Eye on Oregon
A blog of things Oregon: politics, weather, living and laughing, shouting and crying and all that. Eye On Oregon is a point of view on our unique and wonderful place. By Erik Dolson
The news is everywhere, but we offer this story from Oregonlive, the online version of The Oregonian. Essentially, Walden attacked a part of President Obama's budget that was to reduce the deficit. It has to do with how cost of living increases are calculated and was initially proposed by Republicans.
So Walden trying to use it to get seniors angry at Obama backfired and caused Republican leaders to call Walden immediately on the carpet.
Walden is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, in charge of raising funds for Republicans to get elected, so he is in campaign mode and did this for cheap political points. Walden is the type of political hack that gives politics its stink: the destructive, tear-opponents-down-any-way-you-can kind of nonsense that voters across America rejected last November.
That's aside from being in the pocket of corporations which profit from monopolizing services essential for Americans (look at his record and draw the lines right back to market-destroying activism).
But there is much to enjoy here. For the act of attacking President Obama, Walden not only faces the wrath of House conservatives and leadership, but at the same time was labeled a "Rino" by conservative action committees for opposing something that would reduce the budget deficit.
Central Oregon should be part of an effort to refuse Walden another term in Congress so he can go to work lobbying for AT&T and make the income he deserves from work that he loves.
Here comes Fox News, the propaganda wing of the Republican Party, trying to stymie any compromise on the deficit.
Fox wants us to drive off the fiscal cliff, so they are attempting to yank the wheel. They are doing so by saying that closing loopholes will mean cuts to:
"-- Medicare benefits for senior
-- Capital gains rates
-- Earned income tax credit
-- Charitable contributions"
Of course this is not the only approach to tax reform. This is just the most difficult way which is why Fox News, Mitch McConnel, John Boehner, and Oregon's own Republican flack Rep. Greg Walden are so focused on it. If they put "charitable contributions" in the mix, they get churches to bring pressure on the Democrats. Medicare gets seniors riled, mortgage deductions gets every Realtor in the country on the phone.
Walden, recently elevated in the House for lockstep advocacy of the rights of corporations over the rights of consumers said on Nov. 20: "Part of the way to (avoid the fiscal cliff) is by reforming our tax code to close loopholes, lower rates, and spur economic growth." Lower rates and close loopholes. Yeah, okay, Mr. Walden, that should only take about what, 4 years or so if you had your way? It's time you took that plush job ATT has waiting for you.
But wait a minute. What about the ideas of Warren Buffet, one of the country's most savvy investors and one of the wealthiest men in America. What does he have to say?
On November 25 in the New York Times, Buffet wrote that there is another way. Read it here. After explaining how the rich—like himself—have accumulated more wealth and paid less taxes than at any time in generations, Buffet advocates a minimum tax for the wealthy.
He said it so well that I quote him here:
"Additionally, we need Congress, right now, to enact a minimum tax on high incomes. I would suggest 30 percent of taxable income between $1 million and $10 million, and 35 percent on amounts above that. A plain and simple rule like that will block the efforts of lobbyists, lawyers and contribution-hungry legislators to keep the ultrarich paying rates well below those incurred by people with income just a tiny fraction of ours. Only a minimum tax on very high incomes will prevent the stated tax rate from being eviscerated by these warriors for the wealthy."
Othere things need to be done, Buffet says, but "We can’t let those who want to protect the privileged get away with insisting that we do nothing until we can do everything."
So, before we let Republicans like Oregon's Rep. Greg Walden attempt to make tax reform too difficult, or drive us off the fiscal cliff so they can then blame Obama, or take away contributions to churches (after all, they just help the poor, so who cares?), we need to look at other alternatives.
Warren Buffet is one of the smartest investors the world has ever seen. And he invests in America instead of putting his money in banks in the Cayman Islands, like some in the Republican Party. I think we need to listen to what he says.
Then came Wednesday. Then Romney proved he was just as out of touch as has been written here, as he was portrayed by the Obama campaign, as voters finally decided. We got his unvarnished opinion, given with nothing to lose, nothing to cover. On Wednesday, Mr. Romney proved he was not right for America. Read it here.
According to him, Romney's loss was due to gifts of education to students, gifts of medical care worth $10,000 a year for them poor Mexicans, gifts of free abortions to women. Obama gave those gifts and that is why he won, according to Romney. Why, the responsible Romney couldn't compete! He had the interest of ALL Americans in mind when he guaranteed free money to the top 1%. My god, what a putz.
Romney lied when he apologized for the remark that 47% of Americans were freeloaders. That is exactly the fiction he believes and that is how he would have governed. He just repeated it to the nation through his disappointed campaign contributors. Romney planned to make life harder for the poor and decimate the middle class in the foolish belief that the top 1% are the only social class worth coddling.
Other Republicans are trying to put as much distance between themselves and Governor Gaffe as they can, but Ro-money has already given Democrats heavy artillery for the next election. That may be too bad, because by then we may need the austerity and good ideas from the right.
Good ideas, not the posturing, lies, half-truths, and misinformation spread by the Romney campaign and rejected by more than half the country in 2012.
America, we have much to be proud of this week.
They are making it far too complex:
1) No tax returns. C'mon, what's with the off-shore bank accounts?
2) No plan. Magical thinking is not a plan.
3) No honesty. Etch-A-Sketch was the only truth spoken by the Romney camp.
4) Obama won. The Dem's brought game and Karl Rove brought… nothin'.
It's time to move on.
But mostly, government needs to be a referee: markets need protection from oligopolies, our financial system must not be a casino for Goldman Sachs to play with other people's money, the military/industrial complex must not be allowed to poison our water and foul the air to compete with the Chinese. That's a cost shift, a market distortion.
But Liberals, profit is not a dirty word, income inequality is a great force of inspiration and there are many unintended consequences to the best of intentions. Maybe we can talk about taking the burden off industry for health insurance and pensions so when somebody loses a job, they don't lose access to basic services? Maybe we can cut a deal, here, that might fit everybody's ideology?
Read it here.
Mitt Romney made a number of claims over the last year that he disavowed on Wednesday night. Obama should have been able to point out where and when and subject Romney to the lawyer's question: "Are you lying now or were you lying then?" Obama did not and looked pained and frustrated that Romney was able to lie his way out of his own history.
Jim Lehrer stunk worse than Obama in this debate but not by a whole lot. Lehrer looked like my grandmother trying to separate fornicating dogs. How many years has it been since he has felt his own testosterone?
Romney wasn't great in the debate but he was good enough. He kept on message, hammering again and again even falsehoods like the $716 billion in cuts to Medicaid. The president addressed the issue once but let Romney repeat the claim without rebuttal a second and a third time.
A simple message is effective, even if false, because it is simple. The response has to be simple and forceful. Being forceful is part of the message. Obama failed to deliver either because he assumed that Lehrer would establish control or he felt that he had made the case and could let the facts speak.
He was wrong. Romney won the debate because a lie told over and over with passion does become true. It is the package, Mr. President, not the content. It doesn't matter if you have distaste for that, it doesn't matter if Romney changes the content and the package every time he speaks, it doesn't matter if he says he will do the impossible and you have to defend what you have done.
Take off the gloves, Mr. President. No more Mr. Harvard Law Professor.
Romney went on to say that "President Obama has failed to deliver on time travel. He has held America back from exercising their freedom to travel where they want, when they want. It is time for a change."
"My opponent, the president who some worry might not have been born in America, does not like jobs. He does not want people to have jobs. All he wants is big government, voters who want free stuff and will never vote for me so screw'em, and no time travel for them, either."
"The president, who once said that he favored opportunity for all Americans in a socialistic effort to redistribute wealth through progressive taxes that I never paid anyway, opposes Americans having jobs or traveling through time."
The federal government should not "take from some to give to the others," said Romney, trying to defend his dis of 47% of Americans he said think they deserve handouts.
Which means what? That he believes there should be an end to "progressive taxation" where the rich pay a higher percentage than the middle class? Or does he favor a national sales tax? Maybe the whole country should just go to user fees, pay for what you get? Toll roads, private schools, doctor's paid through your VISA card? Explain, please.
Because tax policy is already skewed in his favor, Romney paid 13%, possibly a lower percentage than his cooks, his maids and his chauffeur, certainly lower than taxes paid by people earning much less than he does. More importantly, he has much, much more left over.
He would have more left over even if he actually paid the top tax rate. Even if he wasn't hiding his income in the Cayman islands and Swiss banks accounts (we NEED to see those tax returns. I would be content with 2005 through 2010).
To add fuel to the fire, VP candidate Paul Ryan stepped up with "The point we're trying to make here is, under the Obama economy, government dependency is up and economic stagnation is up."
Well, duh! Government dependency? Mr. Ryan, we are still in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s (which was made worse still by policies like those you advocate). The federal government (you were involved in a lot of the discussion–remember?) pays unemployment insurance and (don't tell anyone in your party) there have been a lot of unemployed since your buddies over at Goldman Sachs kicked the economy in the balls and George Bush started the war in Iraq without wanting to pay for it. Yes, there is also more Medicaid going to people who lost their health insurance when they lost their jobs, too.
Economic stagnation? Two days ago you called efforts by the Federal Reserve to end "economic stagnation" nothing but a "sugar high." I will put Ben Bernanke's PhD up against your asinine Ayn Rand blather any day of the week. Economic stagnation is part of the process called debt destruction (you can look that up if you take the time from pumping up your biceps) and we need to get banks and companies to take money out of their vaults and put it to work, which will put people to work.
Private employment is actually recovering. We would have lower unemployment now than when this mess started if Republicans weren't trying to fire every other public employee in the country. And we would likely be out of this mess completely if you, Mr. Ryan, had not tried to capitalize on our hardship by blocking recovery efforts so you could create a regime change in Washington putting you in power.
Finally, Romney admitted he doesn't believe in opportunity for the rest of us.
"…Romney referred to videotaped comments Obama made in 1998 (14 years ago!?) as evidence he favored government redistribution of wealth. As an Illinois state senator at the time, Obama said he believes in it "at least to a certain level to make sure everybody's got a shot."
What?! Remember, redistribution of wealth is another way of looking at progressive taxation. Even then, Obama was restrained. He didn't talk about fairness, he talked about opportunity.
So. Romney doesn't believe that everyone should have a shot at the American Dream? No "pursuit of happiness" if you weren't born wealthy? No need for America to pull together in this crisis, share the burden, provide an opportunity to all her citizens?
Very good. Glad we finally know where they stand.
are Latino (immigrant);
believe in Social Security;
have a government job;
don't have a job;
feel responsible for others;
would like help from others when life is hard;
believe that a woman is in charge of her own body and life;
believe you are "entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it."
The man has no concept of community, no concept of charity beyond his Mormon Church, no concept that life can hit you with a random blow, no compassion for others hit with a random blow.
Sometimes, Mr. Romoney, shit happens to someone that ain't their fault. Americans believe that we are stronger when we pull together, extend a hand, provide opportunity for "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Too bad you believe "he who grabs, gets."
Romoney is so insulated by his wealth, inherited and accumulated by gaming the system (then shipped to Swiss Bank accounts and hidden– can you spell "tax cheat?"), that he feels anyone who is not rich doesn't have the same guarantee of opportunity that he does.
He scorns 47% of the country, saying they believe themselves to be "victims."
After his buddies at Goldman Sachs crashed the economy with dubious deals by playing "casino" with our mortgage payments, after millions of Americans were thrown out of work because of economic forces OVER WHICH THEY HAD NO CONTOL and lost their homes and their insurance and their future, Ri¢hie Ri¢h Romoney says they consider themselves "victims" and expect handouts.
And yesterday, he and that tight-assed VP candidate, the cold, calculating narcissistic liar Paul Ryan, said the Federal Reserve shouldn't try to jump start the economy because we hadn't been hit hard enough, hadn't suffered enough over the last five years.
America! Wake up! It IS class warfare and they started it! Working men and women are losing! The 1% have contempt for the 47%! They have all the money and they own our Congressmen (that's you, Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon) and are buying our legal system.
Romney is owned by gamblers (real ones – not just Goldman Sachs) and polluters and New York bankers and drug companies and insurance companies. They want to make economic serfs out of us!
Romney has admitted it. Finally, something comes out the man's mouth we can actually believe.
The following was posted as a comment to my last blog.
It is so well written I decided to give it it's own title and space.
I have no idea who the author is and even though I disagree
in substance or detail with a number of the points made,
I will save my retorts for the comment section.
In the mean time, I think it should be savored
by the widest audience possible ~ EyeonOregon.
Dear Mr. Rube:
Thematic essays, your blogs. Without the rules of essay writing in evidence, of course. Fragmented thematic essays.
Patterned themes. For instance, the ugly, tyrannical, megalomaniac Large Corporation. Villain du jour.
From sea to shining sea, the definition of ‘person’ includes business entities, in all colors, shapes and sizes. ‘Personhood’ is critical – businesses are sucked into the system along with persons covered in sweating flesh. Sucked into the basics – civil and criminal laws. The enhanced “sucking”: the ungodly stacks of Rules and Regulations, government agency oversight, regulatory hearings, investigations, inspections, reporting, record keeping, administrative officers, quasi-judicial bodies, etc.
I have a friend who steered his deep sea charter-fishing business to success, despite competition. And while newbie fishermen falling overboard are idiots, they are idiots with lawyers. And what did Ordinary Man do to protect his American Dream? Built a tower of legal defense. LLCs for each fishing boat, LCCs owned by LLP, LLP governed by a C corp. And secondary defense lines were put in play.
Clever. Applauded. And Big Business is different how?
My friend hired a local accounting firm; friends of friends; nice people. Anti-tax tactical forces fully exploited the gaps and perks of the tax laws. Hands shake again at a backyard BBQ while dogs run and kids bark.
And this is different from Big Business how? And while tax ‘efficiencies’ are legal, are they the moral choice? Temporary Aid for Needy Families is in jeopardy; unemployment compensation may be cut, education grants are reduced, funding of the arts degrades.
Small businesses are the stuff of Americana. The stuff of neighbors, friends and families. Tinkers. Tailors. Farmers. Small manufacturers. Bakeries and brothels.
Big Businesses are the stuff of high drama movies. Legendary corruption. Powered by monopolistic engines. Destroying the economy and our children’s opportunities, no compassion, no moral compass. Damn those iPhones made in Chinese sweatshops, thank god they’re pretty.
Business entities, large or small, successful or not, are driven by the best, the worst and the mediocre - just like any other human endeavor.
Small enterprises represent 99.7% of all employer firms & employ half of all private sector employees. They also represent the largest sector of tax fraud and tax evasion. Small businesses are well skilled in all sorts of wicked ways.
Label employees ‘independent contractors’ to avoid workers comp, unemployment comp, employment taxes, minimum wage laws, etc.
Don’t comply with ADA standards. (My god the costs are huge – I go to church with the disabled, I invite them to BBQs. Surely they don’t want me to coddle them at such a cost.)
Small businesses in the compliance zone of employment rights who just don’t. Small business owner knows how to do the Right Thing.
Liquidating small businesses who “sell” stuff to friends, family and neighbors before filing bankruptcy. Who don’t disclose all assets – how are they going to survive if everything but the family bible is put up for auction? Big Bank and Big Business creditors can absorb the loss; and, quite frankly, should take the hit – if BBs knifed the economy, then surely the weeping wounds have spread their puss to the innocent small business?
Small business owners are good people trying to their best survive with as much integrity as they can afford. Bless their little hearts.
What’s good for small businesses is good for the country. To hell with Big Businesses.
You see, Bain Capital was a mechanism for Romney to make himself and his "NASCAR team owning" buddies and the tax dodgers he advised very, very rich. The essence of the Bain Scheme was to borrow a lot of money to buy a company, saddle the company with the debt while paying himself big fees and then walk away.
Here is a wonderful analysis of this "business" plan. Thank god most of his investments missed Oregon, though Bain is investing in hospitals and Romney still gets money from Bain.
Sometimes things worked out, like the company Staples. Sometimes what happened is a lot of American workers lost their jobs and the companies went bankrupt.
While Romney raked in a cool quarter billion dollars. And it is likely he raked in a lot of money from Goldman Sachs and others that were getting bailed out by our tax dollars. A transfer from Main Street to Wall Street to Bain Street!
We don't know. Romney is hiding that information. Why? Because there is something to hide.
Does anyone, anyone, really think this man of piercing ambition, who has and will say anything to anybody to get elected, would not release his tax returns if they validated his argument that he should be president?
Not bloody likely.
Paul Ryan has never met a payroll, never been in the "market place" he so blithely advocates for others? Never not had government perks? It's astounding!
Can it be true this man has never been in the private sector but has been paid out of our tax revenues his ENTIRE ADULT LIFE?!? If so, this is the best argument ever made for retroactively downsizing government.
No wonder Paul Ryan has so little compassion – he came of age in Washington D.C. He was born on third base, says he hit a triple, then tells everyone else coming to the plate that they should bat without a helmet. What gall. What hypocrisy.
He believes in Ayn Rand but leaves out that atheism is the core of her philosophy, which is baking a cake without adding flour. Or eggs. He says we cannot afford compassion as a country and really, it's a sign of weakness. Does this staunch Catholic think he is quoting Jesus!?
He makes up a silly budget fiction about how to give more money to the rich while cutting food and hospitals and schools for the poor. Then he says Democrats are divisive?! This ego-driven wanker even lies about his time in marathons. He's never even run in Oregon's rain!
Paul Ryan's budgets are a sleight of hand, his "everybody-on-their-own" philosophy heartless in this time of hardship, his adherence to "free markets" uninformed. Ryan is as ambitious as Mitt Romney and just as bogus.