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Archive for November, 2010

The Fallacy of Taking Your Money

Liberals are said to favor redistribution of your property, taking your money from you, the person who did all the work, and giving your money to the lazy bum who sat on his arse while you worked the long hours and took all the risk.  Taxes are characterized as taking from you that which, by rights, belongs to you.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth of the matter is the government and the public are your partners and co-investors in everything you do.  They make it possible.  As rightful business partners in all your money-making activity, the public is entitled to be repaid for what they put in, and also to a share of the profits.

Whether you are a hard-working employee, a small business owner, or a large corporation, your entire operation is based on a large public subsidy, without which your success would be impossible, and you owe back a share of what you make to your business partner.

Your subsidy includes the roads and transit systems to and from your door, the education you and your employees received, the police and courts that keep others out and enforce your contracts, the regulations that keep others from fouling the air you breathe and the water you drink, and much much more.

You owe society for that investment.  Your debt includes not only paying the full cost of those benefits, but you also owe a share of the profits.  Your community invested to create the climate ripe for your hard work to flourish, and your social obligation is to return a share of the proceeds so that you get rich, and the society that invested in you gets richer, too.

Pay up and stop complaining.

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Washington will be consumed with thrashing out the politics and policy surrounding the Bush tax cuts.  Extend for some, or extend for all?

Here’s the Policy Wonk Plan:

1. Extend for all under $250k, as proposed by Obama, plus

2. Extend and Expand tax break for all, but only for creating new jobs, in the form of:

  • A tax holiday for all payroll related taxation for new employees (full or part-time) retained for at least one year, and
  • A tax credit for all increases in venture capital investments over the prior three years.

The Repugnican leadership want you to believe that a tax break for the rich will create new jobs.  If so, let them show us the money and show us the jobs.

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Give ’em Green Cards

Who is going to power the growth of the US economy in the decades ahead? Who will create the wealth to pay for an aging population? Answer: immigrants.

Our biggest immigration problem is not keeping out illegals. Our biggest immigration problem is getting highly educated Indians and Chinese to stay in America after they get their advanced degrees at American universities.

Used to be they wanted to stay; now many prefer to go home. And we do everything we can to send them back. That’s bad policy.

We need these highly trained and highly motivated individuals to create the companies and technologies of the future. How do we do it?

Give ’em Green Cards. Earn a degree and get a Green Card.

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Where’s the Balance?

Defenders of Murdoch’s right-wing propaganda machine often cite MSNBC as the counterweight, as a way of legitimizing Faux News’ political theater posing as a news organization.

Keith Olbermann’s suspension gives the lie to this defense.  While the rest of the news industry continues to attempt, however falteringly, to operate according to classical Columbia School of Journalism rules, Faux News continues undaunted.

No one is surprised that Faux’s Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin donate money to candidates interviewed on air, stump for candidates, and raise money for candidates.  Hannity’s cash donations include $4,800 to John Gomez, $5,000 to Michelepac.  Sarapac’s donations include $10,000 to Joe Miller, $5,000 to Lisa Mirkowsi, $5,000 to John McCain, $3,500 to Tim Green, $2,500 to Carly Fiorina, $1,000 to Tom Rooney.  Mike Huckabee’s donations include $2,400 to Doug Mayato, $2,400 to Anne Rankin, $2,400 to Daniel Webster, $2,300 to Curtis Coleman.  Neil Cavuto’s donations include $1,000 to George W. Bush.  If you are buying products advertised on Faux News, YOU made these donations.

Even if one doesn’t suspect, as many do, that NBC’s move is designed to curry favor with the resurgent Repugnant Party, it is now 100% clear that Murdoch is effectively without a challenger.

We are left with a media landscape composed of two elements, classicial unbiased journalism, which is dying a slow painful death, and right-wing propaganda profiting left and right, from advertising revenue, and, more importantly, from raping what remains of American national wealth for the benefit of a few.

NBC has no dog in this fight.  Never did.  NBC is not ideologically motivaed.  Murdoch marches on, with no one left to say boo.

Rachel Maddow Speaks Out (video)

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The Best Hope for Cohabitation

With both parties holding on to a corner of power in Washington, some predict gridlock.  I prefer to see the opportunities, if there are politicians who will take it.

Cohabitation holds out the possibility of centrist policies finding solid majorities in both houses.

Some define centrist pragmatically – can we fracture off enough members of the other party to get them to join us?  Some define centrist ideologically – we are the true center, and they are the extreme – if they will only join us, that will be centrist.  Quite obviously, neither of those views has any legitimate claim on the center.

Here’s my advice to members new and old who want to survive the next election: ask yourselves, how can we define legislation that addresses the most pressing problems of the nation in a way that attracts strong support from about an equal number of members of both parties, support roughly down the middle?

Such efforts can strengthen the middle against the extremes, and give members successes to take home to voters.  Those members with the potential to be seen in the middle had best take advantage of this opportunity, and make the needed compromises.  Why?  Failure to do so will invite attack from with wing-nuts of both parties, and you won’t have a defense.  A record of obstruction could play well to angry mobs, but if you’re not a credible wing-nut candidate (left or right), or don’t want to risk your political future that the looneys will control the next election, you better have a strong story to tell.

What better story than you got something done while others took cheap shots from the sidelines?  Reach across the aisle and get something done.

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