Soldier and Mom Reply

Good reply mom, but i would also point out that

American taxes were not meant to “redistribute the wealth”.  Taxes were implemented to meet the infrastructure needs of a civil society.

On that note, most of the examples you listed are things that should be taxed at the local or state level to meet the needs of that particular area, not redistribute.

Yes, some of the financial problems would have benefited from a lot more oversight, especially the loan insurance programs. That is why we have a flexible government, we see a problem, we take measures to correct it. It won’t get any better as technology keeps progressing, new problems that we havnt’ even thought of will happen. And we will react. Keep in mind however that the government pushed the banking industry to give sub-prime mortgages in an effort to get the poor into homeownership roles. Good intentioned idea, but great example of why “Good ideas” by the government do not always translate to smart economics.

Just because some taxation is necessary to provide social infrastructure does not mean that we should say “well, while we are at it, lets go ahead and become socialists”. Its not really “bunk” to be bought into. Its just a different philosophy. The amount of government intrusion into our lives and pocketbooks has steadily increased since Roosevelt. It would seem to me, that there should be a stopping point somewhere along the way. I know how government budgets work, if there is money there, it will be spent. It would seem to me it would be better to limit the budgets and force the programs to accomodate or become more efficient. You can see how the opposite attitude would easily lead to lots and lots of wasted money and bloated ineficiency.

Im also not sure how Kennedy plays up as this ideal to be compared to our founding fathers who would be considered Libertarians by todays standards. He was in office a very short amount of time and other than his handling of the cuban missile crisis did not accomplish very much as very few of his programs were passed by congress. Not to disparage the man, but he really was more of a romantic ideal than someone who dramatically changed society.

Worthy of note however are the facts that he proposed tax cuts, not an increase, created the space program, and, he directed the CIA to support the Baath party in Iraq as they conducted a coup against their leadership. This resulted in the executions of thousands of educated Iraqis who were suspected of being leftists based on lists given to the Baath party by our government, as well as Saddam Hussein taking over the party shortly after. This was done in order to maintain Iraq as a stable oil producing region.

He spoke well and was a very romantic figure. Inspiring as well. I would say Obama meets at least those criteria. I am not really concerned as much about those attributes though. Abe Lincoln was one ugly dude. But he did have the fortitude to see our country through its darkest hour by making cold, callous, calculating and very unpopular decisions. Also very necessary.   Anyway, you are right, there is a line to be balanced, and in the end, that is the goal of most of us in the middle of the country. For me the line is not as thin, that’s all.

Chat with you later

Mom Replies

Well Klint as usual you have some very well thought out responses, and you are taxing my brain, as I am not a trained historian, but I did live during the time periods you talked about, and have some comments based on my observations.

To start with, Kennedy may not have lived long enough to implement some of his programs, but in the short period he did have, he accomplished an amazing amount.  lf all he accomplished was the “Space Program” that would have been substantial.

His info from the CIA was apparently misleading or “warped” about Iraq, I can only say that his decisions were based on what he thought was accurate info at the time, and  history lessons have led us down a path that were twisted to say the least based on “intelligence info.”  Perhaps you have more insight into this particular matter, but it doesn’t change the outcome.

As far as my remarks about Kennedy, I was trying to capture a “feeling” at the time of his inauguration that I believe is somewhat similar to Obama’s election.  We have a  relatively young president with a young family and what appears to be some new and refreshing ideas.  Kennedy gave us that “breath of fresh air” and new ideas and hopes and  dreams that Obama seems to also have; only time will tell.

As far as taxes and redistribution, I believe by definition redistribution means to reallocate, which pretty well sums up taxes.  I do believe the military and “your salary” are funded by federal taxes, but I’m sure you can correct me if I’m wrong.

Was the government pushing the poor into home ownership based on sub-prime interest loans, or was it the lower middle class that perhaps could have used some government funding to help them into home ownership?  This is the class that is usually working with two incomes and no health care, unlike the poor (Medicare) that can walk into any medical institute and receive health care at any given time and you and I are paying for it.

I have some very bitter feelings about our health care system, and yes I am very ready for change when it comes to health care.

I believe we can take the best from all the different systems out there and make something that works so that all our citizens are covered, and if that is socialized medicine then I am all for it!   I have talked to too many individuals that have experienced “socialized medicine’ in other countries that have had wonderful outcomes to say that “it doesn’t work.”

Well those are my thoughts at the moment,

later,

luv,

Mom

Income Redistribution (Voodoo Economics -3)

In spite of the claim by advocates of Reaganomics that “the rising tide raises all ships,” the poor and middle class have seen their incomes fall during the recent economic boom.  Several policies of the “Reagan Revolution” have led to this kind of income redistribution from the poor to the rich.

The War on Unions:  Corporations are organized and the power structure is centralized; and in an economy with any substantial rate of unemployment, they have a tremendous power advantage.  Organizing and representation gave some power back to the workers.  During the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s union membership was strong enough to create a healthy middle class.  Even non-union workers benefited from the prevailing wage standards negotiated by the unions.

While many city and state governments during this period were rife with corruption, no one called for the abolition of government.  Yet anti-union forces used the fact of corruption in union leadership to discredit the concept of collective bargaining.

One of Ronald Reagan’s first acts as president was to destroy the air traffic controllers union.  Reagan had a legal and public opinion advantage in that the controllers were public employees and their strike was illegal.  Still, it was an impressive victory; people thought it couldn’t be done, because the air traffic controllers were a small corp of highly trained professionals, and the nation’s airline industry depended on their work.

The victory over this professional union emboldened private employers to break unions.  Frank Lorenzo took over Continental airlines and used the bankruptcy courts to cancel that airlines union contracts.  Now after more than thirty year of union-breaking activity, the percentage of employees in unions has fallen to 12 percent, down from 12.5 percent in 2005. Those figures are down from 20 percent in 1983 and from 35 percent in the 1950s.  (NY Times)

One union that remains strong, the teacher’s union (the NEA) is the constant target of attacks from conservatives, including candidate McCain.

Exporting Jobs. Under “free trade” agreements, factories have been closed and jobs have been shipped overseas.  According to Jim Webb of Virginia,

Because of a perverse part of our tax code, moving manufacturing plants overseas is actually a profitable exercise for companies that wish to avoid paying corporate taxes (Roanoke Times).

Much of this “free trade” is hardly free or fair.  Countries such as China are unencumbered by enforceable environmental or child labor laws.  We export jobs to China and they export smoke and smog to California.  Further, many other competing countries have national health care, in effect subsidizing one of the highest costs American manufacturers face.

The result is that the ratio of the pay CEOs receive to that of average workers has skyrocketed in comparison with our own past history and international standards.  In 2007 the compensation for top executives “averaged 344 times the average U.S. worker’s pay. Thirty years ago, the ratio was about 35 to 1″ (Kansas City Star, Thursday, Sep 25, 2008).

“According to The Wall Street Journal, in 2006, the CEO to average worker pay ratio was 11 to 1 in Japan, 15 to 1 in France, 20 to 1 in Canada, 21 to 1 in South Africa, and 22 to 1 in Britain” (Pepperdine).