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  •  Very Serious Tom Brokaw on MTP says that $250k is (82+ / 0-)

    not very much income in some places (especially if you pay $60K for two kids in college and have aging parents to care for). All I can say is that Brokaw is an idiot.

    First $250k is a lot of income -- anywhere. Even in Manhatten.

    Second, if college cost is a problem, ler's just make sure that rich folks can continue to send their kids (on a cash basis). I helped two through college (and have a bigger mortgage to prove it). Aging parents? Been  there, done that. So, again VS Tom says let's make sure we take care of rich people (even as it means defunding Medicaid). VS Tom, wouldn't it be better to make public policy that helps everyone meet these family responsibilities, not just your 1% friends?

    Very Serious Tom Brokaw says something that is (1) not true, and (2) one of the more stupid things said in the class five stupid storm that is Meet the Press -- and no one other Very Serious pundit challenges it. WTF!? (And what's the deal with Doris Kearns Godwin? Was "Democrqt" Joe LIEberman unavailable to provide some balance?)

    We'll have to leave it there, folks. And we'll be back after this word from our mega-corporation sponsor.

    Let us not pretend our sorrow in this moment means a damn thing or changes a damn thing, because it doesn’t and won’t. -- Leonard Pitts

    by RudiB on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 07:17:45 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Brokaw forgets that there is no increase on $250K (40+ / 0-)

      Even on $300K Obama's bill doesn't increase taxes a lot.

      People get out of touch, even Tom Brokaw with his midwestern brother.

      Americans can make our country better.

      by freelunch on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 07:27:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And yet not a peep about UE running out (36+ / 0-)

      or foodstamp cuts. Yea, a big fucking shout out to Brokaw for swallowing a load of GOP bullshit on an extra 3-4% tax hike on folks making MORE than 250K. BROKAW YOU STUPID MOTHERFUCKER, IT'S ONLY ON THE PORTION OF INCOME ABOVE 250k!!!

      sigh. They are both lazy and incompetent. And they really don't give a shit except for how their ratings come out.

      "Too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others" Robert F. Kennedy

      by realwischeese on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:01:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What Brokaw (16+ / 0-)

      was saying is that if you have a family making 250,000 a year, and they have to pay for college (ie., no need-based scholarships) out of pocket, it puts them way below the 250K mark.  

      We had to pay cash for our kids.  We had 7 years of college & grad school for one.  4 years for the other.  Each kid was 50K per year - that's after taxes, keep in mind.  

      So if you make 250,000 per year, and pay 50% in taxes, you're left with 125,000 net.  Then you subtract 100,000 college tuitions, you're left with 25,000 net to pay for expenses.

      I'm not whining or anything, but for that period of time, you sure as heck don't feel rich, rolling in your $25,000 after tax riches.

      What Brokaw didn't say, but which I will now, is that that's why the "lower level rich" have to be careful to save a lot of money beforehand.  It's not like your kids' going to college is a big surprise or anything.  Then afterwards, once they're out of college, you're back making a lot of money.  So the pain is there, but it's shortlived, as long as you manage it correctly.  

      I'm perfectly happy paying a higher tax rate.  I get it.  I voted for it, I support it.  

      •  Presumably... (28+ / 0-)

        ... you had a few years to plan.  If someone making $250K per year can't figure out how to squirrel away some cash for college on a consistent basis for ten years before college costs start rolling in, well, they probably don't deserve to be making that kind of money.

        Besides, do you really pay 50 percent of income in taxes?  Get a new accountant.

        •  My thoughts exactly (19+ / 0-)

          I don't by that argument.  First of all top tax rate is what, 34%? 31%?  Certainly not near 50%.  2nd, you can always either a) go to cheaper colleges, or b) get student loans, or c) some combination of both.  

          My parents made less than $30,000 and I managed to get through 4 years of college by going to a State college, busting my ass to get a scholarship (and I realize that not everyone can get scholarships), and taking out student loans for what the scholarship didn't cover.  

          The Girl Who Loved Stories
          I’m a feminist because the message is still "don’t get raped" not "don’t rape"

          by Avilyn on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:45:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Similar story here (5+ / 0-)

            My parents weren't quite as poor as yours (teacher and social worker) but they did make me cover a significant portion (more than half) of my education.  If they had paid for it all, they wouldn't be comfortably retired now so it's all cool with me.  

            Seriously, who says it's bad to make kids pay for a chunk of their own educations?  Paying for mine made me appreciate it a lot more, and it took a huge burden off my parents.  Through busting my ass and frugality, I paid off my student loans within (IIRC) five years of graduating. It's called being an adult.  Kids today are way too coddled.

            •  I agree somewhat, but (6+ / 0-)

              honestly, I'd prefer higher education be free to anyone qualified for it.  I mean, I was lucky - I worked hard in high school and made the grades that qualified for scholarship.  But what if I'd only been an average student?  Or what if I was a good student but my SAT scores were under where they needed to be for a scholarship because I suck at standardized tests?  Or even if competition was a little stronger, so good student aside, there were some who were better?  Education more than pays for itself by having a more educated populace with higher earnings; it should be a no brainer to make it free or at least very heavily subsidized with grants so that anyone and everyone can go.

              The Girl Who Loved Stories
              I’m a feminist because the message is still "don’t get raped" not "don’t rape"

              by Avilyn on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:55:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, I absolutely agree (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Avilyn

                The system as it exists places a horrible burden on middle class people.  I agree 1000 percent that education at all levels should be free to anyone who qualifies (and not available at any price to those who don't, e.g., a certain former president, but I digress...).

                In the world as it is, however, I don't think it unreasonable for a middle class family to ask their students to shoulder some of the load.  University is not summer camp.

          •  Tax rate of 50%? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sidnora, realwischeese, NYCee

            Maybe if you and your spouse are both self-employed, and paying about 15% FICA and Medicare taxes. Mortgage interest deduction should provide significant shelter, unless your home if fully paid for. In which case, just cry me a river.

            I, and my kids too, worked to pay the way through school (state university). Not everyone can get a scholarship, but everyone I know can find a work-study arrangement.

            Did you ver notice how har it is totype accurately on an iPad?

            by RudiB on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 12:08:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Charlie - some of those families had (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MPociask, realwischeese

          children in private school at $25K a year per child before they went to college. If that's the case they may not have been able to put away as much as they wanted to prepare for college expenses.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:57:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  ummm, yeah (5+ / 0-)

          that's what this meant:  

          What Brokaw didn't say, but which I will now, is that that's why the "lower level rich" have to be careful to save a lot of money beforehand.  It's not like your kids' going to college is a big surprise or anything.
          I guess I should say thanks for repeating my exact point without appearing to have read it.

          The 50% income level takes into account all taxes, state local and SS.  Just as everyone always notes, the 47% who "pay no taxes" always pay taxes. Just may not be federal income tax.  Well, people with higher income pay those taxes also - but they pay at a lower rate, since they're stopped at the 90K level for SS.

          My property taxes are huge.  A 250,000 house around here pays over 8,000 in state and local taxes before they even think about federal taxes.

          Again, I'm not whining.  I know I'm better off than a huge chunk of Americans.  I'm grateful we have what we have.  That's why I'm a progressive, I support higher taxes, and I am a big proponent of a much higher minimum wage.

          •  It's not 50 percent of gross, no way (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BYw

            Unless your accountant is an idiot, you're not paying 50 percent of your income in taxes, even accounting for state and local taxes.  Maybe if you drink a ton of booze and smoke a ton of tobacco, you could get close to 50 percent since those are the only things taxed at that level, but if that's the case, your problems are bigger than your effective tax rate.

            You get a deduction for your kids, a deduction for your house payment, plus all kinds of deductions that are generally not available to people making under a hundred grand.  I'm not being snarky when I say you need a new accountant.

            Anyway, thanks for being a progressive. :)

            •  That is just not true. (0+ / 0-)

              If you're paid a salary, people making 250K get the same type of deductions available to people making less.  There's no special "gee you make a lot of money special deduction" available to salaried employees.

              The special deductions come in when a) you're self employed or own a corporate business.  Then you can try to claim deductions for cars, deferred stock, or a bunch of other things. ; or b) you make so much money you can use those weird tax avoidance schemes that us working folks don't even begin to understand, like the passive incomes, or Cayman Islands, etc.

              There is also the lower capital gains rate, but that is not related to your income level.  So it only applies if you're able to buy stocks, but is not specific to people making more than 250.

          •  Not to argue but you then pay less in Federal (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hayden, CharlieHipHop

            taxes since real estate taxes are deductible so essentially those of us with lower property taxes are subsiding your taxes.  We all pay too much in taxes for what we get.  We should have gold plated infrastructure, fully subsidized gold plated public education through college among many other things.  What we have instead is a bloated military, a bloated government, a broken healthcare system.....and I could go on.  We are a mess and I see no way out.

            •  Not really. (4+ / 0-)

              You would subsidize property taxes only if mine were deductible on the federal returns, and yours weren't.   Otherwise, that part of it is simply even steven.

              Tax subsidies occur where small business owners have their businesses buy their cars, then write them off as a deductible expense.  

              The real subsidy occurs when people making over 90,000 don't pay more ss into the system.  So the percentage of withholding is much higher for those making less than 90,000.

              A lot of your other points are really well taken.  Bloated healthcare?  Check out what the CEO of your local hospital makes.  My local hospital pays its CEO 5 freakin million dollars.  That's ridiculous.  And since it's a not for profit and therefore doesn't pay taxes, we taxpayers subsidize his salary!

              •  You sound like a reasonable progressive... (0+ / 0-)

                Who has done well, although you arent "filthy rich" by any means.

                It's just that it really ticks people off to hear about how rough it is to hand over the very best in higher education, including grad school, to your kids, etc, on 250K. I dont think you mentioned public schools for your kids, so there perhaps you also paid for private elementary - high school. Also, is that combined income or is that just you, with a spouse adding to the pool?

                Thing is, the pundits, like Joe Scarborough, who now lives in Manhattan (and makes 6 million annual salary, google tells me, net worth, $18 mil) love to casually toss off how folks dont get how $250 K is a  middle class salary if you live in Manhattan. It is NOT. But no one around his table ever contradicts that message.

                He now appears to have morphed into a more "moderate" Brokawish run of the mill talking head on tax policy, as in, "Give the little people a little more, shave a few points off for the wealthy - I can sign off on that." Guess being out of office and being paid a grand salary for bantering around the Starbucks every morning has softened him up, so to speak.

                But it is at that "softened, moderate, reasonable" point, that folks get really screwed. That is the message that is massaged into people constantly by mainstream media and pols, et al - the "most liberal" ones they allow to sit around those tables. They may have on a Bernie Sanders or Paul Krugman once in a while to punctuate their ever-flowing current of "moderate consent" with a couple of slap-back waves, a little momentary chop in the waters, but it is so little, so infrequently, that it easily gets smoothed back into the main flow. At the Joe Scarborough table, no one ever contradicts his message. (Yes, I turn on that ridiculous banter as I get ready for work. It is so boring, it allows me to focus on what I need to do to get ready for the day.)

                So, point taken on Manhattan, Joe Scarborough - I live here - it is very expensive to live here when it comes to rent or mortgage. (Although you can save a lot on gas and car expenses, not having to have one to get around) but not so expensive that it makes a screaming hill of beans of a difference if the tax rate jumps up a few percentage points on income above 250 K. And not so expensive that folks who live here on such a salary arent doing very well - ie, the way most who set their sights on a comfortable middle class life aspire to live. Very comfortably. Comfortably enough, too, to have options if living in Manhattan is just too pricey for them. Manhattan is a bitch for the struggling middle class, no doubt. Point being, 250K is not the struggling middle class here, either.

                I imagine folks like Joe, the wealthy 1%, do see $250K as a rough and tumble place to be. That is the problem. Most all of these talking media heads are millionaires - Brokaw, Gregory, et al. From their ultra lux perches, fabulous comfort, $250K for the middle class in Manhattan (or San Francisco, etc) looks like a very undesirable place to be. And yet they are the ones given the keys to the talk tables and podiums, to set the narrative of who we are and how we are to live... and think.

                The problem is we are inundated with the Gregorys, Brokaws, the Joes - these extraordinary Joes (and "Janes," i.e., Mikas) on a continual loop. We see them at the table, along with their cheerful politician pals, all echoing each other or arguing at the very edges of what matters to give the illusion of a real democracy in action, all mushing into that palatable pablum, creating the story line of "What Is," in America.

                It's like how they never ever mention the "Others" death toll (e.g., Iraquis). That is going way off the reservation. Only mention of our American soldiers' death and suffering is allowed, and even that, sparingly. (How else could they keep us stupid enough to support stupid, immoral wars?) They play the game so well. They know the rules, the rules that make them rich and famous. There are so many "unwritten rules" that might as well be stamped over every surface in the studios they are sent to us from (and the halls of power in DC), because they are so ironclad and so propagandistically ever-present.

        •  Planning is key (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue jersey mom, ConfusedSkyes

          that's why my mother insisted we start savings accounts for our boys as soon as we received their Social Security numbers.  She had very little, but gave them each college money for birthdays and Christmas until she passed away when they were still quite young. (She also gave them small but loving gifts to unwrap, BTW.) We continued with special gifts in her memory, along with the 529 accounts we set up when they became available.

          We insisted on the same with the birth of our first grandchild. Granted that interest rates are minimal now - it is still an important habit to establish from the very beginning.

          The truth always matters.

          by texasmom on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:47:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Shall we take up a collection (9+ / 0-)

        for you since you suffered so, making more than what, 95% of wage earners?

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:50:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  so don't send your kids to college for 7 yrs (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bleeding blue, sidnora, chimene

        make them work and pay part. Make them get at least some loans. Make them go to community college the first 2 yrs, which can save a boatload of money, especially if they need any remedial stuff before they hit the big schools.

        I can understand wanting to give your kids the best you can. I totally understand that. But there comes a point where they have to take at least some responsibility for their lives, and paying at least some of the cost of college is part of that, imho.

      •  It sounds as if you were paying private school (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BYw

        tuition, that was a personal choice and really nice if you can make it work but please don't tell anyone that being able to do it doesn't make you EXTREMELY well off.  You are at 5x's the average income.  

      •  At Least You Eat... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ferg, shaharazade

        At $250K you really don't have to think very hard about what you buy in the grocery store every week.  At $50K?  (Newsflash pundit assholes:  $50k is near USA median family income)

        You're thinking chicken leg quarters at best and maybe a big meal: london broil.  You're thinking the car needs new tires and you're fucked for a month in the spare change dept.

        Sorry, if you can't make ends meet and sleep at night on $250K you need to look in the mirror because you're the problem.  What are you living in?  What are you driving? ... and plenty more where those 2 no-brainers come from.

        And the next time some smooth talking GOP asshole decides what the country needs is a tax break, two wars, and the biggest expansion of gov't in a generation, we're no allowed to piss and moan about the consequences when the next guy inherits the fucking fiscal mess.

      •  My parents (0+ / 0-)

        wouldn't pay ANY of my college tuition. Dad didn't feel like he could afford it, and maybe he couldn't; I'm not sure what his income was, but I know it wasn't very high. So I had to work for a few years between high school and save, take out student loans on my own (and thank God for Pell grants!), get on the work study program at my college (which actually gave me some valuable work experience), and I went to a state college, though not in my own state. It took me until I turned 50 to pay off those student loans, but I paid off every penny!

        •  Not to denigrate your achievement, but (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chantedor, chimene, shaharazade

          you shouldn't have to be paying off student loans at 50. It may sound like pie in the sky, but my education was free. All the way from K to college graduation. I went to a public college for which I had to qualify, but it's not like I needed to be a genius, I was about a B+ or so.

          Odd jobs, living at home, and a very small state scholarship took care of books, materials and personal expenses.

          I got a pretty good education, too. That was quite doable 50 years ago, and I consider it a national disgrace that we can't offer a free higher education to every qualified kid in the country.

          "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

          by sidnora on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 01:23:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Great thing about land-grant Universities... (0+ / 0-)

        ...in US...great education and "affordable". Wisconsin has several very good and affordable ones...in spite what wanker Gov walker says about the teachers. Our 3 spent a combined 16years in them.  Our combined income was 100k +/-.  We made it work and gladly paid all our taxes on time over our 40yrs+ together.  We believe in "fair-share" and when sacrifices are necessary...EVERYONE sacrifices on that fair-share basis. We also believe in the mantra...our nation is only as strong as our weakest link.  Pay it forward.  Maybe Mr Brokaw is too close to the forest to see the trees...just saying.

        Our nations quality of life is based on the rightousness of its people.

        by kalihikane on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 01:55:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, what he said was that $250,000 was not (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LWelsch, MPociask, Ice Blue, Rick Aucoin

      "rich" in some locations. I couldn't quarrel with that, I'd say it's upper middle class. However, he's still operating as a Republican flack and repeating stuff about the deficit and entitlements that are crap.
      I saw the panel yesterday, and I thought, "Goodwin is the only one even close to being a Democrat." So I knew what I was in for.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:56:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you live in NYC and make 250K plus (9+ / 0-)

      you probably never got a Bush tax cut and won't get an increase if the Bush tax cuts expire.

      Under the AMT, you pay 28%, but without the benefit of deductions.  (You have to compare the regular rate (35% with deductions) with the AMT rate (28% without deductions) and pay whatever is higher.  

      In high deduction states like NYC (because of taxes and other factors) most earners between 250-800K fall into the AMT, and therefore have to pay about $10,000-30,000 more than if there were not an AMT.

      So the discussion of what effect higher rates on people making more than 250K plus (but less than about $1M) will have is academic.

      (These AMT people, btw, have provided the greatest financing for the tax cuts of the very wealthy, who as we know likely pay in the 15% range, if they have as good tax lawyers as Romney).

      The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

      by Upper West on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 09:07:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for bringing this up (25+ / 0-)

      I live in NYC.  The median income here is about $50,000 per household and is BELOW the median income of the U.S. as a whole.  This means that half the households in the country's most populous (and arguably most expensive) city, make less than the median income of the country.

      So this whole idea that $250,000/yr is just middle class in places like NYC is just one big fat lie.  Just because someone lives in a place with scarce housing, like Manhattan and spends near Ivy League tuition rates on private elementary schools doesn't make one "middle class."  In fact, it makes one quite the opposite.

    •  Not only that (12+ / 0-)

      Brokaw was all for raising the age for SS to 70, and cutting benefits!

      The poor have to suffer with less, especially poor women, but $250,000 isn't much money!

      That's when I had to turn it off. I started cussing and realized I could be bothering my sick spouse who was in bed in the other room suffering from the flu.

      Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

      by splashy on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 09:49:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would agree to all that if Brokaw forgo's his (0+ / 0-)

        pension, gives up his SS and agrees NEVER to show his face on TV again.

      •  I nearly choked (0+ / 0-)

        When I heard him say that. I'm 65, and still working, but contemplating retirement. I like what i do, but I may be forced to retire pretty soon because it's close work and my eyes are not what they used to be. Then there's the bad ankle (old injury) that's making it harder and harder to climb out of the subway, the sometimes bad back that sometimes makes sitting all day at work miserable, the lower energy level... and I'm not a ditch-digger!

         I like my work. I'm not whining. But I can't imagine that I'll still able to do this job in 5 years whether I want to or not.

        "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

        by sidnora on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 01:31:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  . (0+ / 0-)

      Whenever Brokaw started speaking on 'the news' somewhere around 2000 to 2002, I would throw up a little in my mouth and had to spit it out.  

      "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

      by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:45:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Tom Brokaw cried Crocodile tears for the affluent (0+ / 0-)

      it was disgusting.

      A lot of people don’t realize in the large urban and suburban areas of America, 250,000 dollars doesn’t make you rich. You’ve got two kids in college at 60,000 dollars. If you’re a boomer, you may have a dependent parent of some kind. You’re spending another 20-25,000 dollars on. So we have to have the definition of what is the middle class.

      MTP

      POOR BABIES!

      “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

      by Lefty Coaster on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:56:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wasn't even talking about the panel, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LWelsch

      I meant the questions he asked Obama. I am not one of those "Obama can do no wrong" types, but his questions were so underhanded and "gotcha" I couldn't contain myself.

      I wanted to turn it off after the interview, but the LH wanted to watch, so unfortunately I did get exposed to some of Brokaw's clueless pontificating. I'll tell you this: I live in NYC(not the suburbs), we live on less than half of his "not very much", and we're fine. We pay our mortgage, we take a vacation in the summer, and we don't have to stay up nights trying to figure out whether we can afford to get the car fixed if it needs it.

      I will admit that is in part because we're a union family, so we don't have to worry too much about health insurance, and there is a pension, but I think things would be much better if there were a lot more union families at our income level and fewer $250,000 households believing that their little darlings will be doomed for life if they can't be sent to the private school of their choice. And maybe those parents would even care a little more about the quality of the public schools if they had some skin in the game.

      "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

      by sidnora on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 01:02:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And many of those working and making the (0+ / 0-)

      $ 250K a year are working for companies that were feeding at the Corporate Welfare Trough. Last year, some 92 to 94 billions of  dollars went to companies like McDonalds, for such goals as helping McDonalds bring its burgers to China and India.

      Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

      by Truedelphi on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 02:05:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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