light. These historic pieces of legislation are not meant as the be all and end all of healthcare and financial regulatory reform, but they are both very good starts."

    Really good point Liz. I keep repeating this to people when they try to criticise ACA that there is no way ACA will be perfect - no Western democracy that supplied Universal healthcare to it's citizens got it right first time - just ask the Brits or Canadians as we are still tweaking our systems. It will have to be adapted as we move forward. I guess you could say the same thing about DF and I'd agree with that for sure.

    The funny thing is Romney wants to appeal both. You and I (and most Americans) think both are a START down the long road to good regulation and healthcare in America. He wants to even take this away - it beggars belief. I honestly can't believe he is even in with a chance of being elected - but then his campaign strategy seems to be 'don't say anything about our policies - we don't want people to find out how bad they are!'

  58. [58] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Congratulations Liz, you changed my mind on Dodd-Frank. Perhaps I have been too critical of it, in the same way I have pointed this out to others critical of ACA...

  59. [59] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Newsflash: I don't work my ass off so some rich guy can get millions in tax cuts

    I don't subscribe to the Left's class warfare tactics; nor do I share their fear and hatred of American business owners. So you're much better off spewing that stuff to someone else.

    It is a far right thing - they don't have facts or anything to prove their point you have to resort to rhetoric.

    I think the Left's basic problem is that they don't know the difference between their own personal perceptions/assessments and fact and have a bad habit of stating their opinion as fact. For instance, you've said that trickle-down doesn't work when, in fact, it's never been proven one way or the other, because it's always been accompanied by increased government spending, rendering it impossible to know which was responsible for the ensuing success. So all your "facts" consist of are opinions, merely stated as unequivocal fact — and you don't even realize you're doing it. Yet, at the end of the day, you've convinced yourself that the facts are on your side.

  60. [60] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    just ask the Brits or Canadians as we are still tweaking our systems

    What have Brits been doing about their mess of a system? http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/25/world/europe/25britain.html?_r=1 I haven't seen much in the press lately.

  61. [61] 
    michty6 wrote:

    "I don't subscribe to the Left's class warfare tactics; nor do I share their fear and hatred of American business owners. So you're much better off spewing that stuff to someone else."

    Ah the old class warfare comeback. I should have predicted that in advance. I can always rely on very far right people to mention 'job creators' 'class warfare' 'trickle down' and such phrases in their rhetoric to support hand-outs for the wealthy.

    The FACTS are: Since 1980 there has been the biggest transfer of wealth to the top since the Great Depression. The American Dream is dying. Education, healthcare, crime all going the wrong way. When we point this out and ask that the system in place gives everyone an EQUAL chance and doesn't favor one person over the other, this is apparently 'warfare'. Classic far right rhetoric.

    And of course attacking the poor by claiming they are all 'slackers' isn't class warfare right? It's fine to attack the poor, but don't dare attack the wealthy as that's 'envy' or 'class warfare'... Sure.

    "For instance, you've said that trickle-down doesn't work when, in fact, it's never been proven one way or the other, because it's always been accompanied by increased government spending, rendering it impossible to know which was responsible for the ensuing success. So all your "facts" consist of are opinions, merely stated as unequivocal fact — and you don't even realize you're doing it. Yet, at the end of the day, you've convinced yourself that the facts are on your side."

    Well at least you actually acknowledged I presented facts. I can present many more if you like to further my argument that Trickle Down economics hasn't work? If you'll actually read them or consider them or present facts of your own - but I doubt this will happen so it's not worth my effort. Or I might take up the CW challenge and write an article on the failure of Trickle Down.

    The difference is I present SOME facts as to why I believe it hasn't worked. You can challenge these facts and claim there are other variables for sure, this is sensible debate. But most people in the far right Republican party (and throughout this thread you and Michale) prefer to just make up nonsense, based on complete rhetoric and present this as 'fact'.

    "What have Brits been doing about their mess of a system? http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/25/world/europe/25britain.html?_r=1 I haven't seen much in the press lately."

    The NHS is constantly being reformed by every Government. It is almost always the number one area during any election. This is because in health rankings the UK is 17th (USA = 37th) and we want to do better. Also we spend $3,487 per capita on healthcare (US = $7,960 - yup more than double) and we STILL think we can do better.

  62. [62] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Ah the old class warfare comeback. I should have predicted that in advance.

    Oh, you can count on it every time you conduct class warfare.

    The FACTS are: Since 1980 there has been the biggest transfer of wealth to the top since the Great Depression.

    Whatever "transfer of wealth" is supposed to mean. Wealth grows more wealth. Big whoop. I think your problem is the same as is shared by most on the Left: you're simply envious of successful people and feel others should share in it. Except others didn't earn it.

    Well at least you actually acknowledged I presented facts.

    It doesn't matter, if you don't how to properly interpret them, or even distinguish between your own personal opinion and so-called facts. And "facts" can also be easily manipulated and spun, which I see you engage in on a routine basis (mostly regurgiating Leftie spin, likely picked up from bloggers who are stating their opinions in the form of fact). At any rate, none of your yammering about trickle-down proves or disproves anything, for the reason I've already stated: trickle-down has never functioned independent of increased government spending. So no one can unequivocally rate or state its success or failure.

  63. [63] 
    michty6 wrote:

    "Oh, you can count on it every time you conduct class warfare."

    I'll bear this in mind when you're insulting poor people by calling them 'slackers'. But you're pretty good at putting forward all the far right rhetoric without understanding it in the slightest, I'll give you that.

    "Whatever "transfer of wealth" is supposed to mean. Wealth grows more wealth. Big whoop. I think your problem is the same as is shared by most on the Left: you're simply envious of successful people and feel others should share in it. Except others didn't earn it."

    Transfer of wealth = giving hand-outs to those at the top, giving them all the advantages and allowing them to gain the wealth generated by society from this inequality of opportunity. The ultimate outcome of transfer wealth is literally moving money out of America to the Cayman Islands to avoid paying your dues to society.

    People at the top didn't earn all their money either - you do know that the central policy of 'trickle down' is to give people at the top tax cuts and advantages that others don't get? It's hardly 'earning' when your countries entire economic policies favour you above everyone else. I'd call that the biggest hand-out there is.

    The inevitable result of giving hand-outs and advantages to those at the top? They have more money while everyone else suffers. You or Mr Romney will never understand this because you live in a complete bubble unaware of how 90% of society lives. In your world someone is poor because they are a 'slacker' and that's the only reason - you have no idea of the real problems and issues of poor people in the world today.

    "It doesn't matter, if you don't how to properly interpret them, or even distinguish between your own personal opinion and so-called facts. And "facts" can also be easily manipulated and spun, which I see you engage in on a routine basis (mostly regurgiating Leftie spin, likely picked up from bloggers who are stating their opinions in the form of fact). At any rate, none of your yammering about trickle-down proves or disproves anything, for the reason I've already stated: trickle-down has never functioned independent of increased government spending. So no one can unequivocally rate or state its success or failure."

    Of course facts matter. The problem is people on the far right don't like facts or statistics - because they prove what they believe in doesn't work.

    So the far right prefer complete unsubstantiated rhetoric, it is an art they have mastered (particularly well in America - in other democratic western countries the far right are extremist outside parties). You COULD quite easily read about trickle down and supply-side economics compared to demand driven economics. But you won't like 99% of the conclusions if you do so. So you'd rather ignore all the scientific studies (ala Global Warming) or, in the case of inequality, socio-economical facts that prove your economic theories wrong. The usual response is either:
    (1) Pure rhetoric ('class warfare' type comments).
    (2) Picking minor or ambiguous faults in the facts or data presented that don't make any different to the outcome.
    (3) Claiming 'liberal media bias' when (1) and (2) fail.

    So far you've gone through step (1) and (2) and are just approaching step (3) (I haven't presented enough facts for you to get to this stage yet).

    It's the same on almost every subject: people on the left, centre and right of centre (sensible Conservative) with facts on their side versus people on the far right with their fingers in their ears singing 'lalalalallala liberal media bias class warfare lalalalala'.

  64. [64] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    I'll bear this in mind when you're insulting poor people by calling them 'slackers'.

    Miss the point of the video much? They're not poor. Get it? I guess not.

    Transfer of wealth = giving hand-outs to those at the top

    Err, how does one receive a "handout" of their own money, which they've earned?

    inequality of opportunity

    That's your opinion, not a fact (as usual). People in this country are not constitutionally entitled to any and all amorphous "opportunities." They're all given a public school education, and if they want success, they have to pursue it. And they're neither constitutionally entitled nor guaranteed to achieve success, either. And they sure as hell aren't entitled to a cut of other people's success.

  65. [65] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    The problem is people on the far right don't like facts or statistics

    No, they're just not interested in sitting through screeds comsisting of opinions stated as facts and/or "statistics" that are laughably spun and distorted in an effort to support the Leftie view, is all. Occassionally, you'll luck out and find a Michale who'll argue it out. I'm simply not interested. Like I said, if that were the level of debate I felt like engaging in, I'd go over to the HuffPo, where the Left spins themselves into the ground on a daily basis.

  66. [66] 
    michty6 wrote:

    "Miss the point of the video much? They're not poor. Get it? I guess not."

    Lol a video. Solid factual, statistical analysis - definitely not rhetoric. Step (1) completed.

    You do know that the video you posted her trying to balance out the fact she made this video: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/03/12/pelosis_daughter_interviews_southerners_for_segment_on_mahers_show.html

    But I don't claim this video to be evidence of anything. I look at the facts myself.

    "Err, how does one receive a "handout" of their own money, which they've earned?"

    Subsidies + tax cuts + Corporate welfare + Government incentives + ability to pay 0% tax by moving money out the country + an entire economic strategy suited to just your interests + bailouts when you fail = The biggest hand-out in the history of the American economy.

    "That's your opinion, not a fact (as usual).

    Nope. Every single fact and statistic shows that America has become more unequal since 1980: education, health, wealth. Every single statistic.

    People in this country are not constitutionally entitled to any and all amorphous "opportunities."

    From talking to Americans most would disagree with you. They are proud that America is (was) the land of opportunity. They are proud of the idea of the American Dream. Sadly both these have been on the decline since 1980...

    They're all given a public school education, and if they want success, they have to pursue it.

    No, not all people have access to education. And not all education is the same.

    And they sure as hell aren't entitled to a cut of other people's success.

    Totally agree - people at the top sure as hell shouldn't get hand-outs that everyone else in the country must pay for, no matter how many 'job creator' tags you attempt to apply to them.

    Fact: Estimates show that tax evasion alone has cost the US $4 trillion since 2000. When you add in tax avoidance, basically the entire US debt would be wiped out.

    But no, keep focussing on the poor 'slackers' - they should be your target for abuse. I guess they are an easy target as they don't have super-pacs to fight back.

  67. [67] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Totally agree - people at the top sure as hell shouldn't get hand-outs that everyone else in the country must pay for

    Cut programs. Then you don't have to pay for them.

    From talking to Americans most would disagree with you. They are proud that America is (was) the land of opportunity.

    Still is, if they wish to pursue success. I requires hard work and sacrifices, which Generation Gimme-Gimme-Gimme isn't particularly thrilled about, often opting for a career of whining and demanding other people's money, instead.

  68. [68] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Lol a video. Solid factual, statistical analysis - definitely not rhetoric. Step (1) completed.

    IOW, you can't refute anything, so it's time to smear the videographer (Nancy Pelosi's daughter, no less) and/or anything said by the people featured in the video, and then to cap it all off by projecting your own tactics onto me. This is the level of nonsense I'm not interested in, michty. Bore somebody else with that routine.

  69. [69] 
    michty6 wrote:

    "Cut programs. Then you don't have to pay for them."

    Sure. Where do you want to start - teachers, firefighters, police, road-builders? Because all Government is apparently bad and you have no interest in people paying their fair share of any of these (or any of the other wealth generating activities of Government). Or you're totally fine that 90% of society pays for all these, except the rich and wealthy who deserve economic hand-outs and totally got to where they are without teachers, police or firemen...

    "Still is, if they wish to pursue success. I requires hard work and sacrifices, which Generation Gimme-Gimme-Gimme isn't particularly thrilled about, often opting for a career of whining and demanding other people's money, instead."

    It's hard to pursue success when you're shackled in a basement. But no, far right people think that the playing field is level, everyone who is poor is a 'slacker' who needs to work harder and stop whining and demanding things. Yup, you have a solid grasp of how reality works for poor people and definitely don't live in a complete far right bubble. Those slackers working in McDonalds for minimum wage don't work hard enough - that's their problem!

    IOW, you can't refute anything, so it's time to smear the videographer (Nancy Pelosi's daughter, no less) and/or anything said by the people featured in the video, and then to cap it all off by projecting your own tactics onto me. This is the level of nonsense I'm not interested in, michty. Bore somebody else with that routine."

    What on earth are you talking about? I said the video is pure rhetoric (and was to balance her other video which showed the other side - which of course you conveniently ignore). In your mind a 2 minute video of interviews with random people is complete evidence that everyone in America is a slacker lol. Never mind the other 2 minute video she made showing how stupid and ironic the view of the far right is.

    And how is any of this 'smearing' the video creator? I didn't say a bad word about her, I just said you presenting this as evidence of the socio-economic situation of America is about as useful as me presenting Batman Begins as evidence of the socio-economic situation of America. I have nothing against Christopher Nolan, what I do have are qualms about your ability to produce evidence.

    To be honest I'm happy to end this debate. I have no interest in debating far right extremists who have been brainwashed into thinking 'Government is bad and does nothing good, poor people are just a bunch of slackers who take my money'. You can take that sort of message over to RushLimbaugh.com, they'll love it there.

    I love to debate Conservatives - but sensible ones living in the 21st century... Once Republicans lose the next election they might become more sensible again.

  70. [70] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    In your mind a 2 minute video of interviews with random people is complete evidence that everyone in America is a slacker lol.

    Gee, another misrepresentation of my statement and intent. Big surprise. Keep those tactics coming, michty, since they appear to be all you've got in your arsenal.

  71. [71] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Sure. Where do you want to start - teachers, firefighters, police

    Putting aside that they're not programs, they're also not federal employees.

  72. [72] 
    michty6 wrote:

    "Gee, another misrepresentation of my statement and intent. Big surprise. Keep those tactics coming, michty, since they appear to be all you've got in your arsenal."

    As CW pointed out in the other thread, you can either present facts, logic or rational arguments to argue your point. But this crap about 'tactics' is getting boring and leading the discussion nowhere.

    "Putting aside that they're not programs, they're also not federal employees."

    The point is you are trying to characterise everything Government does is bad and thus on this basis argue that it is fine for the wealthy in society not to pay a fair share, because (in your mind) all this money goes towards is 'slackers'.

    Well here's a newsflash for you: Government is not bad. It does many, many, many things that are great for society - including teachers, firefighters, policemen, road-builders, innovation, regulation, preventing the collapse of the banking system etc etc. If you don't believe in any of these things then go to another country that doesn't have any Government and see how poor their infrastructure is and how hard that makes it for people to get by.

    The problem is that you are not arguing sensible points about Government like a rational Conservative, you are arguing silly far right nonsense like 'Government is bad' and 'all our tax money does is pay for slackers'. It's nonsense and you probably know it (or have been brainwashed by far right news/talk shows and don't realise it).

  73. [73] 
    michty6 wrote:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/09/mitt-romney-franciscan-friars-poor_n_1760580.html

    "At a time when millions are struggling financially, it is degrading to talk about the 'dependency' of people hurting in this economy, as Gov. Romney did recently.

    Political leaders would not talk about the poor in demeaning ways or cut job training programs if they spent more time with the people they are affecting with their policies"

  74. [74] 
    ninjaf wrote:

    Chris1962,
    #59
    ...in fact, it's never been proven one way or the other, because it's always been accompanied by increased government spending, rendering it impossible to know which was responsible for the ensuing success.

    #62
    trickle-down has never functioned independent of increased government spending. So no one can unequivocally rate or state its success or failure.

    I think you have disproved your own assertion — twice. You say that trickle down has never failed but acknowledge that any time it has been attempted it has to be countered with Keynesian measures. What will it take for you to resolve your cognitive dissonance?

    michty,
    Thank you.

  75. [75] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    I think you have disproved your own assertion — twice.

    I think you're stating your opinion as fact — again.

    You say that trickle down has never failed

    Is that what I said? I recall stating that it's never been proven one way or the other. And you can find that very basic fact of reality just about anywhere you look. Like so: http://useconomy.about.com/od/Politics/p/Trickle-Down-Economics-Does-It-Work.htm

    "Trickle-Down Economics and Reaganomics:
    During the Reagan Administration it seemed that trickle-down economics worked. Reagan cut taxes significantly -- the top tax rate fell from 70% (for those earning $108,000+) to 28% (for anyone with an income of $18,500 or more). The corporate tax rate was also cut, from 48% to 34%. Reaganomics was successful in ending the 1980 recession. This was amazing, since the recession was marked by both double-digit unemployment and inflation, a dreadful situation known as stagflation.

    Did Trickle-Down Economics Work?:

    However, it's difficult to say whether trickle-down economics was the only reason for the prosperity. That's because, while Reagan cut taxes, he also increased government spending -- by 2.5% a year. Reagan nearly tripled the Federal debt, which went from $997 billion in 1981 to $2.85 trillion in 1989. This spending went primarily to defense, in support of Reagan's successful efforts to end the Cold War and bring down the Soviet Union. Therefore, trickle-down economics was never really tested, since government spending is also a spur to economic growth. (Source: Library of Economics and Liberty, Reaganomics, William A. Niskanen)

    Did Tax Cuts End the 2001 Recession?:
    To end the 2001 recession, President George W. Bush cut income taxes with JGTRRA, which ended the recession by November of that year. However, unemployment rose to 6%, so Bush cut business taxes with (EGTRRA) in 2003.

    Apparently, the tax cuts worked. On the other hand, the Federal Reserve lowered the Fed funds rate from 6% to 1% during this same time period. Just like during the Reagan Administration, it's unclear whether tax cuts, or another stimulus, were what worked.

    Those are the facts, michty, and the REASON the subject is argued to this day. Whether you agree with one side or the other, the fact remains that it has been never been tested on its own. So do my a big favor and stop trying to reword my statements to suit your own positions.

  76. [76] 
    ninjaf wrote:

    Chris1962,
    Maybe you will trust Bruce Bartlett?
    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/the-clinton-tax-challenge-for-republicans/
    Be sure to read the mini-bio at the top of the article, in case you have not heard of him.
    But who am I kidding? He doesn't affirm your world view, so he is probably biased.

  77. [77] 
    ninjaf wrote:

    Also Chris1962,
    http://www.4thestate.net/liberal-media-bias/

    But, again, that is probably suspect, anyway, because it is not affirming your already known truthiness about a liberal media bias.

  78. [78] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Maybe you will trust Bruce Bartlett?

    What is your point? This isn't 1993. The tech boom built that rock-n-roll economy. We don't have a boom going on; quite the opposite. And nothing Bartlett says has anything to do with the fact that trickle-down's success or failure can't be measured, due its never having been tested on its own.

  79. [79] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    http://www.4thestate.net/liberal-media-bias/

    Who makes the determination whether a statement is "negative" or "positive"?

  80. [80] 
    4th Estate Project wrote:

    Machines using a training set with QC performed by humans following an agreed upon methodology per the project parameters.

    Would be happy to send you a sample of the data that you could review.

  81. [81] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    I read the methodology on the site. No personal offense intended, but it sounds like a project that amounts to junk science, at the end of the day. Is the QC performed by liberal humans, by any possible chance? Are the "set of samples" decided upon by liberals? Would pols' "quotes" include, for instance, a clip of a Republican that Rachel Maddow might show, only to go on to mock the pol from here to kingdom come, yet still be summarized/categorized as Republicans having received more mention by the press?

  82. [82] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Chris

    Again, you keep repeating this statement about trickle down economics not having 'failed' because it has never been tested alone. This isn't a viable argument for an economic policy.

    Somehow this, in your world, means that, rather than perhaps 'testing out' something different (that worked before under Clinton), we should continue to follow the same trickle down policy because it has never been 100% proven to have failed. This despite that fact that there is a viable alternative that, during the period it was last tried out, the period in question was very successful.

    Don't you see that basic logic dictates a change of policy under these circumstances, even when you're not 100% sure if it was trickle down that caused problems or 100% sure that reversing trickle down caused success?

    Basically what you're saying is: 'Well we can't be 100% sure the economic failure was due to trickle down, so let's keep doing it!' Which is pretty poor rational and logic for supporting an economic policy.

    Using your logic, since we could NEVER be certain that something was 100% related to a particular economic policy then we should NEVER change economic policies! Why bother when you don't know for 100% certainty that your economic policy is to blame for your countries failures!

    Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results - the definition of insanity.

  83. [83] 
    ninjaf wrote:

    Chris1962,
    I would say the methodology at 4the Estate must be pretty transparent. They are offering you an opportunity to review the raw data for yourself. You should take them up on the offer and then take CW up on his offer of a guest column to let us know why you think 4th Estate's methodology is biased or wrong.
    Worst case scenario, that puts you in the uncomfortable position of learning something new, challenging (and removing) your assertion that all media are left biased.
    Best case scenario, your blinders are removed and you can learn to be objective and see that what your daily news diet has consisted of lately (always?) is truly a biased version of the facts — cherry picked to elicit just the right amount of outrage to keep you feeling angry and put upon by your fellow citizens.

  84. [84] 
    ninjaf wrote:

    And Chris1962,
    Bruce Bartlett was "there" when trickle down economics was tried originally. That's my point. You won't even trust the opinion of one of the original cheerleaders of your ideology.

    Since we like to quote movies 'round here...

    Andy Dufresne: How can you be so obtuse?
    Warden Samuel Norton: What? What did you call me?
    Andy Dufresne: Obtuse. Is it deliberate?

    – The Shawshank Redemption

  85. [85] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    I would say the methodology at 4the Estate must be pretty transparent. They are offering you an opportunity to review the raw data for yourself.

    I'd just like to know if it's run by an all-liberal team, for starters. If so, the appearance that gives is enough to turn me off to the project, for obvious reasons. If, indeed, this is an all-liberal conducted and funded project, I would strongly suggest to "4th Estate" that they bring some hard-core Righties aboard if they wish to be seen as credible and unbiased. There's just way too many self-interested studies and projects out there, as it is. And I don't need to invest any more of my time poring through data and backgrounds, only to discover what I already suspect. If a group wants their material to be seen as serious and legitimate, they'd be wise to have independent bucks and a balanced staff backing and conducting their project. Just my personal opinion.

    You should take them up on the offer and then take CW up on his offer of a guest column to let us know why you think 4th Estate's methodology is biased or wrong.

    Read my response to Chris. And don't get me wrong: I think it's a great idea and a fun project to present to posters, to keep them busy while the host is wrapping up a writing project. But I write for a living, and doing more writing after a day of writing is just not my personal cup of tea. If it were, I'd have my own blog.

    Bruce Bartlett was "there" when trickle down economics was tried originally. That's my point.

    While Bartlett is totally entitled to his assessment and opinion, it doesn't change the fact that trickle-down was never tested on its own and, therefore, cannot be deemed a failure or a success. That's been my point from the get-go.

  86. [86] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Again, you keep repeating this statement about trickle down economics not having 'failed' because it has never been tested alone. This isn't a viable argument for an economic policy.

    You're the guy arguing about trickle-down as an economic policy, michty. I'm the one saying that it can't be deemed a success or failure, is all. If you'd like to hold the opinion that it's a failure, do so. Nobody's stopping you. I, OTOH, can't draw a definitive conclusion one way or the other, for reasons already stated.

    Somehow this, in your world, means that, rather than perhaps 'testing out' something different (that worked before under Clinton)

    I'm not personally inclined to look back to the days of Clinton to figure out what should be done today, since today's situation in no way resembles the rock-n-roll 90's. We're dealing with very different conditions and circumstances, here in 2012.

    Using your logic

    I don't know if you even realize you're doing it, michty, but you're laying out your own logic and telling me it's mine. It's not. It's yours.

  87. [87] 
    michty6 wrote:

    "Nobody's stopping you. I, OTOH, can't draw a definitive conclusion one way or the other, for reasons already stated."

    Read my post again. You are saying we can't decide if TD is a success or failure (100%). I agree with this (the 100% part, I'd personally assign a probability of >50% that TD has been a complete failure).

    But 'you can't prove 100% it didn't fail' is not an valid argument in FAVOUR of a policy; just because you can't positively prove something has failed doesn't mean you can't provide a negative reinforcement argument (which I have) to get rid of it.

    If Government made decisions only when 100% proof/probability was available you would never make any decisions. This is true of many things in business and life.

  88. [88] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    You are saying we can't decide if TD is a success or failure (100%)

    Where did the 100% come from, michty? Did I say that? Did I assign a percentage? No, but nevertheless you've got me saying that I can't decide if TD is a "100%" success or failure. So why is "100%" in your statement? Why, to lay the foundation for YOUR opinion/position, as usual: "I agree with this (the 100% part, I'd personally assign a probability of >50% that TD has been a complete failure). But 'you can't prove 100% it didn't fail' ..."

    I'm not sure if you're even consciously aware that you constantly misrespresent my statements — or just plain make stuff up — but I would suggest you quote me directly, in the future, instead of relying upon your personal recollections and convenient translations of what I've said — replete with a percentage, now, of how deeply I felt about it. Amazing.

    Done with this conversation.

  89. [89] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Lol debating you is like debating a 5 year old. Anyways:

    http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f1/fizzyland/ryan-money.jpg

  90. [90] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Lol debating you is like debating a 5 year old.

    Well, heck, just so long as you say so, mich. I, of course, could say the same about you. But I thought Chris had asked for peace on this board. So maybe hurling insults isn't such a good thing to do. Y'think?

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