August 4, 2009

Let’s talk about euthanasia and abortion?

Posted in attack ads, health care, media coverage, Obama administration, Rove and Rovian attack politics, senior citizens tagged , , , , at 5:53 pm by realitytax

Abortion is a time-tested “wedge” issue, in the finest tradition of Karl Rove’s masterful divisive politics, and it’s arguably being used that way again right now in the health-care insurance reform debate.

Most of us have good enough insurance, and we all get to make the choice to keep our current system.  This isn’t about the majority, this is about the 1 in 6 Americans who aren’t covered.  1 in 6 – that’s not quite 50 million Americans.

Now, nobody’s proposed socialized medicine – if they had the doctors wouldn’t be mostly in favor of reform. But it’s a tested sound bite that shaves off a few votes. Did you know they need more billing clerks at Duke Medical Center than they have nurses?  Does that get through to the opponents of reform at all? No, apparently they’re happier with it spun by lobbyists and CEOs than sticking with reality.

So, too, with abortion.  It’s being dragged into the debate for the express purpose of derailing the whole package – undermining an honest debate about our values, and shaving off a few votes here and there. It’s classic Rove/GOP/special interest “divide and conquer” in the face of Obama’s attempts to make real improvements.

They hope we’ll ignore that the leading cause of personal bankruptcy filings is medical expenses.  Never mind that the number of uninsured Americans grows by over 10,000 people each and every day.  No, no, don’t fret about your neighbors who aren’t as well off as you, that’s not your problem – just keeping listening to the $pecial interests as they spend millions of dollars per day, raised by bureaucrats at companies who decide your premiums and what they’ll cover or not cover, all to influence congress and public opinion. The bureaucrats who control our access to health care right now live rich, lavish lifestyles with no incentive to change the system, let alone to cover those who need it most.

More than half of personal bankruptcy filings are triggered by medical costs. Really.

Do you think this is about somebody else?  Do you think everybody you know is really covered?  Do you mind that most of the raises in the last three decades for low and middle-income earners have gone right into the pockets of health insurance profiteers, because premiums have been rising at triple the rate of inflation?

Lots of money – special interest money – is being thrown at this debate, and it’s up to us to keep the truth out there, because when people hear things like abortion, socialized medicine, or alleged euthanasia for senior citizens, many have a visceral reaction and stop thinking, let alone listening.
Are you still thinking?

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October 5, 2008

McCain campaign misleads public on Obama’s tax plan.

Posted in 2008 Elections, attack ads, John McCain's campaign, Presidential campaign, Rove and Rovian attack politics, Senator Barack H. Obama, taxes, U.S. Economy tagged , , , , , , , at 12:51 am by realitytax

Senator Barack Obama is proposing tax cuts that would help struggling, middle-class families get back on track and provide relief during these financially uncertain times.

No matter how many times John McCain claims otherwise, the overwhelming majority of Americans will never see a tax increase under Senator Obama’s plans. Obama’s proposals will lower tax rates for 95% of families, including the small business owners that are the core of our economic well-being. It’s time to help the folks that have been hurt the most by the Bush economic policies that McCain has backed for the past eight years.

John McCain pledged to run and honorable, honest campaign. Instead he’s been using his stump speeches and attack ads to purposefully mislead voters about Obama’s real tax plans. That old school style of politics may have seemed acceptable, just “business as usual,” in the past – but there’s no place for it in the United States in 2008.  This year we need real, thoughtful solutions, and honest answers from those who seek to lead us out of the economic mess we’re in.

The crisis that we’re facing calls for innovative changes. We can’t get out of this mess using the same thinking and tactics that got us into it. John McCain’s plan calls for renewing Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. That didn’t create jobs. That didn’t stimulate economic growth. In fact, that approach is fundamentally more of the same, and the United State of America just can’t afford it.

No more lies.

McCain lies about Obama's tax planBefore you vote, know who will raise your taxes more. According to independent, non-partisan comparisons, if you earn less than $250,000 per year? It’s McCain.

John McCain wants to preserve and protect the tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class, what we used to call “trickle down economics.”  So far, all that’s trickled down is pain, high gas prices, unemployment,  and foreclosures.

Sound bites won’t fix our economy. It’s no wonder he and his running mate don’t want us looking back: if we learn from history they’re doomed.

 

September 23, 2008

The problem with deregulation

Posted in 2008 Elections, Rove and Rovian attack politics, U.S. Economy tagged , , , , , , , , , at 3:04 am by realitytax

Even if the Department of the Treasury recovers some the Wall Street bailout funds over time, the idea of spending perhaps $700 billion or more on top of our current national deficit is mind-boggling. Can somebody justify for me why countless families are losing their homes while executives at these “failed” and restructured corporations earned hundreds of millions of dollars but aren’t being asked to return any of it? Can you tell me?

Professor Roy GrowI heard an analogy from Professor Roy Grow, the Frank B. Kellogg Professor of International Relations in the Carleton College‘s Department of Political Science, to help you think about what’s set up the crisis on Wall Street. The international relations program was originated in 1937 by former Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Frank B. Kellogg, through the establishment at Carleton of the Kellogg Foundation for Education in International Relations.

I’ll paraphrase Professor Grow’s dialectical discussion:

Imagine you’ve got ten large, healthy, competitive men gathered together. Set the task for them: win a game of basketball. They’ve all played basketball before. In fact, they’re quite good at it. But this isn’t college, with some fans of both teams cheering them on, there won’t even be a referee to call fouls or out-of-bounds. All the rules they’ve dealt with learning the game? Effectively gone, because you’ve deregulated the game.

Who will win?

Why?

There’s a fundamental problem with deregulation of the kind – and scope – that has taken place on Wall Street. Once there’s no reward for playing by mutually agreeable rules the ONLY reward is winning – at any cost. The value of deregulation seemed so great: let free markets determine what’s best; let competition determine the practices without the restricting burden of oversight.

In what other industry would you have confidence enough to let the people with the most to gain act without regulation? Would car companies be so concerned with passenger safety without regulation? Would you want doctors to practice unregulated- no assurance they’d act with YOUR best interest in mind? Lawyers? Accountants? Toy Manufacturers? Food processors? I’m not suggesting there’s nothing good about a free-market economy, nor am I suggesting every insurance company or investment firm is run by greedy executives, but there have been snake-oil salesmen preying upon the unwary since before the dawn of history as nearly as I can determine.

At one time we might have run such fast talkers out of town, or even applied tar and feathers, or worse. The notion that we’d let them leave smiling, with everything they’d pilfered intact, on their own schedule and terms? That, my friends, is a farce.

We’ve got a big problem. We’ve left foxes guarding the chicken coop. To borrow a phrase freighted with partisan overtones, we need to be “as careful getting out as we were careless getting in…” to this mess. I don’t pretend to know what the solution is; economics is not my forte, nor that of most of my close associates. I do know this: hasty proposals abound in any perceived crisis, but unless you’ve already been expecting the problem and have a plan in place taking time to consider several reasoned solutions often yields superior outcomes to adopting either the first idea or the one advanced by the loudest voice.

I’m disappointed, but not surprised, that some have tried to use the crisis for their own political and/or financial gain. That confirms the readiness of snake-oil salesmen and their ilk to exploit any suffering for their own personal advancement, and demonstrates one peril of trusting the lofty ideal of a free-market to work to everyone’s mutual benefit in the never-ideal real world.

Given that it’s tax dollars about to be put to use to repair the damage, given the complexity of the system(s), and balancing that complexity against the obvious repercussions to inaction, I hope a transparent set of priorities will allow wiser men than me to conceive and begin to implement the kind of oversight that has obviously been missing from this segment of the economy for years.

Given, lastly, that Senator Barack Obama had the foresight to write publicly to both Fed Chairmen Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Paulson about his concerns over looming repercussions from the questionable lending practices at the foundation of this crisis in March of 2007: Obama’s got both the fundamental familiarity and the network of advisors to facilitate identifying fiscal policy changes that should be on the table. It’s unfortunate that such an exercise would likely disrupt Obama’s presidential campaign, but he and his team have already given the problem serious thought; they must be included in the process.

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September 7, 2008

Let’s talk about politics

Posted in 2008 Elections, John McCain's campaign, Rove and Rovian attack politics tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:33 pm by realitytax

What does Gov. Palin think of the VP position?

See: www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZ04hQbvWTs

Then:

Zennie’s Zeitgeist, What is Palin’s “other side”? (Hero to Young)

Zennie’s Zeitgeist, What are the outstanding accusations against McCain’s VP choice?

Zennie’s Zeitgeist, What does Palin thinks a VIP does?

Zennie’s Zeitgeist, Alaska in a Skirt

Zennie’s Zeitgeist, Why did Palin want the library to ban books?

Why did Karl Rove flip flop on the value of Mayoral and Gubenatorial experience? He said Tim Kaine lacked credentials, yet Sarah Palin has more than enough?