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  •  You are welcome. A lot of this stuff is (0+ / 0-)

    not that obvious until you read a few tomes that point the specifics out with references.

    Time for my full disclosure: I have 2 degrees in BS and hyperfocused ADD..

     I had grown up in the 50s and 60s in Chicago area and KS with very GOP parents. I had a unique experience at an '88 GOP caucus in Anchorage. We left the caucus very shook up. The next evening I went to the Dem caucus fully expecting to have to hold my nose. I had actually been a fairly strong Objectivist until then. It was fading and meeting the people at that Dem caucus and getting active helped me drop the remaining unworkable ideas.

    At the local political level - up to platform committee for state convention in a presidential year, I have not seen much beyond standard human stupid and occasional ugly. The evangelicals in the GOP caucus were downright scary. If you don't believe there are people, with lots of money, seriously planning to rewrite the Constitution to make the US a Christian Theocracy, check that out too.

    The repeating patterns through out history are also very obvious. They were to the founding fathers - who put a lot of things in the Constitution to prevent many of them.

    Enriching the government really comes down to individuals. Like people who have a government job and transition to a very highly paid private job. Especially lobbying. There are people who do that without getting rich. My ex is an environmental engineer (MS, haz waste) who went between private, gov and self employment over 34 years.

    I have watched the Dems (especially Clinton) move farther and farther right to get elected since '88. It's been really painful to watch them stick to the unworkable conservative policies the past few years when the tide has clearly turned and losing elections was not the risk it had been. But the GOP and financiers still throw a lot of negativity without substance in the campaigns.

    As far as I am concerned for myself and most Dems, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is what drives our attempts to govern. We want to increase the probability that as many people as possible can reach self actualization if they make the effort necessary. As a nurse I am constantly presented with the deep human desire to be independent. What some can overcome to regain and keep it. What some face for so long it overwhelms them.

    There is much more power in the country influencing presidential and congressional actions than is understood by most. They are only interested in acquiring in exhaustible wealth, no matter how much others suffer. Or how much damage is being done to the planet.

    My take on the GOP and sequester. They changed from being willing to close tax loopholes for the wealthy in favor of 'no further revenue'. Seriously, it's ok for people like Romney to file 200 page tax returns so he gets his rate to 15 % or less? I don't consider that class warfare if you look at the historical stats worldwide on what happens when wealth and income inequality get as far off balance as ours are. Which the founding fathers knew.

    The other advantage to their wealthy contributors was that the Military cuts affect small potatoes, not the big contracts we need to cancel. Voters are going to hear about the psych nurses caring for PTSD vets getting laid off and similar stupidity. Meanwhile, the House has refused to fund the Healthcare Workforce Commission for three years. These were the people who were assigned the task of looking at the projected health care professional shortages and come up with ways to mitigate that. They have never met. Next year, the benefits of the ACA are going to be competing with the huge problems of not enough nurses, doctors, pharmacists, dentists, etc.

    Welcome to the swamp. ;)

    "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

    by Ginny in CO on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 03:57:54 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Maslow's hierarchy is a good guide for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      How Much

      protecting Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

      providing for the General Welfare.

      One of the things I did keep from Rand was as much devotion to the truth as I possibly can. If you seek to understand controversy and harm, you have to go where angels fear to tread and keep an open mind - it's the only way to think outside the box.

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 04:13:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hmm... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ginny in CO

      Disclosure on my part - currently in the military myself, and avid reader and thinker (working on my first BA part time). I do not have the experience that many others have in the political field, because as a (young and stupid) teenager I never really thought politics would affect me much. Now, somewhat older and (somewhat) wiser, I've spend a good amount of time educating myself on every side of the argument where I can find people willing to talk.

      Completely agree with your statement about large finances having interests and attempting to control elections. That was one of the things that made me sit up and take notice.

      For myself, I see several different groups competing for power.

      There are those that want to increase gov't, to ensure everybody has an equal playing field and opportunity to succeed.

      There are those that want to increase gov't, to ensure that their own business/interests have an unethical advantage over everyone else.

      There are those that want to decrease gov't, because they will then be able to leverage unrestrained business practices to gain an unethical advantage over their competition.

      There are those that want to decrease gov't, because they just want to be left alone and have nobody meddle in their personal lives, leaving them free to better themselves as they see fit.

      My problem with the increase of gov't is this: if we cannot trust individuals to "play nice" and give everybody an equal opportunity without being forced by law, than how can we trust them to do it in a gov't role?

      However, we run into the equal problem of if we cannot trust people in gov't, then we can't trust them as an individual to govern themselves.

      This is the conundrum I am trying to find an answer for.

      One question from your comments. You stated:

      As a nurse I am constantly presented with the deep human desire to be independent.
      How do you correlate increased gov't regulation to enabling the natural human desire to be independent?

      As for the GOP stubbornness on tax increases, I think there are a couple issues at stake. One, of course the GOP financial providers would rather not pay more taxes. Point. However, I think that the Dems are partially to blame; they have also refused any cuts, and it has become such a personal issue in the media that now if either side offers a compromise, they lose face entirely with the people.

      I will say this. I don't understand the purpose of additional tax increases. Here was a fascinating article (granted, from a VERY conservative site and author, I am just referring to the math on taxes, not his thoughts on liberals). If you have any hope of reducing the deficit, then focusing on increasing taxes does not make any sense. There just isn't that much money left there, especially when so many have been hit by a bad economy. So if your focusing on tax increases without cutting, solving the deficit is obviously not your primary concern. So then why raise taxes if your not worried about spending more than you are making? You will only end up hurting your people.

      I share your devotion to the truth. My most cherished moments are when something I believed is proven wrong - because that means I am closer to the truth.

      •  Lets start with the article. (0+ / 0-)

        The fiscal year for the US is 10/1 to 9/30.  So he put ¾ of Bush's last year into his calculations for Obama. It may sound nit picky, it's not how rigorous economists do it. One who does is probably trying to make the argument look better. He is also approaching this without the framework of the recession, 2 wars, and Bush's tax cuts as he was putting us in 2 wars. I do have to add they were estimated by Rumsfeld at ridiculously low figures. Did you read the 2 Santa Claus Theory? Important to understand – it was a GOP person who came up with it. (It's 2-3 paragraphs. Starve the beast is on the same page.)

        Through out history, wars were waged as long as the ruler could raise money from the workers. Many ground to a halt because the peasants were tapped out and resisting, revolting or otherwise not cooperating. The tax cuts were simply inappropriate. So he racked up a whole lot more debt, which shows up in the annual deficit as interest. Until we got out of Iraq and now Afghanistan, those expenses had to continue, more debt, more interest. Bush had never put the war expenses in the budget. They were separate, also not normal. So then the crash hit, Bush did the first bail out. Obama had to do a lot of  expensive things to stop the job losses, get the banks functioning,etc.

        Then when we got to the kinds of things that historically work in recessions and depressions, which is government spending, the GOP went ballistic on the debt and deficit. Gotta kill the Dem Santa, and make the Dems seem inept. BTW,  you may not remember this, in '04 MoveOn had an ad on the debt- using elementary school kids working assembly lines to emphasize the long term effect of the wars and debt. The too small jobs bill did work fairly well. It just wasn't big enough for the situation, as a percent of GDP is I think Krugman explained it.

        The author also seems to think that the solution for the revenue/spending problem is to solve it all at once. First, the numbers he has for the revenue that could be produced by raising the taxes is nowhere near what we got for the few percentage point increase on those earning $400,000+. I will try to find some of the essential charts, graphs, articles etc in my bookmarks and get them to you. Author used the highest business tax rate, except they have even better loopholes than the rich. Companies who are making 100's of millions in profits get to take so much off they get refunds. And Boehner changed his mind about doing that or charging tiny amounts per trade on Wall Street – on profit which the managers take at some low rate, not the earned income category. Those are the only revenue proposals the Dems have made.

        As far as “I think that the Dems are partially to blame; they have also refused any cuts,”. Obama had the cuts he was proposing on the WH site. One of the TV hosts (brain giving 404) was waving the one page abbreviated version on the set and explained the full proposal could also be printed off – more pages but not even a hundred (25?). This is while the GOP hosts and pols were griping about the lack of transparency.

        Under the recession, stalled recovery, low revenue situation; job 1 is to get people to work. Even though the government is paying for salaries, some comes back in taxes from the worker, other comes back in taxes from the people the worker pays for rent, groceries, etc. Dems like the ripple effect over trickle down. One way or another, this is what works. Austerity makes it worse.

        As far as trusting people. There is no institution that does not have bad actors. Churches, cops, congress, etc. Government does have a responsibility to deliver and if it doesn't, citizens get cranky, they vote for the other candidate. I've worked with a lot of government folks, my ex did, he came from a military (AF) family and I worked with a lot of wives and officers in Anchorage. It's like teachers, health care workers, pastors, and many jobs – a calling, a personal mission.. It isn't about the money. Sure, you want a living wage and better if you have degrees. Other people are really driven by getting ahead, having the stuff, feeling good about their work as long as the pay is good enough. There are business owners who put in long hours for very modest income because they feel the work is important, and they like being a mechanic, or grocer, etc. I've been through government programs in four states and have rarely had issues with the people who do those jobs, the DMVs, or certainly the USPS.

        So what Dems want government to do for people is “ensure everybody has an equal playing field and opportunity to succeed.” That starts with health care for the parents – so baby has healthy egg and sperm. It means good nutrition and prenatal care for mom. We now know that babies whose mothers are under high stress develop the part of the brain that reacts to stress more, and the frontal cortexes less. If the high stress continues through the first few years, some parts of the brain do not develop when they can. You should be thinking 'cycle of poverty'. Basic needs, per Maslow, should be met, or the person has a harder time reaching self actualization. That doesn't mean all paid by government, it can be means/needs based. We just can't get people to understand that those expenses will come back in less crime, less illness, better jobs, more taxes.

        Government regulations cover safety, decrease preventable harm, promote better business practices, control harassment and discrimination, and protect consumers and businesses from unscrupulous players. All living organisms are faced with threats, they can fight them off alone or as a group. Humans evolved as tribal members. We have changed from that significantly and it is creating a lot of problems. While we want to be independent, we also need and want to belong. It's not an impossible balance. The vast majority of the patients who succeed are supported by family. The sense of safety from government inspection of food supply, regulation of hazardous waste transport, auto safety, children's toys, etc. allows us to worry less and attend to jobs, recreation, etc. It's not perfect, nothing is. Right now there is far too much interference in the FDA, USDA, and other agencies from corporate capture.

        We also like to help others who need help. One of the problems of being removed from the tribe is we have the taxes taken out of our checks, we don't know whether it goes to making a bomb or supporting a homeless shelter, a scientist's research or a crook defrauding the government. One year when my ex had a windfall of income and I had to pay the quarterly tax, I wrote 'fighter jet computer' in the memo line. His older brother managed the electronic repair shop at Elmendorf for all the fighter jets in AK. It felt better, somehow.

        I've sent two attempts at adding the links to cyberspace so will try to do that separately.

        "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

        by Ginny in CO on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 09:58:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Taxes and Cuts (0+ / 0-)

          Well, heres the problem. The cuts offered by the Dems actually would have increased the deficit. According to the CBO, S.388 (the plan offered by the Dems) would have increased the deficit by $7.2 billion over the 2013-2023 period. Cuts that make us spend more hardly seem to be cuts at all.

          And the GOP argues that they already gave in on tax increases without receiving recipricol cuts to reduce the deficit; the "Fiscal Cliff" bill, which actually increased the deficit.

          I know the author of the article was supporting his attack on Obama by dividing what he did from Bush. However, I'm not trying to attack nor support either one. I do want to figure out what the best way out of the mess we are currently sitting on, regardless of who got us here.

          He was using a "best case" scenario, which in a perfect world would mean no tax loopholes, and when you raise taxes by $1 you get $1 in revenue. I would like to see your data about the amount gained from taxing the $400,000+ households. His scenario was you would have to tax them between 50% and 100% (apart from state taxes) to solve the deficit (again, this is assuming no loopholes. With loopholes it would have to be higher!). So even with a perfect system, without cutting spending the deficit will not go away if you still want people to eat.

          So, I would suggest that the real question is whether or not deficit and gov't spending beyond its means is a good thing or bad thing. Whether the GOP is anti-tax simply because they use it against the Dems or the Dems just want to spend without control because social services are their strategy to beat the GOP is largely irrelevant, because one will eventually produce better results. If tax cuts are the way to go to solve the current crisis, would you be willing to accept that, even if the GOP's purpose in pushing for them was simply to beat the Dems? And vice versa, of course.

          I just feel that people have gotten so caught up in them vs. us that we can't focuse on finding the answer, and instead just try to prove the other party wrong.

          Side note - your links to the "starve the beast" and "the two santa clause theory" were interesting reading. It does put the GOP's position on tax cuts in a new light, and I will keep them in mind for future research/discussion.

        •  Government regulation (0+ / 0-)

          The problem that I see with your premise of gov't regulation is what you have stated; i.e.,

          There is much more power in the country influencing presidential and congressional actions than is understood by most. They are only interested in acquiring in exhaustible wealth, no matter how much others suffer.
          Money controls politics right now. As long as the government has a monopoly on power, that is where the money is going to go. And with the (thus far) successful strategy of dividing the US people against itself, we cannot hope to concentrate enough power to compete until we can stop hating each other. So giving more power to the government at this juncture in time is essentially giving that power to the corporations and power centers. That is why I am against increasing government reach - at least for now.

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