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Libertarian to a Point and Faultlessly Democratic

It is about the rights of a free people to make their own choices while government supports the people

Republican or Democrat?  Neither. 

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  "Hang tight, we have a long way to go" Dylan Ratigan (see his home page)

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 Perspective on how we got to The Great Recession (aka: the New Depression)
of 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011

Players (Most of the players are BIG money, or supported by it):

  • The government by and for the wealthy (Democrats and Republicans)
  • The Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations
  • The Koch Brothers (pronounced coke), and other wealthy extreme right individuals and corporations - financers of ALEC, The Tea Party, American's for Prosperity, Wisconsin's Scott Walker and countless state and national politicians and political organizations
  • Grover Norquist - President of Americans for Tax Reform
  • American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). See article here about Wisconsin - ALEC recommended legislation is being adopted by almost every state that has achieved Republican majorities This is supported by the the Koch
  • The Tea Party (largely created and promoted by FOX news and funded by the Koch brothers)
  • Republican state legislatures

How we got here to the crash of 2011

  • In 1952 the rich paid a maximum tax rate of 92 % (World War 2 and the Korean War were being paid for)
  • In the early 1960's the middle class paid about 10% income taxes.  Medicare began on January 1, 1966.  The Kennedy Era cut the maximum tax rate for the rich to about 60% with the middle class paying the 10%.
  • The decline began when the politicians began giving tax breaks to big corporations and reducing their effective tax rates
  • In the 1970's the first oil price shock hit America
  • In the 1980s the Regan Administration the tax cuts for the rich and corporations accelerated and extreme right wing pressure on social programs began.
  • In the 1990's the religious right and the far right gained prominence with the impeachment of the President because he lied about sex
  • Wall Street regulation was reduced.  It was enacted at the end of the Clinton Administration.  The bill was passed in the congressional lame duck session and signed by Clinton just before Bush took office  (see below)
  • The 2000's Bush years when republicans controlled the Presidency, the House and the Senate
  • The 2007 - 2008 oil shock and price acceleration a wobbling economy and pushed it over the edge
  • The 2010's when the uncompromising Tea Party held the Congress hostage to their ideology
  • By 2010 the wealthy paid an effective tax rate of about 18%, less or the same as their secretaries.
  • By 2010 many major corporations paid no taxes or virtually no domestic taxes - extremely profitable corporations like GE, Google, Dow Chemicals, Exxon and the like.  The tax code allows corporations to report their hefty incomes off shore (in foreign countries with few or no taxes) there-by avoiding taxes in the USA
All Politicians, more significantly, conservatives are starving the Government of cash and the American People of employment and social services

Regan Administration:

  • Deregulation began.  Good things - airline fares got competitive
  • Hospitals that were not-for-profit became money making corporations (because of deregulation)
  • Some tax rates were again slashed.  More interestingly, there were some tax increases too.
  • Regan was know to compromise to get things done

Clinton Administration

  • North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was passed in the Clinton Administration and was followed by many other Free Trade acts (Even continuing in 2011).
  • Ross Perot warned us of the "giant sucking sound" of lost jobs.  These free trade acts were (and are) supported by both Democrats and Republicans.
  • Terrorist attacks on American infrastructure began
  • Taxes were increased on the wealthy to balance the budget.
  • The Clinton Administration left the country with a $236 billion dollar surplus at the beginning of the Bush Administration
  • Media deregulation begin.  Rich and powerful corporations were allow to buy up the newspapers, radio, TV.  The 5 major media corporations control almost all markets and areas.  Result - you hear few diverse opinions - most of these opinions are directed by the 5 corporations.  Small radios stations are programmed by these major corporations
  • At the end of the Clinton Administration, Walls Street deregulation passed eliminating the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.  Banks, brokerages and insurance companies were now allowed to enter each others' industries, and investment banking and commercial banking were no longer required to be separated.  THIS was supported by BOTH Democrats and Republicans and their rich lobbyists.  It was passed during the lame duck session (after the end of the election that was won by Bush but before the congress adjourned.) The elimination of the Glass-Steagall Act let to the housing industry balloon and subsequent bust in 2007 and 2008.
  • Clinton: To paraphrase "Everyone should own a home"
  • The deregulation allows banks to give loans backed by the US Government.  If a high risk loan fails the banks don't pay - the taxpayer does.  This change prompted Wall Street to be careless with our money.  Failed loans extract money from the Government (tax payers) transferring it to Wall Street
  • Large scale outsourcing of Tax Payer functions began.  (The military no longer feeds itself - the task is outsourced to corporations). Paid by taxpayers and owned by rich and well lobbied corporations.

The Bush Administration:

  • Achieved the presidency by dubious deeds of the Republican party in Florida and the Supreme Court decision (Al Gore actually won the popular country wide vote)
  • Opened the door to of Government management to the religious far right
  • 911 - Bush friend Saudi nationals get a free ride out of the country before being investigated
  • Wall Street further deregulated
  • Bush: "we want everybody in America to own their own home. That's what we want."
  • Wall Street begin encouraging, creating, selling, and buying-up mortgages without regard to their soundness knowing that the TAXPAYER would pay for failures.  This frenzy was done without regard for paper trails and regulations about it.
  • The treasury was emptied!
  • Gave huge tax cuts - everyone got them - the middle class gained a couple of hundreds of dollars a year, the rich gained HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS and even millions (none of these tax cuts were "paid for").  There was no change in spending to reduce costs in other programs and no sacrifices by anyone
  • Two wars were (are being) waged.  No sacrifice was asked to pay for these wars (in dollars or by an equal opportunity draft that would include the rich kids)
  • Capital gains taxes were greatly reduced.  If you own a home or own stocks you probably benefit but many middle class taxpayers don't.  It largely benefits the rich and wealthy.  These tax cuts were not 'paid for'
  • Medicare drug benefit created.  The program was not paid for by any other spending cuts or tax change (The program forbids the government from bargaining for discounts - a gift to the rich drug companies).  Supported by both demos and repubs and the big money that supports them.
  • Vice- President Dick Cheney: "Deficits don't matter"
  • The largely Bush appointed conservative Supreme Court rules that corporations have the same rights as a person allowing rich corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on influencing public policy (This ruling came during the Obama era)
  • Tax cuts resulted in 8 million or more LOST jobs
  • Congressional members began signing Grover Norquist's no tax pledge.  This pledge has become as important to congressional members than the constitution.
  • Outsourcing of Tax Payer supported functions accelerated.  The private Blackwater Group, and ungoverned and unregulated, has more security personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan than soldiers.  Paid by taxpayers and owned by rich and well lobbied corporations.

The Obama Administration

  • Continues the practice of being financially supported and advised by the rich corporations and individuals
  • The Obama Justice Department: Not a single financier or Wall Street firm has been jailed or prosecuted for broken regulations or laws
  • Compromises too many policies and laws because of a weak Democratic party and its rich supporters during first 2 years
  • Republicans gain control of House of Representatives during the 2010 election promising jobs, jobs, jobs
  • Senate, controlled by Democrats, has not considered or passed a budget in the entire administration
  • Obama tries, tries, and tries to get compromise but Republicans and some Democrats refuse any compromise
  • Tea Party hijacks Congress making adjusting the debt ceiling an issue that has NOTHING to do with the future (this money had already been spent - see the Bush administration).  This faction refuses to get anything done by compromise
  • The ending of Corporate welfare for corporations (Big oil and others) was defeated by congress. Grover Norquist's pledge says this is a tax increase
  • Every single Republican in Congress, both in the House and Senate, and some Democrats, vote to end Medicare as we know it
  • Republicans introduce or support NO JOBS bills in first 10 months of their House control
  • Republicans in both the Senate and the House state that their only goal is to make Obama a one term president - They make no attempt to govern by compromise or help the country and the American population.
  • Congress talks about jobs but votes over and over again to cut jobs by spending cuts
  • Republicans talk tax cuts and tax cuts and jobs, jobs jobs but only allows votes on social issues: A woman's health and legal right to choose, planned parent hood, National Public Radio, marriage equality, and so on
  • The Federal Reserve continues to pay banks interest for their overnight deposits sent to the reserve.  Eliminating this interest would encourage banks to loan the trillions of dollars they control to interest paying businesses
  • Oil prices are increased by Wall Street speculators.  The administration could end this speculation by enforcing simple investment rule changes
  • Outsourcing of Tax Payer supported functions continue.

State Governments beginning in 2010

  • States begin adopting laws recommended by ALEC as follows:
  • Limiting voter rolls by onerous ID requirements and voting options (eliminating or greatly reduced early, Sunday or absentee voting . These changes greatly affect most Democratic leaning groups - the young, students, the poor, racial minorities, (legal) new immigrant citizens, the sick and elderly
  • Slashing education
  • Eliminating unions
  • Giving tax breaks to businesses, corporations and the rich
  • Increasing taxes on everyone else.
  • Cutting other social programs such as Medicaid

The 2010 elections gave control of the United States House of Representatives and many state governments to the Republicans and the Tea Party - America as we know it is now under siege by the extreme conservative right wing


The Facts about Social Security and Medicare "entitlements"

Social Security is set up as a trust fund - what you pay into it (with your employers contribution) is to be set aside for future withdrawals.  Thus, the social security trust fund is projected to be solvent until 2026. 

Medicare is also set up to run as a fund - it is projected to be solvent until 2016.

The truth is there is no trust, no fund and no money.  The politicians have raided the treasury, they have spent it all

But also the truth is that neither social program needs to go broke.  People continue to pay into these funds which continually extends them.  Further solvency dates can be extended with modest adjustments to both programs (increase retirement ages, eligibility, and means testing (if you are rich you don't need these "entitlements")

The news media and politicians say that there must be modifications to these and other "entitlements" If the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share the problems would be minimized.

The Future

  • Be very afraid if one party (democrats or republicans) gains control of the Presidency, the House and the Senate (see the Bush administration).
  • Generally, republicans are rigid, single minded and unified. Democrats are more compromising and less single minded - and less unified. In this environment, I hold my nose and support the latter.  We need compromise to get things done!

Money has corrupted the entire political process, GET THE MONEY OUT

This link from an article in 1879 may give you ideas about the "National Liberal League" as it existed in the late 19th Century


Quote from Elizabeth Warren - Democratic candidate for US Senator from Massachusetts

"There here is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there - good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory.

Now look. You built a factory and turned into something terrific or great idea - God bless! Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."  ...Elizabeth Warren