Posts Tagged ‘tax cuts

16
Feb
09

Stimulus Debate Revealing Republicans To Be Out Of Touch Crackheads – But What’s New?

The ugly last few weeks of stimulus debate among our nation’s leadership has left one thing clear: Congress has essentially become a douchey, senior-citizen version of The Real World mixed with Laguna Beach. Seriously. We basically a geriatric high school with bitches galore  and those lame duck leaders have abdicated any sense of responsibility to the American citizen as they are solely focused on the next election – which is especially true in the case of the Republicans.

Anyone who has taken Psych 101 (me) has likely been watching with jaws on the floor the Right Wing Parade of crackhead after crackhead. Singular focus on electoral demographics has allowed them to form some insane force field of failed ideology divorcing almost the entire Republican leadership from reality. To repeat the words of John Judis in The New Republic, “Congressional Republicans either don’t know any economics or are willing to put the country at risk to advance their own party’s fortune.” I’d go with both.

In case you’ve been under a rock, here’s the deal, pickle. The country is hemorrhaging jobs – almost 5 million Americans are collecting unemployment benefits, which doesn’t include all the unemployed who are not collecting benefits, nor those who are underemployed because their hours have been cut. Temporary jobs – an indicator of economic health – have all but dried up. The wealth of the average American family is now less than it was in 2001. And the second wave of mortgage defaults is starting to hit the country, because option ARMS are beginning to hit their due dates for interest rate increases. AND, and – the country’s top intelligence officer says the global economic crisis poses a greater threat to U.S. stability than terrorism.

You got it? Good.

Now, what are the crackhead Republicans suggesting will fix this crisis? It they spend most of their whining about the lack bipartisanship (which is odd considering Bush only met with Dems 3 times during his administration and Limbaugh equates talking to Dems to talking to snakes…), hoping the president fails, attempting to obstruct any potential solution to the problem and creating fun, new, misleading terms like “generational theft.” Would you expect any different from a group of people who values the opinions of the likes of Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, Joe the Plumber, and Rush Limbaugh? Right.

Somehow, you’d think right wing leaders smart enough to reach national office would be able to acknowledge the reality of the situation and choose to address these issues with realistic proposals instead of ideology proven to not only fail, but worsen the country’s economic troubles. You’d be wrong. Repub leaders have decided – as though they live in bizarro world – that if they oppose the stimulus and the stimulus fails, they can ride it all the way to victory in 2010. How wonderful of them to lift their collective, wrinkled middle finger to the lower 95 percent of America’s economic class.

And just to appear as though someone told them if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the what? Problem!, they are attempting to present a few weak ass proposals of their own: corporate tax cuts, more tax cuts for the wealthy, and payroll tax cuts.

Let’s address these “ideas.” First of all, government spending stimulates the economy much faster than tax cuts. Remember how much tax cuts for the wealthy helped over the last 8 years? The wealth was hoarded at the top and did not trickle down. The top 400 wealthiest Americans doubled their wealth, the poverty class grew while the middle shrunk drastically and jobs dried up.

Next, let’s take a look at corporate taxes. Republicans love to wave their hands in the air, shouting about America’s record corporate tax cuts. As they well know, because of the myriad of loopholes in tax legislation, the majority of U.S. corporations do not pay federal taxes. Therefore, lessening the tax burden on businesses that don’t pay taxes anyway will have zippo improvements on the economy. Are you paying attention Hatch? McConnell? Cantor? Boehner? Or your heads too far up your ass to hear me?

And lastly, payroll taxes are a good idea – but not by themselves. As with the stimulus checks Bush sent out last year, Americans are saving or paying down debt with any extra buck that comes their way – not shopping. Without consumers spending, businesses cannot stay afloat, retain employees and no reduction in payroll taxes will reverse that trend.

Which leave job creation as the strongest ladder out of this quagmire. Yet, Republicans, cuddled in their failed ideology and refusing to acknowledge data, evidence and reason started harping on every little non-roads related portion of the stimulus bill. Condom distribution, for example, was one of their main target. Yet, condom makers, condom packagers, and companies who ship the condoms will be stimulated. I could answer in much the same way with every “earmark” the Republicans attacked with unhelpful rhetoric, like “porkulus.”

Paul Begala had a good idea in his address to South Carolina Gov. Sanford, who opposes the stimulus, “If Republican politicians are so deeply opposed to President Obama’s economic recovery plan, they should refuse to take the money. After all, if you think all that federal spending is damaging, there are easy ways to reduce it: Don’t take federal money.” We’ll see how many uneducated poor – or, as I like to call them, Limbaugh listeners – turn out to vote for Repubs in 2010 in the areas where they looked to corporate tax cuts to help them out of the economic rut.

Bush proved what a detriment it is to cloak decision-making in political ideology alone. Data, information, logic, evidence must be understood and solutions cannot simply stand on theory – especially after the data show that theory has already failed. It is a desperate shame Republican leadership only cares about election returns and refuses to learn the lessons of the past. It seems so elementary and yet they fail to grasp the most simplest of realities. I’m sure  Republicans willing to work with Democrats, like Crist, Snowe, Spector, Collins, and all the  mayors who are seeing the jobs dry up right before their eyes will probably do okay the next election go ’round.

But with each new report about massive layoffs – that are weekly now – most Republicans will find that the only thing they know how to do, obstruct, will begin to sour among those feeling the pinch. Which is everybody. The Right wingers thought they were getting a little traction by throwing mud in Obama’s eye – but reality is hard to overcome and the Republicans have no solutions to our national problems, no helpful manners, and are making no improvements. To say they are a party of the past is putting it kindly. And I’m hoping all their bitchy congress people fail out come the end of this term.

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10
Jun
08

How Obama Can Beat McCain I: Use McCain’s Words Against Him

I have never been involved in a political campaign other than my successful run for National Junior Honor Society President and my unsuccessful shot at National Honor Society President.

Inside the Campaign?

I imagine it cannot be far from living in the eye of a hurricane 24/7, the unpredictability of embarrassing revelations or gaffes, the threat of darkening skies always looming off the horizon and the ethereal moments of clarified victory when poll numbers are favorable. The tantalizing possibilities behind voter psychology, the sea of wadded paper full of unrealized brainstorm sketches, unending analysis of electoral demographics, passionate debates, cultish ideology, coffee and Redbull, pizza and deli sandwiches, and the numbers – always the numbers. I saw War Room. I know what’s up.

Having a government degree, I’m sure I romanticize the goings on in a campaign headquarters and have considered applying my efforts to local organizations. Being in Texas, however, I’ve never quite found that candidate I could wholly support and the thought of working at a phone bank does not hit me in the sweet spot. Furthermore, I’m probably one of the least diplomatic people I know and would have a hard time maintaining that vaseline-required smile when speaking with dissenters.

So, I maintain my safe, self-indulged distance while I write commentary and opinion and shout at the television when necessary – which is a lot under the current circumstances. And I’m convinced, that an outsider’s opinion (including other outsiders, not just moi) could be a valuable asset were campaign strategists inclined to listen. The whole forest for the trees argument is applicable.

2004

I wanted to rip somebody’s arm off in 2004 when nary a Democratic ad used footage of Bush’s 2000 campaign promises – the majority of which the man reneged on, becoming the disastrous tragedy we now have before us. Need I remind anyone of the 1992 stroke of genius when Democratic strategists replayed “No New Taxes” over and over again? If speech writers comb through the archeology of presidential oratory for inspiration, why didn’t the 2004 strategists use the triumphant advertising maneuvers of yesteryear? I still believe W. could have been a one-termer had his broken campaign promises been used against him.

McCain

mccain fatface

Now Obama must turn his focus to McCain. This should be an easy one, though no one on the inside can take anything for granted, lest they find themselves confetti-free November 5. I hate negative advertising, which normally doesn’t work on educated voters, so McCain is the gift that keeps on giving because the man has already produced a library of gaffes this primary season and there’s no end in sight. Now, I’m not sure where the boundaries are, but I think ads that simply use the candidate’s words (albeit, against him) are not necessarily negative enough to turn off voters.

Here’s a recount of a few verbal missteps of McCain:

His gaffes, while funny and likely effective should they be played on a loop closer to the election, do not compare in seriousness to his policy flip-flops, which are also quite numerous:

Now, I’m not good at math, but I think – I think that’s more flip-flops than I can count on two hands. McCain makes Romney look like a party-line loyalist.

It’s quite possible that Obama’s camp is allowing the blogging, online and YouTube universe to attack McCain for him and biding time until polls dictate the right moment to release the marketing big guns. Needless to say, McCain’s own words can easily cost him the election and should be used against him relentlessly.

McCain’s folks are already taking note of the hard times these flip-flops will bring. I haven’t heard his campaign use the term “Straight Talk Express” in a while, but that’s most likely because it’s being used against him:

mccain falwell

Wow. The longer this blog goes on, the more I think, Obama – you sit this one out, we’ll take care of McCain.

I’m not saying this campaign is in the bag. Not at all. Crazy things happen in an election cycle and Obama has to be vigilant (ahem, guns-and-religion) while presenting a sincere and honest resume to the American people.

Yes, the Willie Horton ads are coming. In fact, the strategist behind the Swift Boat ads, Chris Lacivita, has already indicated he’s out for blood, saying, “We will attack Obama viciously on all fair issues, whether they are national security, whether they are taxes or the economy.”

But the Obama camp has to keep in mind: 1. The Rush Limbaugh zombies and the evangelical vote McCain is losing could cancel out any underlying racists and the bitter Hillary voters Obama could lose, 2. Democrats turned out in droves during the primaries to vote and will do so even more in the general, 3. The incumbent party has not won in recent history when the economy is in a recession, 4. Bush is an anathema across the country and McCain differs from him by about .0045 degrees.

When countering McCain, Obama should stick to the issues. Despite McCain’s questionable personal history (there’s a lot of meat there), do not launch personal attacks. Do not issue advertisements with some deep-throated, long-time smoker narrator hurling accusations at McCain and making me want to take a two-hour shower after each viewing. His camp ran an ad here in Texas with a guitar riff that was just amazing. I certainly didn’t mind seeing it over and over and over would suggest replaying it during the general. I can’t find it on Youtube, though, which really bites.

If Obama can stay positive, stay on message and build his credibility with voters by delivering specific solutions (specific being the operative word here), McCain’s words alone will do him in and the Obama camp should allow them to do so. Never has one candidate in history had so much video of his many 180’s, reneges, retreats, reversals and turnabouts. It’s a campaign goldmine.

Democrats, there should really be no excuse for a loss this year. Unless a freak, unpredictable political meteorite of untold proportions manages to sabotage this election, Obama should take this thing home handily. If it even looks questionable or like it’s slipping away, an unleashing of McCain flip-flop videos in torrential volumes will at least encourage Republicans to stay home rather than vote for a dishonorable liar. That’s right. I said it.

There’s a lot at stake here. This is the most significant election in modern history and it is of the utmost import that McCain not win. Luckily, he’s been helping us make the case against him – which I, at least, will continue to do. I will be on the lookout for the next gaffe, the next flip-flop and continue to update this post each time I spot one.

It’s our time people. With the primaries over, it’s time to get focused and get smart and get organized. We have to take our hijacked government back. This is still a representative democracy and it’s time to represent!!

UPDATE:

Latest Flip-flop: Offshore Oil Drilling

UPDATE 0723: Politico chronicles many of McCain’s gaffes (Czechoslovakia, Iraq/Pakistan Border, Sunni “Awakening” occurring after the surge) and comments on them here.




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