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The anti-PNAC:A New Covenant with America

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posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 08:53 AM
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I dislike Robert Reich, but like Pat Buchanan, there is no denying their respective brilliance and insight on certain topics.
In this I see a pre-cursor to governance, an outline for the incoming administration, as was done by the architects of Project for a New American Century & applied to the calamity that is the current administration.

Please review and offer your thoughts:

TOPIC: A NEW COVENANT WITH AMERICA



by: Robert Reich

1. Competence. We promise America a competent government headed by people with expertise and experience. We will never appoint or confirm cronies whose main qualification for office is personal connection or party loyalty.

2. Fiscal responsibility and a capital budget. We will get the federal budget back under control by barring special spending (pork to political loyalists back home) and corporate welfare (subsidies to particular industries like agribusiness, oil, and pharmaceuticals). We will create a national capital budget so that federal construction money never again goes to bridges to nowhere in Alaska and instead goes to stronger levees in New Orleans.

3. Fighting terrorism and getting out of Iraq. We will fight terrorism with a strong military and with economic investments and aid for poor nations that are often the breeding grounds for terrorism. But we will withdraw American troops from Iraq. As even our generals now tell us, our presence there is incubating new terrorists and fomenting anti-Americanism around the world.

4. Ending torture and respecting the rule of law. We will respect the Geneva Conventions. We will never condone torture or keep people imprisoned indefinitely without due process of law.

5. Reducing oil dependence and greenhouse gases. We will reduce American dependence on oil and reduce global warming. By 2020, 20 percent of our energy will come from solar, wind, biomass, and other alternative sources. Also by 2020, America will utilize 20-percent less fuel than today.

6. Restoring the middle class. We will restore the growth of the American middle class and of middle-class incomes. Supply-side economics, which rewards the rich with generous tax breaks and tells us that the resulting economic growth will trickle down to everyone else, has proven a cruel hoax. Little or nothing is trickling down. A quarter of all the benefits of economic growth now go to the richest one-tenth of 1 percent of Americans. We are determined to reverse course.

7. A progressive tax code. The cost of making the nation's homeland secure against terrorism and natural disasters and of providing adequate health care and education -- without falling deeper into debt -- will require more federal revenue. Yet the middle class cannot afford more taxes. It's time for the rich to bear their fair share. We will impose a surtax of one-tenth of 1 percent per year on net worth in excess of $1 million and will roll back the administration's tax cuts for those earning more than $300,000 a year.

8. A minimum health-care wage. The cost of health insurance for the typical family is rising by double digits, while 46 million Americans are without insurance altogether. We will establish a simple minimum health-care wage offering basic health insurance -- one free checkup per year, five free medical visits, one free dental, choice of doctor or dentist limited to an approved list, free drugs up to $1,000 per year -- to any American wishing to join. The expected large scale of this program will give government bargaining leverage to get low prices from providers and drug companies.

9. Lifelong education through progressive vouchers and re-employment insurance. We will finance every K-14 student (that's right -- two years beyond high school) with a progressive voucher in an amount inversely related to family income. (This year, for example, it would range from $15,000 for students from families at or below the poverty line to $3,000 for students from families in the wealthiest 10 percent.) The vouchers could be used at any publicly certified school. In addition, we will turn the unemployment insurance system into a re-employment insurance system. Recipients will get job training, job-search assistance, and, if the new job pays less than the old, wage insurance paying half the difference for a year.

10. Maintain separation of church and state. We will never allow religion to dictate whether an individual must be kept on life support, young people can gain access to birth-control information or counseling, women will have the freedom to choose to terminate a pregnancy, research can be done on stem cells or any other potential scientific innovation, or public schools must teach nonscientific interpretations of sacred texts.

Robert B. Reich is co-founder of The American Prospect




posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 09:38 AM
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From my middle class perspective this looks like a ticket out of the present hell that we are in. But will the corporations allow such a thing? It certainly doesn't fit into their plans to screw the middle class & poor for the sake of corporate greed. Can someone without the backing of big business become president? I quess I'm just a little too cynical to think this would be allowed to happen.



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 09:49 AM
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I hear you, polanski. This sounds great, but the last 6 years or so have colored my enthusiam and hope for any such change. Fortunately, my hope isn't completely destroyed, though.

Bout Time, I have no idea who Robert Reich is, so I'm reading up on him. Could you say a little about why you don't like him? Thanks.



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 10:01 AM
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Not looking for a fight. But I spot a couple of problems here.

Understand I never was a fan of Reich or the administration he served.


#3. mentions "economic investment in poor countries" as a method to combat terrorism. Pardon my saying so, but this is one of the failings of liberals when it comes to dealing with terrorism. Most terrorists world-wide have not come from the poorest states, i.e. Yemen, Afghan, and Somali. Instead, the attackers of the west are largely Egyptian and Saudi, holding college degrees from western universities. While I don't doubt Reich's sincerety, I think it should be obvious that the sources of terror are predominantly ideological and not economic.

#6. "Restoring the middle class. We will restore the growth of the American middle class and of middle-class incomes." Does anyone believe that government alone has this power? Can the government create whole economic classes with the stroke of a pen. Notice that while this is a critique of Republican thinking and "failure," there's no plan for actually doing anything about it. How would they restore a supposedly shrinking middle class? Surely he doesn't mean tax cuts; so how?

#7. The language "We will impose a surtax of one-tenth of 1 percent per year on net worth in excess of $1 million" should give all non-communists pause. Reich is not talking about an income tax. He's talking about a totally new form of Tax. Income taxes, onerous as they are only tax what you made last year. What he's saying is, even if your business posted a loss for 2005, if it is worth more than a million in equipment, etc, you'll be taxed on your assests as well as wealth.

If that doesn't give you pause (it should), just remember that every tax imposted on us originally was a "tax on the rich" and was extended to all of us when Congress blew through the original windfall.



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 10:05 AM
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The title is "unfortunate" at best.

He talks about "separation of church and state," and then uses one of Jesus' own terms, A new covenant.

If he wanted to fuel conspiracy theories, a great way to do it would be to take a phrase that has a deep meaning to religious people, and make it into a political slogan.

And some people think liberals are anti-religion!!!!



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 11:07 AM
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Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
Not looking for a fight. But I spot a couple of problems here.

Understand I never was a fan of Reich or the administration he served.


#3. mentions "economic investment in poor countries" as a method to combat terrorism. Pardon my saying so, but this is one of the failings of liberals when it comes to dealing with terrorism. Most terrorists world-wide have not come from the poorest states, i.e. Yemen, Afghan, and Somali. Instead, the attackers of the west are largely Egyptian and Saudi, holding college degrees from western universities. While I don't doubt Reich's sincerety, I think it should be obvious that the sources of terror are predominantly ideological and not economic.

#6. "Restoring the middle class. We will restore the growth of the American middle class and of middle-class incomes." Does anyone believe that government alone has this power? Can the government create whole economic classes with the stroke of a pen. Notice that while this is a critique of Republican thinking and "failure," there's no plan for actually doing anything about it. How would they restore a supposedly shrinking middle class? Surely he doesn't mean tax cuts; so how?

#7. The language "We will impose a surtax of one-tenth of 1 percent per year on net worth in excess of $1 million" should give all non-communists pause. Reich is not talking about an income tax. He's talking about a totally new form of Tax. Income taxes, onerous as they are only tax what you made last year. What he's saying is, even if your business posted a loss for 2005, if it is worth more than a million in equipment, etc, you'll be taxed on your assests as well as wealth.

If that doesn't give you pause (it should), just remember that every tax imposted on us originally was a "tax on the rich" and was extended to all of us when Congress blew through the original windfall.



BH: I don't like Reich because he betrayed his friendship for his political aspirations by hoisting easily refuted arguments against his former boss, Bill Clinton. I think the book was "Locked in the Cabinet" or something. From a theory analysis standpoint relative to Labor & the disparity between Rich & Poor, he is brilliant.

Doc: you're not picking a fight; I'm glad you responded with your perspective.


"the sources of terror are predominantly ideological and not economic."

I disagree - economic disadvantage sets the marketplace in which the commerce of radical ideas and their terrorist extentions are exchanged. The very reason you quote, the relative middle class status of some suicide terrorists ( a small fraction against the total ), speaks to the existence of some sort of imperialistically derived economic and/or social imbalance being roiled against.

"Does anyone believe that government alone has this power? "

Absolutely. He's not talking about legislating into existence the Middle Class - it's already there - it's just enduring a severe lack of parity with the other two - more so with the upper class.
The Feds can set a shift in the tax burden being shouldered by the middle. The Feds can regulate price gouging of necessities ( gas/oil, insurance - medical and others, drugs, tuitions). The Feds can repeal protectionist advantages for corporations that stifle the natural competiton which leads to more innovative & better priced products/services. The Feds can make sure that over time pay is not tampered with or abolished. The Feds can abolish "sealed court files" - why should companies that make something that kills us NOT suffer economic pressure and lose market share to a competitor that doesn't?

The language "We will impose a surtax of one-tenth of 1 percent per year on net worth in excess of $1 million" should give all non-communists pause. Reich is not talking about an income tax.

Ok, on this one you're just throwing red meat on the red meat alarmist fire!


Do the math:
(1,000,000 X 1%)X 10% = $1000 per $1,000,000
What do you see as an extrodinary burden in that? Additionally, the reppeal of the +$300K tax bracket's tax break from Bush is an excellent idea - we are now and will conceivably forever be, a Consumer Supported Economy. Which are the big spenders the keep us afloat( hint: starts with 'M')? Would we benefit by putting more disposable income in their hands?

As for 'covenant', well, you can look at it like 'liberal' or 'gay' - a co-opted word that has an actual meaning that it's almost never remembered for.....we got to stop that practice!



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 11:39 AM
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Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
He talks about "separation of church and state," and then uses one of Jesus' own terms, A new covenant.


I didn't know Jesus spoke English!

Thanks Bout Time. This is a very interesting subject and one that I would love to see get more exposure. I look forward to hearing more of your take on the elements of this 'anti-PNAC'



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 12:54 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic

Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
He talks about "separation of church and state," and then uses one of Jesus' own terms, A new covenant.


I didn't know Jesus spoke English!

Thanks Bout Time. This is a very interesting subject and one that I would love to see get more exposure. I look forward to hearing more of your take on the elements of this 'anti-PNAC'


Actually, Jesus said it like this:




τουτο το ποτηριον η καινη διαθηκη εν τω αιματι μου το υπερ υμων εκχυνομενον


But I thought some of you might not be able to follow him in the original. Sorry for underestimating the board.



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 03:02 PM
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Originally posted by Bout Time
The very reason you quote, the relative middle class status of some suicide terrorists ( a small fraction against the total ), speaks to the existence of some sort of imperialistically derived economic and/or social imbalance being roiled against.


I don't see how 'b' (middle class terrorists) flows from 'a' (poverty). If it was about poverty, the attacks would be coming from Haiti and Mozambique, not Syria, Egypt and Sa'ud. But, it's not about that. It's about resurrecting the Sultanate, with a single pan-Islamist superstate that overwhelms the west. The standard of living in the Arab world is as high today as it has ever been. So, if terrorism is correlated to poverty, then we'd have nothing to worry about. Terrorism would already be on the wane . . .


Originally posted by Bout Time
The Feds can set a shift in the tax burden being shouldered by the middle. The Feds can regulate price gouging of necessities ( gas/oil, insurance - medical and others, drugs, tuitions).


I don't believe there are enough of the "super-rich" to pay for COngress' insatiable appetite. Confiscatory taxes merely remove the tax base you want to "punish," and push them down into the middle class. Then, you've got to start taxing the middle class again.

Nixon tried price controls in the early 70's. The result was stagflation, rising prices AND economic stagnation. Applying govt forces never cannot undo the more fundamental market forces. It always reduces competition, which causes even more market innefficiencies.

The rest of your ideas in that paragraph are good, and I'd vote for them. I'd also point out that none of them prefer the "middle class." They'd improve life for ALL americans, rich and poor alike. But then I believe in not playing class warfare, and trying to make one group of people ( in other words, a minority) bear most of the burden of society. That seems like the definition of unfairness.



Originally posted by Bout Time
Ok, on this one you're just throwing red meat on the red meat alarmist fire!


Do the math:
(1,000,000 X 1%)X 10% = $1000 per $1,000,000
What do you see as an extrodinary burden in that?



The problem is, its not even an income tax. It is seizing what people own merely because they own it.

Suppose I have always dreamed of opening a pretzel factory. I've saved up a million to build it. Further, lets suppose that I have the bad luck to actually run in the red for the first year. So, now I owe the govt my income tax, plus I owe a thousand bucks because I'm technically worth a million.

So, I can either borrow money from the banks (!) or sell my factory.

Which means, I can't really build my million dollar pretzel factory, I cannot hire any workers, until I have some "extra" to pay the "sin-tax" of being a technical millionaire while my factory functions.

Or, I could just go set it up in mexico.

Hmmmm. which will I choose????


My point is, taxing wealth instead of income even if it doesn't kill the golden goose of capitalism outright, makes for a slightly more hostile business environment, and drives people away from becoming entreprenuers.

entreprenuers are that vaunted Middle Class by the way.

So instead of building it, you'd be holding it down.



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 03:49 PM
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Poverty is the starter to any discussion on the root cause of terrorism; it's the root cause of all historical upheavals in civilization.
The religious angle is an accelerant to the already burning fire of poverty. The standard of living you think, is higher for al classes today in these problem areas? I disagree. The 18-30 demographic unemployment rate is seriously double digit in all areas of problem.

The proposed tax, like anything else, needs a detailed breakdown to be accurately debated. But, I disagree with the assessments that we 1) "Lack enough rich" and 2) "It will push them down to the middle class"

I nor Reich are a proponent of price controls, which is arbitrarily fixing a point on the scale. I was talking about unregulated price gouging; and I think it obvious that there is colusion occuring now because of those lack of controls.

Nobody juggling a cool million in assests is tanking the business because of a $1K tax note!!

My solution, which was also Kerry's solution and one I detailed/mapped out in the 2004 Political Platform forum, is to collect what we already have an infrastructure for: unpaid corporate taxes, as well as the elmination of off shore registry to avoid US corp. taxes.
We can, with that alone, have NATIONAL HEALTH COVERAGE + 4 YEARS OF HIGHER EDUCATION for every American.



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 04:35 PM
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Originally posted by Bout Time
Poverty is the starter to any discussion on the root cause of terrorism; it's the root cause of all historical upheavals in civilization.
The religious angle is an accelerant to the already burning fire of poverty. The standard of living you think, is higher for al classes today in these problem areas? I disagree. The 18-30 demographic unemployment rate is seriously double digit in all areas of problem.


I disagree with you here. It is the classical liberal stance that all upheavals are rooted in economics. I happen to disagree with the notion. When I say liberal, I'm talking about the sense in which the Enlightenment was a liberal movement. Defenders of the enlightenment have always had a problem with the idea that people can actually be motivated by religious fervor. I don't expect to change your opinion on the topic.

I think my view is born out by a close analysis of the economic situation in the Arab world. The Gaza strip has horrendous unemployment. But that's not where the terrorists come from. Even many of Israel's attackers are Egyptian nationals. The unemployment rate in Egypt is 11%

www.factmonster.com....

In the Gaza strip, it's 60%
english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/ 19DEF0D3-AA09-4F90-AA5A-262A57F8BC74.htm

Yemen = 35%
Niger = > 60% (estimate)
Haiti = > 66% (estimate)

Even the attack on US interests which took place in Yemen was perpetrated by Saudi nationals.

As for the other two, which are considered probably the two poorest states on the planet, one is Muslim and the other is Christian. NIETHER of them is a noted source of terrorism, internally or externally.

So apparently, terrorism is better correlated with religious extremism than with economics.



Originally posted by Bout Time
I nor Reich are a proponent of price controls . . . it obvious that there is colusion occuring now because of those lack of controls.


So, are you against them, but think we need them?




Originally posted by Bout Time
Nobody juggling a cool million in assests is tanking the business because of a $1K tax note!!


If a small-time rancher, whose 1000 acres of Texas scrub-land that he inherited from his grandad, needs improvement, and has a tax bill of a dollar an acre per year, it will mean that he cannot rent it out at a competitive price, AND that his banker will have a thousand more reasons not to give him a loan to ranch it himself.

Is that rancher rich? a thousand acres of texas scrub will probably support 20 - 25 cow/calf pairs, which will barely feed your family.

Maybe he should just sell the land to his rich neighbor right? What was that again, you were saying something about the middle class being in trouble . . .
puz:



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 05:07 PM
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Religion is the motivator for those economically mobile enough to "represent" the disenfranchised , e.g. the poor.
Those economically mobile are brought into the movement thru religion; the movement is started because of a lack of basic necessities ( Maslow Hierarchy of Needs), with the "shelter" component being tied to religion. There would be no terror if those areas you outlined had single digit unemployment because radicalism, religious or otherwise, would find it impossible to gain a footing.

Take the quote in full context:



I nor Reich are a proponent of price controls, which is arbitrarily fixing a point on the scale. I was talking about unregulated price gouging; and I think it obvious that there is colusion occuring now because of those lack of controls.


Meaning, because we've reppealed oversight of the Pharma/Insurance/Oil industries, we have colusions by these industries in setting prices artificially high. Furthermore, the campaign contribution leaders are also the "winners" of sole source contracting and "research grants" from our government, further eroding price competition to the consumer.

Maybe we're off track, though. But is it your contention that the Middle Class is not under duress and that the Upper Class has garnered tremendous benefits, particularly in the last 5 years?



posted on Nov, 15 2005 @ 06:13 PM
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You still haven't convinced me that terrorism is caused by poverty. I think I've laid out a compelling ad hoc case for terrorism being correlated with an fundamentalist Islam, rather than either poverty or wealth, or with high unemployment.

Reich imagines that the world is a nice, neat, bookkeeper's paradise, where all human problems can be solved by redistributing the wealth, and simply throwing money at the problems.

Again, not using "liberal" as a pejorative, but since many classical liberals are not motivated at their core by religious impulses, they imagine that no one else is, either. It is a special form of prejudice to assume that other people want what I want, and are motivated by the same drives that impel me on my life's course.

But let's let it lie. Suffice it to say I think money didn't cause terrorism, and money won't end it. You disagree, and we are both sufficiently convinced of our own opinions so as to leave little room for conversational progress on that front.

On to the next concept:


Originally posted by Bout Time

Maybe we're off track, though. But is it your contention that the Middle Class is not under duress and that the Upper Class has garnered tremendous benefits, particularly in the last 5 years?


I think the middle class is under duress, all right. My concern is that the kind of tax legislation I see coming from Reich confuses entrepenuers with RICH PEOPLE.

I think the rancher I mentioned is a perfect example. (A classmate from high school that I worked for, for a while after college. Although his land is worth ~ a million dollars on paper, he's lucky if he makes $35,000 a year before taxes. Renting the land for the Summer should bring ~ 16 - 20 dollars an acre. Another dollar an acre (to pay his "reich tax") could price him out of the market, as would-be renters sought cheaper land.

As always, it is Large Corporations who are best able to shoulder complicated and ever-changing tax laws. And the edge this gives corporations amounts to the actual source of much of the pressure on the middle class.

As the excellent book The Millionaire Next Door (www.amazon.com... 04-7704424-5376725?v=glance) pointed out, most people who become millionaires do so be becoming self-employed. And when the government makes that difficult, fewer people can become affluent.

Most of the tax structures designed by democrat administrations (i.e., the one Reich worked for) tend to punish the mom & pop business owners in America; in other words, the middle class.

While I disagree with the Bush administration's tax plan. I understand what bush was working at.

One of the fundamental economic problems is getting the rich to invest their money actively. The problem with America in the last 20 years is that the business climate is so harsh, it is easier to sell your business, and live off of a CD. Millions of rich people are doing just that. Because it is safer than risking your capital in the business world.

Look again at my rancher friend. His wife is always pointing out that if he sold the ranch, they could make the same income off of a treasury bill, and the income would be guaranteed. He wouldn't have to worry about the price of diesel, the price of beef, or filling out W-2 forms on the teenagers that work for him on the weekends.

America is in trouble because of this reality. It is easier to close your business, and go live in Belize, than it is to risk getting sued or going broke. If his wife ever gets his way, they will be much more secure.

On the other hand a couple of high school kids will be out of a job. Fewer ranching supplies sold by the local feed & seed store. The local equipment dealer find it a little harder, and maybe thinks about dumping his business into a CD or money market account, etc.

Bush was trying to make it so that "millionaires" like my friend would want to stay in business, instead of "cashing out" and leaving the marketplace, only to be replaced by large corporations. Now, I don't think Bush did a great job of doing this (or of explaining it to voters). But there IS something wrong when people are safer living in a condo at the beach than they are trying to produce goods and services for the american consumer.

As is typical of so many democrat proposals, Reich's "sounds good" because it seems like it's punishing the rich. But in reality, it doesn't affect Bill Gates nearly as much as it does farmers, small-time miners and store-front shopkeepers, the people who are already "living on the edge" with their business plans.

And you'd be surprised how, in high overhead businesses like farming, restaurant, and clothing retail, a thousand dollars can make the difference between hiring one more employee and saying "screw it, Helen; let's just sell the store and move to florida."



posted on Nov, 16 2005 @ 07:39 AM
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The tread that was posted here was supossed to be posted elsewhere. My sincere apologies.

[edit on 16-11-2005 by polanksi]



posted on Nov, 16 2005 @ 08:32 AM
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I don't think we're as far a part as you think on the poverty question; my positions is that, relative to terrorism, poverty/nationalism/tribalism/religion all go hand in hand. I just come from the postion that if there is a fair days wages, clothing for the kids, some extra for sweets and a chicken in the pot every night, it's damn near impossible to get that person to abandon their family and be what some zealot on the next block over considers a "soldier of God".


Originally posted by dr_strangecraft

Most of the tax structures designed by democrat administrations (i.e., the one Reich worked for) tend to punish the mom & pop business owners in America; in other words, the middle class.


I disagree completely and I do so from personal experience. I started my company in 1993 and flourished during the Clinton years, experiencing expansion and triple digit growth several times over. ( note: I'm an advocate of the 'No Nutz, No Glory' mindset - it doesn't matter who's in office, just a ratio of effort to reward shift with the proper leadership enabling the right conditions).
The Republican misconception is now and has always been the Trickle Down - affluent folks invest, business expands, people advance.
Not true. The affluent invest is a myriad of financial vehicles today that erase the early 20th century model - where stocks were KING and it, the investments, translated directly to a company's bottom line.
The biggest driver of modern business relative to employees is the utilization factor - how much can be done with the least headcount. It's been displayed to near demonic levels with this Republican Super Majority hold all 3 Branches.....employee headcounts are severely down while record profits have been garnered and real incomes have stagnated.
There is near nothing of value in the Bush Tax plans for entrepeneurs like myself - when the talk about "helping business", the word "small" never enters the conversation. They exclusively talk about big business and think that "small" business is to thrive off of what BIG business sub contracts to us.
But, I think taxes take a back seat to the real issue - a strong economy based in reality. Record bonuses for Wall St. is not a strong economy. Record profits for Pharma & Energy is not a strong economy. It's literally STEROID MUSCLE, not power lifter muscle. Workers increase their standard of living and Entrepeneurs make money in a strong economy. Tax parity, one that allots for the real world money outlays people endure, is what I'm an advocate of.....the Bush plan classifed Lynn Cheney as a "small business" for Christs sake!


Here are two groups I'm happy to be a member of and can explain my position on much of this:

UFE - United for a Fair Economy

Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities



posted on Nov, 16 2005 @ 11:35 AM
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Originally posted by Bout Time
I don't think we're as far a part as you think on the poverty question; my positions is that, relative to terrorism, poverty/nationalism/tribalism/religion all go hand in hand. I just come from the postion that if there is a fair days wages, clothing for the kids, some extra for sweets and a chicken in the pot every night, it's damn near impossible to get that person to abandon their family and be what some zealot on the next block over considers a "soldier of God".


I could say the opposite. That once a guy has taken care of his family's daily bread, he moves up maslow's hierarchy of needs, and says "now what?" He looks to self actualize himself. Depending on the religious milieu, it may mean a Hajj to Mecca, a stint in a Madrassa, seminary, or taking up the crusader's cross, or shouting "Jihadna!" as he swings a scimitar and leaps into the infidel throngs. Any way you slice it, he's acting based on conviction, not economics.

I am a securities trader. I've spent a fair amount of time researching market crashes and wars. Most people think we have a market crash after a major war. What I have found to be the case, is that people declare war after recovering from a major crash or recession. In other words, crowds' willingness to fight is an expression of their belief that they are on the upswing as a culture. For instance . . .

The civil war in 1861 marked a recovery from a major market crash in 1857. Germany actually began annexing territory in 1938, A mere 3 years after currency stabilization. America didn't enter the war until the stock market had returned to the levels of Summer '29. Our Entry in Vietnam came after a mild recession in 1964. Heck even the American revolution followed a dearth in the whole decade of the 1760's. If you think about it, much of the American revolution was conducted as guerilla warfare. (Boston Tea Party, Green Mtn. Boys, etc.) Maybe confidence in your tribe's future impels people toward violence.

***

I have worked extensively in agricultural and petroleum futures. For the last quarter century, businesses in those industries have been hanging on to solvency by a thread. Farming is probably better now than it has been since before Carter took office. You can say that the Republican deconstruction of socialized farming had absolutely nothing to do with it, buy you won't find many (any?) farmers who will agree. In the area where I did ranch work after college, there was originally only one republican at the local cafe. Now, there are NO democrats, even when the reps gripe about Bush.

Likewise the oil business. The only part of petroleum that most people think of are their local gas station, their utility bills, and the "Big Oil" on the evening news. What they don't see is that most of the natural gas in America comes off of someone's farm. Generally, that farmer has less that 5 wells; usually only one. Same with crude. Most of the people whom I work with are producers with an average of 3 crude wells.

Part of the reason we had a crude shortage until this fall is that a lot of wells were shut off and sealed in the 1990's. While businesses like yours prospered, the petroleum industry was crumbling, because costs exceeded profits. Those costs were largely taxes and the cost of conforming to EPA regulation. There were a lot of mergers in "big oil" back then. Exxon/Mobil. Texaco/phillips. Diamond shamrock, etc. They weren't merging because they were raking it in; they were merging as big chunks of the industry went bankrupt.

I've posted on another PTS thread, in response to a "dubious refinery" thread. I talk some about the free market in oil, and how the real hold up is refining.

And the reason for that hold-up is government regulation. That regulation is not there to "preserve" a free market, but rather to put govt controls on every part of the refining business. Refining in this country is basically fascist, in the sense that it is state controlled and reflects big business. And both parties have made it that way.

While you claim that republicans have only benefitted the superrich, I can point to small business people who have been greatly helped by recent changes in the tax code.

As far as Bush helping "big oil," that assertion makes me wonder a couple of things.

1. If oil profits are too high right now, what is a "reasonable" profit? Are they entitled to ANY profit?

2. Exxon posted earnings of billions, but those billions only work out to $2.11 a share for this past year. Should we go after EVERY company that made over $2 a share in earnings, or only the OIL companies that do so???

3. Do you think that government profit controlls will make US oil more or less competitive?

4. Do you expect that government regulations will make gas cheaper at the pump?

5. Do you believe that having enough refined product at the pumps will drive the price down? If you believe it is a question of supply, then what should the govt be doing to increase supply????

6. The most telling question of all: Do you want higher prices for consumers, in an effort to get them to use less?



posted on Nov, 17 2005 @ 10:40 AM
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The wars cited had nothing to do with the confidence in the tribes future. The Industrial/Military Complex is not a new thing. Wars are often started in response to an economic issue - the recession created by the talking down of the economy by the front runner presidential candidate and was born in March of 2001 was more of a reason for our recent military misadventures than anything else, regardless of how it's dressed up.
The American Revolution was all about a hostile business split - that tea dumped in Boston Harbor was undercutting the domestic product to which each of those "indians" had a business interest in.


1. If oil profits are too high right now, what is a "reasonable" profit? Are they entitled to ANY profit?

Of Course they are, the shifting bogey is "reasonable", isn't it? Price gouging of a required resource is not reasonable and that is what has to be investigated.

2. Exxon posted earnings of billions, but those billions only work out to $2.11 a share for this past year. Should we go after EVERY company that made over $2 a share in earnings, or only the OIL companies that do so???

That is misleading. Exxon posted a $10 Billion quarterly NET PROFIT, an AMERICAN RECORD in any industry, and just one in line of consecutive quarters. Earnings & net profits are different things, as you know.
Exxon should be called upon to expand via those consecutive record profits their refinery capablities, absolutely. Refusal to do so should incur a WindFall Tax otherwise. You also know that there Exploration and Refining Units also saw multi-billion $$ net profits - so the argument of old fields or old refineries is somewhat moot.


3. Do you think that government profit controlls will make US oil more or less competitive?

Against who? We are talking ( you would know more than I ) "free hand" for the US Multi-national energy giants vs. State Run with the rest, no?
I'm an Adam Smith-er at heart, but I strongly beleive we do too little consumer protection by enabling so much of a hands off stance towards the Big Business vs. Consumer ratios.


4. Do you expect that government regulations will make gas cheaper at the pump?

Less than if we managed demand much more agressively via the Strategic Oil Reserves. SOR is a joke and a boondoggle. If we had CITIZEN ADVOCATES instead of BIG BUSINESS ADVOCATES running our government, we'd use our massive consumption to effect supply & price.

5. Do you believe that having enough refined product at the pumps will drive the price down? If you believe it is a question of supply, then what should the govt be doing to increase supply????

Limit demand, as noted above.

6. The most telling question of all: Do you want higher prices for consumers, in an effort to get them to use less?

Incomplete question. Try this: "Do you want higher prices for consumers, in an effort to get them to use less and adopt alternative options"?

Yes, I do


We as a world power got that way through innovation and being out in front. We should be at the forefront of alternative energy and creating the industry on a global scale that will cement our economic future. Our govenrment can mandate it, but doesn't, because the money infrastructure around the old ways is big name famalies & generations old and all too powerful.



posted on Nov, 17 2005 @ 12:26 PM
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So, is this right?

1. You think gas should be expensive, in order to suppress demand.

2. Then, even if oil companies were simply producing what you see as a laudable result (high costs), they should still be stripped of their profits???

3. You think that, even though gas should be expensive, that the extra money should go to the government instead of the business-people who actually invested money in retrieving and processing the oil.

4. Big Oil should be forced to build new refineries, even though the EPA and state governments will not allow any new ones to be built, nor any expansion of existing facilities.

5. Basically, even though there are competing vendors of the end product (a gas station on every corner), and government already controls how quickly and how much vendors are allowed to adjust prices up or down, you believe that businesses should still be subject to confiscation of revenues, when the consumers willingly bought the product in the first place?

6. The oil companies should be viewed as "against competition," even though it is government regulation, and not lack of access to crude, that prevents you or anyone else from going into the oil business.

7. You believe that, even though the price of both crude oil AND gasoline are determined by open outcry in a live, transparent daily auction in New York City, that it is "Big Oil" rather than speculators, who are guilty of "gouging."

8. Even though no one is willing to give a precise definition of price gouging, we all know it when we see it. So, no company, in or out of the oil business, can measure it so as to avoid gouging. They will just have to factor it in to the cost of doing business, that their profits may be confiscated by the government at a later date.

9. It is a laudable precedent for business in the USA, that if corporation or person makes a lot of money quickly, that they should expect the government to try and sieze it.

10. That it is the republicans, and not the anti-entreprenurial attitudes embodied in this list, that are responsible for the shrinking middle (entreprenurial) class.


How am I doing so far?






posted on Nov, 17 2005 @ 02:02 PM
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How am I doing so far?


Not too sure

Seems we've veered severely off of the thread into a defense of Exxon making obscene profit during an administration when a tailor made energy policy was thrown to them and how that somehow is good for my small business or entrepeneurs overall, as if we're on equal footing?
I won't put words in your mouth like it seemed you did for me above, but that seems to be your take - that the tax codes and trade policies of this administration represent a massive improvement over the previous?

I know there were originally points you contended, but what's your alternative on those themes?


[edit on 17-11-2005 by Bout Time]



posted on Nov, 18 2005 @ 02:09 PM
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Originally posted by Bout Time

[are] . . . the tax codes and trade policies of this administration represent a massive improvement over the previous?



Well, in the previous administration, we saw the "other Robert," (secretary of US treasury) Robert Rubin, design the largest bailout of a foreign economy by U.S. taxpayers.

Rubin, a 26 year veteran and ultimately co-chairman of investment Firm Goldman Sachs put together a 9 billion dollar gift from the US to Mexico to shore up the Peso, including a 3 billion dollar loan from 10 US banks, guaranteed by the dept. of Treasury. The biggest to "author" a loan was, of course, Goldman Sachs.

Goldman Sachs had massive long positions in the Mexican Bolsa (stock market) and they were long billions of pesos worth only a tenth of their former value. The bailout was only temporarily successful--just long enough for the peso to go high enough for Goldman and other big banks (Citibank, B of A) to liquidate their peso holdings at a small loss.

Rubin, who had been gone from Goldman Sachs less than a year when he was tapped to become the new secretary of the treasury, set up the bailout at taxpayer expense.

He resigned as treasurer less than a month later, amidst talk of a congressional investigation that never materialized.

Robert Rubin biography (dept of Treasury)
"A fistful of Pesos"

So, which is worse, propping up big banks, or propping up big oil? I think it's a tough call. One I'm not willing to make.




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