Presidential election 2008: candidates, campaigns, issues


  1. Guy Lawrence said:

    Paul F wrote:

    “Because of greed. Because of short-sighted greed that hides behind the name of “conservatism,” but in the end, is not conservative in the usual sense of defending traditional values.”

    I find it absolutely inconceivable that you actually believe that it’s OK to take more money from those that put the time in to get the college degrees, build careers, to earn the higher salary. Many of these people, myself included, borrowed money to get through college. I did not come to you with my hand out when I needed money to get through college. I did not default on my student loans and leave the tax payers to pick up the tab of my delinquency. Why on earth would you feel that it was OK to come ask me for a piece of the rewards (my salary) that I am reaping from my investment of blood, sweat, tears, & interest; with the intent of giving it to others that are cruising along on the county dole, not paying their fair share? How is that fair or democratic? It’s not, it’s Marxist – and I spent the first decade of my adult life fighting that type of tyranny, and I will not raise my children under that yoke. If you feel that these opinions are an extension of my greed, so be it.

    From Wikipedia – ‘The American Way’:
    “. . . American popular culture broadly embraced the idea that anyone, regardless of the circumstances of his or her birth, could significantly increase his or her standard of living through determination, hard work, and natural ability. ”

    Under Obama and his Marxist allies, everyone, regardless of ability will be the same (not equal), some will work hard and have their money taken from them and given to others whom will not feel the need to work, because they can collect the aforementioned monies. This is not only un-American, it’s just plain wrong.

    I can only hope that in a weeks time, we have not joined China & North Korea as one of the bastions of Communism.

    October 30, 2008
  2. Jane Moline said:

    Drew: You said

    “The question of taxation boils down to a simple moral principle”

    Unfortunately, it boils down to a complex economic principal. How do you pay for things that are beneficial to society but no one person is willing to pay for on their own? Like roads.

    And Guy, why do you think that someone who earns their living by investing their inheritance should pay a lesser proportion of their taxes than the guy with a factory job who is literally working for his wages?

    Regardless, this thread is about the Presidential candidates-if the entire United States wants to throw out the tax code and start over with a flat tax, you better start lobbying our next president. Good luck.

    Perhaps we should have a different thread that just discusses the philosophy of taxation so all you econ majors can get your opinions aired.

    October 30, 2008
  3. Paul Zorn said:


    In #850 you assert, but don’t really defend (as far as I can see) the claim that there’s a big difference between income taxes and other forms of taxation. Seems to me that the basic principle you cite — excessive taxes discourage gainful work — applies substantially to all forms of taxation. I don’t have many big dogs in the fight over one form of taxation rather than another, but I’d like to understand what seems to be your special aversion to income as opposed to other taxes.

    In any case, the basic principle you mention seems obviously true in some extreme sense: If government takes *all* my money then of course I won’t bother to work. And, obviously, everyone would rather pay zero tax than pay any tax. And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

    But the government clearly needs to raise *some* money, and so the no-tax option just isn’t available. The live question is how to raise the money government needs (we can disagree on the amount, of course, and on what the money should be used for) at the least possible cost to incentives, fairness, justice, and other Good Things.

    I’m no economist, but it seems to me the least disruptive way to raise necessary money is to tax a broader range of things at a lower rate rather than to tax a few things at a higher rate. So why not income among them?

    October 30, 2008
  4. Nick Waterman said:

    peeeeeeter, oh peeeeeeeter, won’t you pleeeeeeeease try the tax calculator?

    I’m flummoxed by those saying they come out paying more with Obama’s plan; I didn’t just run my own numbers but all kinds of salaries. Maybe I shouldn’t have plugged in mortgage interest? Or do you guys all make 252,000?

    October 30, 2008
  5. john george said:

    Nick- Why are you flummoxed by those saying they would pay more under Obama’s plan? It was your link, and the way it calculates the answers, there is no way to massage the numbers between the two candidates. ????? And, the combined income for both my wife and I does not even reach 6 figures, let alone a quarter million!

    October 30, 2008
  6. john george said:

    Jane- Since the next administration is going to face how we actually work through this trillion dollar bail-out, I would really like to know where they plan to get their money. In all the rest of my life, they have always obtained it through taxation. I haven’t heard any candidate suggesting opening a fish & chips stand in London, or a hot dog stand in Frankfurt. Since the government does not have the capacity to increase wealth, its pretty important to me how much of mine they intend to take. All I have to go on is past history, and my interpretation leads me to trust the GOP rather than the Dems. The thing I am actually losing hope on from anyone is someone to decrease the size of the government.

    As far as a flat tax, a 15% tax across the board would cost a person with a taxable income of, say, $20,000 would pay $3,000. A person with a $200,000 income would pay $30,000. Both have the same percentage of their income, 85%, to live on. The gross dollars available are quite different. If all the other costs of living were equal, this would appear to be unfair. The truth of the matter is that these costs of living are not equal. The person with the higher income definitely has a greater choice of options because of his purchasing power. I don’t think this factor alone makes a flat tax unfair. With a progressive system, the person with the $20,000 may only pay $1500, and the person making $200,000 may pay $65,000 or more. The lower income person has about 92.5% of his income to spend, but the higher salaried person only has 67.5% left. Is this actually fair?

    October 30, 2008
  7. Nick Waterman said:

    Hi John, I was flummoxed because I, as I outlined, I entered many different income levels, and it showed the Obama plan at about $500 less per year until 85,000, at which point it became the same (to the penny) as McCain’s, and not until 220,000 could I make it show Obama’s plan as the more expensive. That’s why I mentioned that I had included mortage interest, and perhaps that generates the difference in outcome?

    October 31, 2008
  8. Peter Millin said:


    I already did some time back and came out to bean an additional $100 per month.

    Which have of it I have already lost by this years increase in gas taxes. Big deal.

    I don’t mind paying taxes as long I see that the money is being put to good use, but most of it dissapears in entitlement programs, pork barrel spending and other nonsense.

    BTW I am taking bets, that within the next two years this tax break will completely go away. Unless government cuts spending there will never be lower taxes.

    October 31, 2008
  9. john george said:

    Nick- Your break even point is about the income level I entered. The Obama plan cost me about $300 more per year, if I remember correctly. We do give away about 20% of our income, so perhaps this makes a difference. If that is the case, then I am even more dissatisfied with the Obama plan as it would appear to penalize charitable contributions. I don’t know what other factors could enter in here, because that link is the only thing I have seen where I could actually apply real figures.

    October 31, 2008
  10. Patrick Enders said:

    Classless act of the day: Some punk has stolen our Obama sign. And a couple more down the street.

    I guess McCain does have a local campaign effort, after all.

    October 31, 2008
  11. Jane Moline said:

    John G: Comment #856. YES

    But that guy making 252,000 should consider getting a new tax preparer.

    October 31, 2008
  12. Peter Millin said:

    Patrick…it was me….just kidding.

    October 31, 2008
  13. john george said:

    Jane- Actually, the whole process is taxing. I always do my own.

    Patrick- My friend had two of his McCain signs stolen. I assumed it was the higher quality of plastic used this year. Perhaps this is just a “sign” of the times?

    October 31, 2008
  14. Paul Fried said:

    The strange thing is that I commented on Warren Buffett (second wealthiest man in the world) and his observation that he pays a lower percent in taxes than his secretary who makes $60,000. He believes he, and other rich folks like him, should pay higher taxes.

    But then conservatives like you, DavidH, and Guy, and Peter, came to Warren’s defense. Why am I so quick to spend other people’s money, etc. Gosh, Bush and Cheney have been pretty good at that, but they want to lower our taxes while they run up the debt.

    Some of you talk about an income tax of 0% perhaps because, at heart, you’re opposed to the military-industrial complex like the peaceniks? Or perhaps you’re in league with the terrorists and want to weaken America?

    As it is, we already tax lots of people. When you include social security and medicare deductions, which go into a slush fund, we tax the middle class at a higher percent than the richest, and we as a nation do spend other people’s money all the time. All the time.

    So Buffett says we should tax rich folks like him MORE than the rest, and I don’t know of anyone on this forum who makes as much money as Warren.

    But suddenly folks come to his defense, or to the defense of the idea of letting folks like Warren pay a lower percent, which they already do. Shall we defend the current system, by which the middle class pays a higher percent than Warren?

    So please explain: Did you conservatives become peaceniks, and wish to stop military spending (which would have to happen if we went to a 0% tax), or become interested in helping the terrorists by weakening our defenses through these radical changes to government funding?

    I have a nephew who has a good job with Lockheed-Martin, and he’s be out of a job if you go to 0% income tax. He had a double major in electrical and mechanical engineering and graduated near the top of his class. Doesn’t he deserve to be the recipient of government entitlements that get channeled through the military-industrial complex? Why are you against his job? It would be gone at 0% income tax.

    And if this doesn’t describe you at all, but you’re in favor of continuing our current level of military funding, how would you replace the lost funding from the switch to 0% income? Sales tax? Property tax?

    October 31, 2008
  15. David henson said:

    Paul – the question was why are YOU so concerned with spending other peoples money ? Your answer deflected the question.

    October 31, 2008
  16. Mike Zenner said:


    Why don’t you stop beating around the bush on the tax issue, and say what you want to say!

    “It’s the Christian thing to do for government to “Take from Peter (M), to give to Paul (F)””

    October 31, 2008
  17. Mike Zenner said:

    Sorry Paul, I could help myself! 🙂

    October 31, 2008
  18. Paul Fried said:

    Mike: If only Peter made as much money as Warren, Warren and I would be in favor of your plan…. ( O ;

    DavidH: When income taxes go down mostly for the rich and social security and medicare withholding go up mostly for the middle class, you don’t ask, “Why are they so concerned about spending the money of the middle class?” But when I advocate with my pal Warren that the rich should not pay a lower percent, then you say I’m avoiding the question, which you want to read, “why are YOU so concerned with spending other peoples money ?”

    You accuse ME of deflecting, when that’s exactly what tax cuts for the rich have done.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree — but only until one of us can impose a tyranny of the majority on the other.

    November 1, 2008
  19. Guy Lawrence said:

    Jane: I don’t recall drawing a line between someone earning a living from investment INCOME and wage INCOME, to me, income is income (and this will drive my Libertarian & Constitution Party brethren nuts) but it should be taxed at the same rate.

    The duties of the Federal government are spelled out quite clearly in the Constitution, Defend the Borders, Coin Money, Maintain Interstate Trade (build roads); there are a few others, but these are the big 3. All other activities, such as a Federal Welfare System (New Deal/Old Deal/Social Security), Federal Education Standards, Federal Police Force, etc are beyond the scope of the Federal government, as authorized by the Constitution, and as such are arguably illegal activities on the part of the federal government.

    My point is that pragmatically, the government needs the income tax to do what it’s legally authorized to do. If it stuck to it’s legal functions, we’d probably only need to be taxed in the 10% range.

    Paul F: As indicated above, I do not believe we can have 0% taxes, not quite sure where that came from. As someone who did my time in ODS, I’m a fond believer in ‘Peace through superior firepower’ – does that qualify me as a ‘peacenick’? Have you ever seen what a Harpoon does to an oil platform? I’ve got a really cool video of it if you want to see it. I’ve also got some good feed of 16″ NGFS (Naval Gun Fire Support) on a truck convoy.

    WRT Warren – my point was simply that if he can afford to hide his money, through loopholes that government left in their own laws, good for him (more evidence that if civil servants were truly talented, they wouldn’t be civil servants?). Despite his misguided opinions, I think that he stands as a hope that the rest of us will one day be rich enough to break the chains of taxation, and have enough disposable income to avoid paying excessive taxes. Remember, wealthy people got that way by NOT allowing others to take their money.

    But back to the election: Neither of the 2 main candidates are going to make the types of cuts to the Federal government that would help significantly reduce taxes. So unless you are like me, and have a separate axe to grind (mine is the bailout bill) it only makes sense to vote for the lesser of 2 evils – McCain will grow government less than Obama. McCain will take less of your money annually. McCain will let you keep your guns. McCain will not try to steal your 401K (received that one today – not had much time to research it).

    November 1, 2008
  20. Following up on my post #771, “[Sarah Palin’s use of a private e-mail account for government business] has me wonder why Scott Davis uses a private e-mail account. Scott, can you answer?”

    I’ve had a written discussion with City Attorney Maren Swanson covering public record concerns as well as preserving relevant e-mails for Betsey or myself, whomever is elected. Scott Davis, Melissa Reeder and Betsey Buckheit were copied on most of the exchanges.

    Maren explains, “Under the City’s records retention schedule (which is based on the state’s recommended schedule), transitory messages, email or phone messages of short-term interest which are considered incidental and non-vital correspondence about city business are public data but are not required to be kept after reading. The records retention schedule is different for correspondence which constitutes an official record of government action, but usually email communications do not rise to that level.”

    First, I think it’s bad policy to have government officials using private e-mail accounts. If elected, I’ll use the city’s e-mail for all city business. I intend to introduce legislation for using the city’s e-mail service mandatory for all city employees.

    I am not insinuating any wrong doing by Scott as I believe that it is possible to have a private e-mail account and comply with the law, as represented by Maren. However, just like the controversy over Sarah Palin’s private e-mail account, there is now a non-government entity in control of government e-mail, which I believe is a problem waiting to happen, at least for litigation-discovery requests, and also for continuity between Ward 2’s council members. Whomever transitions into the Ward 2 seat may need access to Scott’s e-mails for unfinished business. Rather than have all of his e-mails contained within the city’s system, the next Ward 2 City Councilperson will have to work with two accounts for some time. Also, I don’t know’s data retention practices. I don’t know if its practice complies with state law. If Scott used the city’s e-mail, I wouldn’t have to wonder if it was being saved and stored correctly.

    I’m happy that Scott’s e-mail address was openly presented to everyone. If I recall the story correctly, Sarah Palin had at least two Yahoo! addresses that were used in addition to her official government address. Had Sarah Palin only used one address, there probably would not have been a story about it.

    November 1, 2008
  21. Peter Millin said:

    Here is the irony on the redistribution scheme of the democrats.
    While Obama and Biden trying to convince us that paying more taxes is patriotic and that we should be our brothers keeper.
    Both of them don’t practice what they preach. Obama let’s his aunt live illegally in a housing project and his brother in a Kenyan slum. While donating $20000 dollars to a church that preaches hate rather then forgiveness.
    Biden on the other who is a multi millionaire making $2.5 million last year donates $3600 to charities!!!!!
    He also be cries CEO pension plans while himself will be taken care of nicely by the tax payers once he retires.

    Do as I say not as I do…..right?

    November 1, 2008
  22. David Henson said:

    Paul – I think one private employee creates more wealth for society than a 100 government employees (accepting a few like the post office). So I would not take money out of private hands for any purpose – I would cut back taxes as far as possible. Warren aside, wealth is voting every day right now as a tidal wave is leaving the country in anticipation of a new administration.

    November 1, 2008
  23. Nick Waterman said:

    Peter, churches don’t preach, preachers do. Perhaps Obama wanted to continue to support a church and a congregation he had become close to. Preachers are transitory. And must we resort to the brother in the Kenyan slum? Good God.
    WHat about the massive redistribution plan of the republicans for the last 8 years? Redistribute government functions (soldiering, disaster help) to private firms (buddies, natch) at greater cost. Happy with that use of your tax dollars? Redistribute public money to private firms. Doesn’t it even slighly bother you that exxon/mobil posts its highest gain EVER as it’s pocketing more public monies than ever? All government involves redistribution of wealth. How you can prefer this corrupt republican redistribution to the democratic one is beyond me. How anyone except the rich can prefer it is beyond me. And I’d rather by my brother’s keeper any day than be the guy who profits from my brother’s misery, my brother’s lack of health care, my brother’s lack of access to education, and my brother’s lack of work.

    November 1, 2008
  24. john george said:

    Nick- You said, “… churches don’t preach, preachers do…” Seems like I have heard this same line of reasoning with the NRA. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Is this a correct evaluation on my part? You also said, “…Preachers are transitory…” Seems like this Wright preacher has been at that church for 20 years, and is still the pastor. That doesn’t sound very transcient to me. I guess I just don’t think your line of reasoning lessens the significance of the data. If it did, then all the flap over Sarah Palin’s e-mail account could just as well be shrugged off. I don’t believe that any of these specific events in the candidates’ pasts is a gotcha. But the sum total of them gives me some insight into the character of the people involved. I still think it is interesting that all kinds of dirt can be dug up on someone like Palin and be labled objective journalism. But if anything is dredged up out of Obama’s past, it is considered mud-slinging. Am I the only one perceiving a double standard here?

    I also don’t believe there is a political candidate out there without some questionable actions in his/her past. To look for any person with this type of pristine history is, I think, an exercise in futility. There is One coming who is of perfect character, but He has not yet chosen to appear on the world scene. He will, but at a time that no living person can determine. So until that time, I am going to have to choose from the available lot.

    November 1, 2008
  25. Paul Fried said:

    DavidH: you wrote, “I think one private employee creates more wealth for society than a 100 government employees (accepting a few like the post office).”

    Certainly this is true if you consider that roads and delievered mail are things of value, but don’t directly create wealth. Having freeways instead of private toll roads saves money, but doesn’t create wealth. Paying Blackwater and other private security firms creates some wealthy executives, but only through entitlements–through taxpayer money.

    The question is not only “Does it create wealth” but “does it give something of value.”

    So you’re implying that when the government invests in roads and bridges, the jobs funded by overnment in this way each creates one unit of wealth (or value?), while the private sector job creates 100 times that value?

    Or are you simply saying that it happens to be the case that we could find one private sector job where a person gets paid 100 times as much as the legislator, or governor, or the highway construction worker? That’s obvious. But it really doesn’t prove your point.

    November 2, 2008
  26. william siemers said:


    Sen. Joseph Biden and his wife, Jill, earned $319,853 last year, according to tax returns released Friday, making them one of the least wealthy U.S. Senate families.'s_income

    November 2, 2008
  27. David Henson said:

    Paul now you and I are on the exact same page – roads and transportation are where the government should be focused (especially since 45,000 deaths occur on the roads each year – nary a mention in the debates). A comparison of road improvement over your lifetime to telecoms improvements is a case study for private vs public undertakings. It’s the other 90% of the government that I would trim. Look up the concept of “the velocity of money” to understand why the private sector is so important. You are so immersed in an ideology of spending other peoples money that you site companies as private that exist solely off taxpayers – these are not private companies just because you do not like their expenditures – trim taxes and you would trim them as well. Real private activity Paul, are those activities not coerced through threat of violence (taxes). These non-coerced private activities generate nearly all of our societal wealth. Taking the fruits of these activities as taxes and handing this money over to bureaucrats is a total waste of resources – it makes poor people poorer.

    BTW: McCain Saturday night live was funny:

    November 2, 2008
  28. Paul Zorn said:

    David H,

    In #867 you asked:

    Paul – the question was why are YOU so concerned with spending other peoples money ? Your answer deflected the question.

    I’m not sure which among the Pauls you meant, but as a member of that elite (but not elitist) group I’ll venture a thought.

    Mainly, the question itself isn’t clear to me — apart from which Paul it addresses. Are you suggesting that “Paul” wants to spend other people’s money but not his own on do-gooding projects? If so, how could you know how generous or stingy any of us Pauls might be?

    Or might you mean that liberals generally want to spend others’ money but not their own? If so, do you have data (as opposed to anecdotes) to support such a charge? If liberals as a group want everyone but themselves to pay for the stuff they want, that would indeed be hypocrisy, and blameworthy . But are you suggesting that liberals are more hypocritical than others?

    Or maybe you mean that we, collectively through government, shouldn’t spend money collected from “other people”. If so, how do you propose that costs for things like defense and interest on the national debt be paid?

    Or maybe all these interpretations are wrong. Could you clarify the question?

    Paul (Zorn)

    November 2, 2008
  29. David Henson said:

    I’ll try to be more Paul specific. I meant Paul F. I assume all Paul’s are wildly generous with their personal funds. This is appropriate, it’s being wildly generous with others funds that I was inquiring about.

    Both Pauls have mentioned roads. – If the road system was private in the USA then lawsuits would be flying as the safety factor is pathetic. The government would never allow the 45,000 fatalities if they did not build the system. Because of crossing land there will always be a legal aspect to transportation but the system does not have to depend on taxation.

    The Stone Arch bridge (the one still standing) in Mpls was a private undertaking:
    … Stone Arch Bridge was built in 1883 by railroad tycoon James J. Hill for his Great Northern Railway, and accessed the former passenger station located about a mile to the west, on the west bank of the river. … Wiki

    I’ll vote McCain but I don’t think either McCain or Obama will be the change people really want.
    I think we will see much stronger candidates with Libertarian ideas in 2012.

    November 2, 2008
  30. Paul Fried said:

    DavidH: It’s strange you say that money is taken by violence (you could refuse to pay, and might get away with it for a long time — some do). Then you might get thrown in jail, but the taxes many people pay willingly are not taken by violence. There’s a willing submission involved, even when our tax dollars are used to kill people with dark hair in Islamic countries, in wars based on lies. We might agree that the willing submission is, at times, tragic. But it’s based in part on the idea (or illusion) of taxation by representation. The people elected to make such decisions decide to spend our money, and we’re not complaining enougn about it to end it.

    And regarding the violence, or lack thereof: I’d gladly pay taxes for universal, single–payer health care. It would cost less than what I pay now if based on the medicare model. And if my neighbor needs, but can’t afford, some treatment, she or he could get it instead of being told that health care is only for those who can afford it. I would not see this as involving violence, although some might take it that far if they were not interested in supporting it.

    Regarding the lack of safety on the roads, it’s all related to oil and cars. The tire companies bought up the streetcars; with cars, suburbs were developed so that we could wait in our cars during rush hour; shopping malls were developed, and the illusion of tax savings by omitting sidewalks from city planning, so that we could get everywhere by car, and gas, and oil. Oil is an addiction and, in a way, a monopoly.

    Sometimes Dodge City needs a sheriff with a gun. Sometimes societies need regulations, taxes, and anti-trust laws. If even the Rockefellers can’t convince the oil companies to invest in future energy sources, then we should nationalize the oil companies and see what we can do to affect the velocity of monies heading toward renewables.

    November 3, 2008
  31. David Henson said:

    Paul when my Dad was growing up anyone in the lower middle class could visit a doctor and pay cash for the services – the services were in line with all other goods and services. The problem is you thinking is you keep want to tax and create big government to solve problems that are created by big government.

    Look at the speed with which phones evolved after the Bells were deregulated. Look at the spread of computer technology, software and internet technology – the number of people employed is staggering. Why would you want to waste that type of potential by putting money into the hands of the government ? You and I see the same problems but your solution of taxing and growing the government is to me the root cause of all the problems you see and will never be a solution.

    November 3, 2008
  32. Guy Lawrence said:

    Here’s another. It’s worth the watch.

    November 3, 2008
  33. Paul Fried said:

    From the Guardian, some good clips:
    “Although every conservative administration since Ronald Reagan has promised to deliver, through supply-side stimulation, economic growth without bloated deficits, they have never been vindicated in their blind faith in what Bush senior once rashly called “voodoo economics”. Consistently, they have brought the US Wall Street crashes and recessions along with massive deficits; and yet somehow, the stake that history attempts to drive through the heart of their economic theology never puts the ghoul away.

    No weight of evidence to the contrary has ever shaken the totemic belief that tax cuts can grow the economy robustly enough to compensate for drastic shortfalls in revenue. George W Bush clung to this belief even as the Clinton budget surplus was converted into a mountainous deficit, and John McCain continues to parrot the same belief with the shining face of a true believer.

    Not even Gibbon could supply a story as fatefully bizarre as the ultimate consummation of Reagan-Bush conservatism, its last act: the most massive shift of financial power from the private to the public sector since the New Deal. Rather like the Pope deciding that all along he really wanted a barmitzvah.
    And even at the height of the Kennedy-Johnson apogee, Prescott and George Herbert Walker Bush were turning the pages of Barry Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative. They could smell the wind direction changing. The future of Republican money and Republican power lay elsewhere; with Texas oil. Hence the migration to Midland Texas of George Herbert Walker Bush and his makeover into a Texan who knew the ways of the corporate world; and how to bring about the Great Cosiness between government and business that seemed like the perfect feedback loop: money to power, power to money; tax breaks for the corporations; donations to those who might command the heights.

    This is the politics George W Bush inherited, and he has been its faithful disciple; to the point of purging it of any remaining traces of pragmatism. It is astounding to hear rightwing talkshow bloviators rant about the predicament of the Bush administration being caused by its failure to carry out the true conservative agenda. For there never has been and never will be a more doctrinally faithful instrument of the creed. Never mind the hanging chads of 2000, the Cheney-Bush administration seized the moment to bring on the Goldwater-Reagan Rapture in which government was once and for all got out of the way of business.

    So it hasn’t really been all George Bush’s fault, the stupendous American fiasco. He came to power armed with an ideology that was about to crash and burn; that was, years before the present tumult, already fatally disconnected from historical reality. It was on his watch that American government needed reinventing. It was responsible government that was needed in Iraq and Afghanistan; government that was desperately needed in New Orleans after Katrina, while all George Bush could manage was a fly-by. It is government that this most anti-governmental of all American administrations is learning that is needed now to save the United States from a second Depression.

    In his heart of hearts I actually think the shell-shocked Dubya, somewhere in the bowels of his presidency knows this. But he is nowhere to be found, and so on goes the mad rant that health care reform and progressive taxes are the Trojan horse for socialist revolution. To which those who have another view altogether might want to say, fear not, for yours, as a Republican president once said, is a government of the people, by the people. And really it will not perish from the earth.”
    [end clips]

    Nowhere Man: A Farewell to Dubya, All-Time Loser in Presidential History
    by Simon Schama

    November 4, 2008
  34. Peter Millin said:

    Normally I would check it off as a freak incident, but I have heard a couple of people share the same story on the radio this morning.

    This morning I showed up at the polling place, but although I voted in the primaries and received a voter registration card my name wasn’t on the list.

    This happened to several other people. Then on my way to work another person called in on the talk show to report the same.
    His case was even stranger, besides him not being on the list, although he has voted several times, his sister who got married five years ago is still on there with her maiden name.
    Further his brother that is a ten year convict still appears on the list.

    I am not implying anything here, but it seems a bit weird. Maybe our reporters should look in to this?

    November 4, 2008
  35. Peter Millin said:

    Give it up your boy Obama will win move on!!!

    I actually hope that the Democrats will get to 61 seats in the senate, get a large majority in the house and Obama becomes POTUS.

    That way they are out of people to blame. This will be fun to watch.

    November 4, 2008
  36. Jane Moline said:

    Peter: Did they not let you vote? Or did you get to vote?

    I think you have voiced the Republican mantra–let McCain be the fall guy–the Republicans made this big mess, let the Democrats take the blame for it.

    We know. We are strong, and ready to do the hard work of fixing Republican greed.

    November 4, 2008
  37. Paul Fried said:

    Let’s go back to the kind of taxes and “spreading the wealth around” advocated by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower! (So THAT’s where Obama learned it!)

    Clip from Op-Ed:
    Nearly 50 years ago, a famous American gave a speech that advocated spreading the wealth.

    In some countries, this notable stated, “a few families are fabulously wealthy, contribute far less than they should in taxes, and are indifferent to the poverty of the great masses of the people.” “A country in this situation,” he went on, “is fraught with continual instability.”

    Just who made this spread-the-wealth declaration against the dangers societies invite when they let wealth concentrate? The then-president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    Ike’s words back in 1960 created no controversy. Americans overwhelmingly shared his spread-the-wealth convictions. Societies that discourage vast accumulations of private wealth, they believed, simply work better.

    The U.S. tax code, back then, reflected this consensus. Income more than $400,000 a year — that’s a bit more than $3 million today, after adjusting for inflation — faced a 91 percent tax rate.

    The rich of Ike’s day, of course, exploited tax loopholes, just like today’s rich. But even after exploiting loopholes, the wealthy of the Eisenhower years still paid a hefty share of their income in taxes.

    In 1955, for instance, America’s 400 highest-income taxpayers averaged about $12 million in income, in today’s dollars. They paid, after loopholes, 51.2 percent of that in tax.

    Let’s put these numbers in contemporary perspective. In 2005, our 400 richest taxpayers averaged $214 million and paid federal taxes on that princely sum, after exploiting loopholes, at a mere 18.5 percent rate.

    In other words, today’s rich are taking home much more in income than Ike’s rich and paying taxes at a much lower rate.
    [End Clip]

    Some who advocate eliminating the income tax might claim that Ike only did this for popularity, or because they were still getting over the hangover from FDR and the New Deal. I don’t buy it. I think there were some compassionate Republicans like Eisenhower who actually cared about poverty, and who believed taxing he rich at a higher rate actually worked.

    Source of clip: From the IPS
    (Institute for Policy Studies)
    Title: Ike Wanted to Spread Wealth, Too
    Op-Ed by Chuck Collins, Sam Pizzigati.
    Published November 3, 2008 12:00AM
    The wealthy of the Eisenhower years paid a hefty share of their income in taxes.

    November 4, 2008
  38. Peter Millin said:


    They did let me vote. I have send my concerns to the Northfield News and they made some calls. In my case they found out that my name was on the list but it was miss spelled.

    November 4, 2008
  39. john george said:

    Peter- They actually let me vote, too! Isn’t that something? And I didn’t even have my wife along. She is so noncontroversial, she can get in anywhere.

    Jane- Thanks for being willing to fix our greed. I guess we have been too distracted with trying to fix the leaks the Democrats keep poking in the boat. Ha! Ha!

    November 4, 2008
  40. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    The choice of Vilsack for secy of ag has really laid me low. Maybe agribusiness and gmo interests were too formidable and the Obama team chose to play it safe, for now.

    December 29, 2008

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