National divide

In his Wednesday speech, President Obama set a divisive tone for the 2012 election campaign.

April 15, 2011


President Obama launched his 2012 re-election campaign Wednesday afternoon in his speech to students at George Washington University. It had been billed as an address about the federal budget, but, from the outset, it was the kickoff for his re-election bid.

Unfortunately, his speech centered on dividing the people in this country based on class and wealth. This is not healthy for this country and is guaranteed to ignite extremely strong debate in Congress as well as throughout the country.

As has been noted numerous times, just a few days before the November 2008 presidential election, Obama told a large crowd of supporters that they were only days away from the opportunity to bring about “fundamental” changes in this country.

He acknowledged in his Wednesday speech that this is his vision and goal for America. He wants government to control the lives and activities of more and more Americans, a gradual drive into a welfare state, socialism and class-against-class divisions. It will pit old against young and vice versa, poor against wealthy and vice versa, healthy against the ill and vice versa, the employed against the unemployed and vice versa, and on and on.

It’s not healthy for this country, and he is using the historic debt he is creating as justification for his long-time and deep desire to change this country. As he said, it is a fundamental change.

It should be remembered that his former chief of staff said, “never let a good crisis go to waste.”

The president is following up on this advice and using the very genuine fiscal crisis facing this country as the platform for his re-election effort. Other Obama campaign advisers prior to the 2008 election also advised him that “fear” is the most powerful and effective device to use in a campaign.

Obama’s upcoming debt ceiling and budget battles and the current fiscal crisis all feed into the Obama re-election strategy.

There seems justification to have serious concerns about the Obama dream and vision for changing this country. For sure, it is almost guaranteed to bring about a heated, bitter, divisive campaign that has the potential to divide rather than bring this country together.

How many Americans want to fundamentally change this country? This will be the question facing those who go to the polls in 2012 to select this nation’s president.


Darrell Lea 4 years, 5 months ago

I thought President Obama gave a thoughtful and intelligent speech on Wednesday. Apparently the writer of this piece was unable to absorb the content of that presentation without attaching their ideological spin to it. It's a shame when people have ears, yet refuse to listen.

"How many Americans want to fundamentally change this country?" If the kind of delusional ranting in this piece is indicative of where "this country" is, then fundamental change is necessary and quite welcome.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

I'd say too many do not pay attention to their elected officials and use extreme political rhetoric as a source of information. In fact elected officials seem to be among the most uninformed.

Government spending is being grossly misrepresented by too many members of congress which instead represents misinformation.

Perhaps it would be wise to keep a close eye on any political party that feels it is necessary to keep reminding voting taxpayers that it is the party of “less big government”. In fact it may be only political rhetoric.

I for one am not against government spending only how it gets spent. Spend my tax dollars to create new wealth and revenue for our nation which is new industry and jobs that stay in America.

Bring down the cost of doing business and getting educated by introducing smart business spending.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

I AM NOT against government spending. It's the way the government spends our money that flat out pisses me off.

Spend my tax dollars to create new wealth and revenue for our nation which is new industry and jobs that stay in America.

Bring down the cost of doing business and education by introducing smart business.

Mandate that all federal government employees including all elected officials use improved Medicare Insurance for All.

This would be having our government insure itself as many corporations and wealthy individuals do.

Let's encourage the President and Congress to get on with this cost cutting program.

Let's reduce health care costs by getting rid of the medical insurance industry. Why? Because the medical insurance industry does not provide health care.

Improved Medicare Insurance for All would provide real medical insurance reform!

The United States spends twice as much as other industrialized nations on healthcare – $8160 per capita – yet performs poorly in comparison and leaves over 46 million people without health coverage and millions more inadequately covered.

Let’s direct OUR tax dollars to fund OUR medical insurance. What’s good for elected officials is good for WE taxpayers! IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for ALL is estimated to create more than 2 million new jobs in the fastest growing industry in the USA.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 5 months ago

Woo hoo! Planet-killer's dusted off his improved medicare for all posts and is copy pasting them all over again. As if we hadn't already seen them hundreds of times......

Scott Drummond 4 years, 5 months ago

Wouldn't it be more effective if you refuted what Merrill is saying? Rather than complaining about his posts, why not attack the points he is making? If you were able to do so, then, I suspect, he would have to alter his posts.

cato_the_elder 4 years, 5 months ago

Outstanding editorial. Obama's speech was entirely partisan and lacked any semblance of leadership.

Let the campaigning begin.

JayCat_67 4 years, 5 months ago

And this is different from any other political speech how?

notanota 4 years, 5 months ago

He had to wait for Fox to tell him which talking points to regurgitate.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 5 months ago

We'll be seeing the Campaigner in Chief boring Biden so badly that he goes to sleep until election day 2012. It's gonna be a long slog.

Scott Drummond 4 years, 5 months ago

Embarrassing, even by Dolph's standards. Guess that's why he couldn't put his name on it. Vapid hatred devoid of a single original thought.

salad 4 years, 5 months ago

Guess what Dolph, it IS class warfare, and your class is crushing the rest of us. Time you guys started paying your fair share, especially since you're NOT creating all these jobs promised to us by the Repugnicans.

Scott Drummond 4 years, 5 months ago

No, Deacon, the takers are those who take and take and take of government services, but refuse to pay their fair share or create the jobs promised in exchange for tax cuts.

The "makers" either ought to start producing benefits for the majority of Americans, or expect an end to the right wing swindle.

grammaddy 4 years, 5 months ago

You mean the big oil subsidies, right? Or like GE NOT paying any taxes.

BrianR 4 years, 5 months ago

If the "takers" as you call them, decided they weren't going to work anymore, what would the so-called "makers" accomplish? That's right, exactly nothing.

What was your point, by the way?

Bob Forer 4 years, 5 months ago

You got it upside down, Deacon. The makers are the workers. The capitalists are the takers. You can't make anything with a dollar bill. it takes labor. Its simple classical economics.

Liberty275 4 years, 5 months ago

Yes, Dolph is crushing you by paying for the bandwidth, hardware, software and administration so you can freely voice your opinion in this forum. That's some real evil right there.

I agree with deacon, almost. You aren't a "takers", you and your ilk are parasites.

Scott Drummond 4 years, 5 months ago

I have searched in vain for a similar screed on the right wing budget plan for 2012.

Is ending the Medicaid guarantee divisive? Is one Medicare system for those 55 or older and a radically different (and reduced one) for those younger divisive? Is cutting college student's Pell grants divisive? Is cutting Head Start divisive? Are giving even more tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans in the face of such government program cuts divisive?

One wonders why we were not treated to a similar editorial bemoaning the divisive nature of the right wingers plans for our country.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

The People's Budget is now on the table!

The Congressional Progressive Caucus People's Budget proposal is gaining some big-time momentum, but we need to up the ante even further if we're going to get this the mainstream attention it deserves.

The fight over the 2012 budget begins tomorrow. If The People's Budget is to advance, we must act now.

This is the only budget that does everything this country needs:

* Creates good-paying jobs
* Fully maintains our social safety net
* Invests in education
* Ends our costly wars
* Closes the tax loopholes that have made offshoring jobs profitable
* Ends oil and gas subsidies that pollute our country at taxpayer expense
* Creates a national infrastructure investment bank to help us make intelligent investments for the future

This budget represents the future we believe in as Americans, and the CPC really needs our support to keep it on the front burner. Please call your member of Congress, now. The debate and vote on The People's Budget is scheduled to take place early Friday morning.

This is one of those occasions we all hope we'll live to see: We really can make a difference right now if we speak up loudly with one voice.

The People's Budget represents not just common sense; it represents the will of the American people. Click here to take action.

The People's Budget is getting mainstream attention, but it won't hold that attention unless we speak up about how important our values really are. These aren't just words on a page or numbers in a table—these dollars and cents mean lives helped or hurt, people succeeding or falling by the wayside, and families lifted up or dragged down. This is about America.

Please speak up for the America you believe in—take action now!


jayhawklawrence 4 years, 5 months ago

We have been reading every kind of criticism and attack against Obama that is imaginable. We have watched a long line of Republican leaders who are simply not qualified for the positions they hold.

After the two Bush wars and the Bush tax cuts and the Wall Street financial crisis, we are being asked to allow for a huge tax cut and a dramatic restructuring of medicaid and medicare.

It was a great speech which called for both gradual spending cuts, tax reform and reasonable tax increases. It was a common sense speech which contrasted with the Republican Party which has become an extremist organization.

If you want to find a great example of using fear to manipulate a country, you should use the Cheney influenced invasion of Iraq. That is a much better example.

It is to be expected that we would see this kind of response from the conservatives because Obama called them out and made them look once again like the party they are, the party that only caters to the wealthy in this country and has managed to use their propaganda to encourage a rapidly widening gap between rich and poor in America.

Getaroom 4 years, 5 months ago

This entire article was divisive and mirrors politics of the far right as usual. Articles of this nature are a complete waste of energy. Obama pointed out what is so obvious to some and his plan to correct the trajectory of economics in this country. Far more straight forward than that piece of poison the Far Right has put out for us to swallow .

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

Closing loopholes and lowering the rates is what I've read.

Yes, it needs to be much simpler.

Historically, it's interesting that the tax rates were lowered in exchange for eliminating some deductions, etc., and then the rates remained at that level while deductions, etc. were added back in over time.

Eating one's cake and having it too comes to mind.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

The NOT republican party's largest fear is that the USA gets back on " improving the quality of life in America" bandwagon with new jobs,new industry and significant economic growth based on substance not robbing Wall Street banks and another Savings and Loan type theft.

" improving the quality of life in America" just scares the hell out of the Koch brothers,Brownback,and the neoconservative christian fundamentalists party in general(still calling themselves republicans) .

Putting people back to work is the only way to go. Brownback and his tax cut scheme have no history of creating long term economic growth. These thinkers keep draining the tax revenue cookie jars then come back and tell us there is no money. Been going on since about 1980 nationally.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 5 months ago

"Unfortunately, his speech centered on dividing the people in this country based on class and wealth. "

Hey, Dolph, class warfare is the gauntlet Republicans have thrown down since Reagan. Obama has done little to counter it since taking office, but his mere mentioning the reality of the world you and yours have created sure got your panties twisted up.

ivalueamerica 4 years, 5 months ago

Excuse me? The President is diving the country by class?

It is the GOP who has decided to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans then called for my parents, who are about to be on a fixed income from retirement, to pay up to $6,000 more per hear on their medical care.

The class divide has already been made, Obama is just trying to balance it.

fixed low income seniors should not pay out of their pockets so the wealthy can get a tax break.

I am NOT an Obama lover. I did not support him during the primaries and I think he lacks the experience (read political savvy) to lead the nation. However, this editorial is not about that an instead the same old stupid moronic malarkey saying GOP good, Obama bad..void of any morals, lacking any values, failing to use reason and holding a different value for one side vs. the other.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 5 months ago

The idea that Obama wants to replace American style Capitalism with a "European Socialist Model" is conspiracy theory fodder along the lines of the Manchurian Candidate.

Yet these are the kinds of things that end up as Spam in our email.

It is time for the Republican Party to get rid of it's wacko fringe and kick out the loonies. They need to seriously deal with their credibility issues.

Getting rid of people like self appointed Messiah Glenn Beck was a great start.

While watching people like Trump become frontrunners of their Party I think the Republicans need to take a long look in the mirror and decide whether they are on the side of extremists or whether they want to take back their party and make it relevant again.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago


The problem is that although Republicans may give lip service to fiscal responsibility, their actions don't match that idea at all. The debt tripled under Reagan, for example. All administrations in the last 40 years or so, with the exception of Clinton, have run budget deficits every year, etc.

Traditional vs. non-traditional is a real issue - there are always those who want to keep things the way they are, or return them to the past, and those who want them to change and move into the future.

Both parties do that very thing you mention - are arrogant, and portray themselves as virtuous and the other side as corrupt - I hope you're equally tired of those on the right doing it.

Results of recent elections, in my view, point towards an increasing frustration with both major parties - hence the Tea Party phenomenon, which attempts to bring Republicans back to a platform of smaller government, fiscal responsibility, etc.

It is rather deeply unsatisfying to have to choose between the major candidates in any election for me, given the many problems of both major parties, and the increasing influence/corruption of money that exists in them, and I suspect a greater number of people are starting to feel that way.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

I don't want to get into detailed discussions about different administrations - my general point is that neither Republicans nor Democrats are good with fiscal responsibility.

If by that one means balanced budgets and low debt (both things I consider basic and obvious good things).

I agree completely - change is neither good nor bad in itself, but can be either depending on the concrete situation.

Also agreed on this recent budget nonsense - much ado about nothing.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

There was an interesting study recently that showed liberal folks' brains had a very developed area that is associated with understanding complexity, and conservative folks' brains had a very developed area associated with fear and anxiety.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

Please do try to keep up - this is newer research.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

Have you looked at the study at all?

Darrell Lea 4 years, 5 months ago

The liberal brain? Scans show liberals and conservatives have different brain structures BY KATHRYN KATTALIA NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Friday, April 08, 2011

Politics, or neuroscience?

A new study shows that brain structure may have something to do with which side a person lands on the political scale, researchers told LiveScience.

Researchers at Britain's University College London scanned the brains of nearly 120 adults who ranked their political views on a scale of one to five from very liberal to very conservative.

The results showed that those who considered themselves conservatives had a larger amygdala, a part of the brain that processes fear. Liberals tended to have a bigger anterior cingulate cortex, which monitors conflict and uncertainty.

The difference in brain structure could explain some of the traits that distinguish conservatives and liberals, researchers said. People with larger amygdalas tend to respond with more aggression in situations where they feel threatened and are more sensitive to fear and disgust.

People with larger ACCs tend to be better at tolerating uncertainty--a reason why they often accept more liberal views, researchers told LiveScience.

"Political attitude is often thought to be determined purely based on social context," Ryota Kanai,the study's author, told LiveScience. "Our research suggests that a high-level psychological trait such as political orientation might have a biological basis."

While previous studies have linked psychological traits linked with different political views, this is the first time researchers have shown new information on the physical size and structure of brain regions in liberals and conservatives.

Some uncertainties still remain. Researchers said they are unsure whether or not brain structure actually causes a person to lean one way politically or if the opposite is true--the way people think leads to increased brain activity in different regions. They also noted that people often change political views, which fall in more categories that just liberal and conservative.

The study was published earlier this month in the journal Current Biology.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 5 months ago

No, you FEAR that it was funded with taxpayer money.

Darrell Lea 4 years, 5 months ago

from paragraph three of the referenced article:

"Researchers at Britain's University College London scanned the brains of nearly 120 adults who ranked their political views on a scale of one to five from very liberal to very conservative"

Since Britain is another country, and London is a city in another country, it is highly doubtful that tax revenue from this country paid for academic research in that country.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 5 months ago

If a hired hand had written it, they'd probably get fired.

JustNoticed 4 years, 5 months ago

"Unfortunately, his speech centered on dividing the people in this country based on class and wealth. This is not healthy for this country and is guaranteed to ignite extremely strong debate in Congress as well as throughout the country." Yeah, Dolph is all over this. If this isn't Dolph, then someone is using his typewriter. General inflammatory statement following by meaningless drivel. Wake up, class warfare is over, you figure out who won.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

We're getting an awful lot of high-decibel noise these days from a flock of right-wing governors and Congress critters who're screeching incessantly about the urgent need for "shared sacrifice" to cope with multibillion-dollar budget deficits.

The only way to cope, they insist, is to whack unemployment benefits, Medicare, education budgets, public employees, poverty programs, worker rights, anti-pollution efforts, and... well nearly all services for ordinary folks. Sorry, screech the whackers, but the budgets are busted and taxpayers are over-burdened, so everyone must do their part by giving up even essential programs.

Everyone? Who's that hiding over there in the bushes? Gee, It's General Electric, the global conglomerate that has made tax dodging its chief business. In the past five years, GE has amassed $26 billion in profits just from its American operations – and paid exactly zero in taxes. Far from paying its share of the cost for public services from which it, its honchos and investor so richly benefit, GE has used its army of tax lawyers and lobbyists to get what amounts to a government payment of more than $4 billion from us taxpayers. Wow, that money could keep a lot of teachers on the job.

But the tax code is not the only thing manipulated by this behemoth. While assorted media outlets covered the shameful tax dodge by GE, one did not: NBC. Guess who is a principle owner of that network. Right. It took the network a week to mention the story – and only then after its self-serving silence was exposed and mocked by Jon Stewart and others.

Meanwhile, GE is doing its own whack job on its workers by demanding that they agree to cuts in union wages, pensions, and health coverage. It's a concerted effort by corporate elites and their politicians to crush America's middle class.

"G.E. Turns the Tax Man Away Empty-Handed." The New York Times," March 25, 2011.

"On NBC, the missing story about parent company General Electric," www.washingtonpost.com, March, 29, 2011.

"Nightly News stays mum on GE's $0 tax bill," www.yahoo.com, March 30, 2011.

"GE Pays No Income Taxes and Now Wants Workers to Make Concessions," www.alternet.org, March 28, 2011.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 5 months ago

We're all takers on this planet. Some are just bigger takers than others, and they mostly vote Republican.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago


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Flap Doodle 4 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 5 months ago

I remember distinctly when Reagan ran against Mondale that Mondale made a big issue of the National Debt that was rising dramatically under Reagan. No matter how hard he tried to talk about this issue, he could not get any traction.

The Republican Party grabbed onto the idea of cutting taxes as the solution to all problems and created a mythologically based ideology about tax cuts that even Bush called voodoo economics.

When you want to know how your kids are doing in school you look at their report card. When you want to know how our representatives in Congress are doing you look at the National Debt.

We know that this is a bi-partisan travesty. When the Republicans are in they cut taxes and the last administration cut taxes AND spent out the wazoo.

The Democrats have been painted unfairly as the spend party. It was during the Clinton administration that we started to gain control of our debt only to have Bush dive us into it again.

What part of the obvious don't you understand?

Now the new Republican plan wants to cut taxes AGAIN!!!

And they have the adacity to march idiotic cartoon characters in front of us who want to be leaders of the free world. It is more insulting than I can stand.

How different the world might be today if not for Monica Lewinsky.

Jimo 4 years, 5 months ago

I read the speech rather than hear it. This editorial fails to grasp what was said. The only thing divisive about the speech was the President's promise to not allow divisive boondoggles to go forward. The number of Republicans who agree with him about that is not insubstantial. The number of independent voters who agree with him is overwhelming.

"How many Americans want to fundamentally change this country?" Very few, apparently.

Now that the President has settled on what will not happen, maybe the GOP can come back from the ledge, sit down, and rationally discuss solutions to actual problems.

Jimo 4 years, 5 months ago

Here is the reality: the Republicans have spent the past 30 years creating deficits and the Democrats have spent the past 30 years closing them. The unimportance of deficits became an article of faith during the second Bush Administration: "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter," Dick Cheney famously said. It has been rather hilarious for those of us with even a minimal grasp of recent history to watch these folks pull fierce 180-degree turns on the issue--and it is even more hilarious to watch them accuse Obama of hyper-partisanship after the dump-truck full of garbage they visited upon his head these past few years," - Joe Klein.

tbaker 4 years, 5 months ago

The president is a militant statist. The sooner people realize that, the sooner speeches like this make perfect sense.

tomatogrower 4 years, 5 months ago

Unlike the Kansas Republicans who want to make sure you have papers with all the time. And they want to know what you are doing in your bedroom. And they want you to work for almost nothing, so they can give bigger and better bonuses to their CEO's.

Michael Auchard 4 years, 5 months ago

In the kindest way I can possibly say this: Sir, you are delusional.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

The $330 Billion Entitlement

WASHINGTON -- As part of the budget deal hashed out on Friday evening, lawmakers agreed that no additional federal funds would be used to hire new IRS agents.

Then on Monday, the Government Accountability Office publicly released a study showing that, as of the end of fiscal year 2010, roughly $330 billion in federal taxes had never been paid -- an amount that, if collected, would represent nearly nine times the amount of savings as the budget itself.

The dual developments aren’t shocking. Despite evidence that a single dollar spent on enforcing the tax code could result in up to ten dollars in revenue, politicians, naturally, are reluctant to align themselves with tax collectors. And yet, the sacrificing of funds for IRS agents in the continuing resolution deal underscores a particular problem that seems bound to confront fiscally conscious lawmakers.

he dual developments aren’t shocking. Despite evidence that a single dollar spent on enforcing the tax code could result in up to ten dollars in revenue, politicians, naturally, are reluctant to align themselves with tax collectors. And yet, the sacrificing of funds for IRS agents in the continuing resolution deal underscores a particular problem that seems bound to confront fiscally conscious lawmakers.

“Cutting back on IRS enforcement could easily cost the treasury much more in revenue than it saves,” said Chuck Marr, Director of Federal Tax Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The GAO report, which looks specifically at the issue of passport holders who have failed to pay their full share of taxes, underscores Marr’s point. Titled “Federal Tax Collection: Potential for Using Passport Issuance to Increase Collection of Unpaid Taxes,” the study labels poor enforcement of tax laws and the tax code as a “high-risk” hole in government policy. In fiscal year 2008, passports were issued to about 16 million individuals. Of those, more than 224,000 owed more than $5.8 billion in unpaid federal taxes.

A good chunk of the evasion, the GAO concluded, was committed by individuals with “substantial personal assets” including multi-million-dollar homes and “luxury cars.” One passport recipient bought a house for $2 million and another property for $1.5 million despite owing $1 million in federal taxes.

“If you look, you can find records of most capital gains income,” said Rob Shapiro, former U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce. “People deposit it in their bank accounts or the institutions may issue reports if it is capital gains on stock transactions. So it is not hard to pick it up if you have the manpower to look for it. And again, given that the salary of an IRS agent is at least as high as the average salary in America, the fact that there is a ten-to-one ratio for the returns on auditing tells you that [tax evasion] is coming from the high-income brackets.”


Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

The best way to explain Social Security is to say what it is. It’s an insurance system that protects your income when you retire or face disability, and provides income to your children if you die.

Social Security is a form of insurance that guarantees you a constant stream of income in retirement or in case of disability, adjusted to protect against inflation, for as long as you live.

Social Security can be compared to other types of insurance such as home insurance. You insure your home because if it should burn down,you would not be able to afford to rebuild it with your personal income alone. If your house never burns down, you will pay into the insurance fund and never get a penny back. But fire insurance isn’t a “bad investment” because it isn’t an investment at all. You are purchasing security.

Unlike fire insurance, Social Security inevitably gives most of us our money back.

Who will say to that extra $900 - $1400 a month supplement? Why should anyone say no?

Will your "private investment" plan be ready to support you when you are ready to retire? Maybe..... maybe not. Social Security Insurance is good.

But the fact that we get money back does not change the fact that Social Security is a form of insurance, not an investment. Only the richest of the rich can afford not to have insurance and to rely solely on their own savings and investments to fund their retirement or risk of disability.

Social Security is NOT an entitlement. WE pay for this.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 5 months ago

Chunks of the preceding post were copied without attribution from http://www.njfac.org/SSqaOrr.htm They identify their source as: "...the May/June 2005 issue of Dollars and Sense: The Magazine of Economic Justice, formerly available at http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0505orr.html "

pizzapete 4 years, 5 months ago

Cutting taxes will balance the budget like it always has...

jhawkinsf 4 years, 5 months ago

Let's assume for a moment the G.E. paid zero taxes last year. But let's follow an alternative scenario. G.E. does not move some of it's profits off shore and they do not claim each and every deduction that they possibly could. Instead, they try to do the right thing and pay taxes on all their profits. Of course, whatever money goes towards taxes has to be deducted from profits. But wait, G.E. is a publicly traded company and therefore has a fiduciary responsibility to it's shareholders. Those shareholders invest their money based on the assumption that profits will be maximized and shareholders will be rewarded by dividend payments and/or increased prices per share. If the company does not try to maximize profits, they certainly open themselves up to shareholder lawsuits. It's a lawsuit G.E. will lose because of it's fiduciary responsibility. What's all this have to do with class warfare? We vilify corporations for doing what corporations are supposed to do, maximize profits for shareholders. A possible solution, one that I believe in, is a radical change to our tax codes that would disallow deductions for everyone. The wealthy and corporations have armies of lawyers and accountants at their disposal to take advantage of many legal tax deductions. Elimination of deductions would level the playing field. All that said, I think everyone in every income level should pay into our system. Everyone.

Scott Drummond 4 years, 5 months ago

Indeed!! But corporations are creatures of thelaws we enact enabling them. Why can't we outlaw their offshoring, or correct the laws allowing egregious manipulation of tax liability.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

We absolutely can and should do exactly that.

tomatogrower 4 years, 5 months ago

"He wants government to control the lives and activities of more and more Americans," And the Republicans don't want to control people. That's a hoot.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 5 months ago

I like the idea that Social Security is not an Entitlement, but I don't think our government believes that to be the case since they decided it belonged to them and they spent it.

If an insurance company did what the government did wouldn't they go to prison or have I been completely naive about insurance companies?

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

The way SS funds have been appropriated and spent on other things is indeed shameful.

If it's going to be collected separately, it should be kept separately and used for that program.

Otherwise, we should stop collecting it separately.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 5 months ago

Social Security is not an entitlement. Wikipedia - "Social Security is a social insurance program that is funded through dedicated payroll taxes called Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Tax deposits are formally entrusted to the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, or the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund."

Portion of the budget is not the same as deficit. No money would be saved by cutting or refinancing Social Security. "By dollars paid, the U.S. Social Security program is the largest government program in the world and the single greatest expenditure in the federal budget, with 20.8% for social security, compared to 20.5% for discretionary defense and 20.1% for Medicare/Medicaid." - Wikipedia again.

Eventually, the government will have to pay up. ... Unless, of course, we throw up a smoke screen, change to a privatized system, and lose the IOU's. And, we'd have a last ditch effort to pump up the financial sector.

Interesting question about the insurance companies. Wouldn't they leverage their risks to make profits?

George Lippencott 4 years, 5 months ago

Interesting! Mr. Obama provided a reasonable philosophically alternative to the Republicans. Unfortunately, it is lacking in detail. Am I as a recipient of Medicare (for service provided to all of you) to accept that there are hundred of billions in waste in the program? Am I to be rationed? Is this another wild goose chase where no savings every materialize? The Republicans did provide a bit more but there is still a lot missing on how their voucher program would work. Just one example. As always, the devil is in the details! I wait on pins and needles for the details. I am at a loss as to how any of you can support either program with the level of information so far provided.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago


But, in general, it makes more sense (and most non partisan economist agree) that the way out of our budget problems involves both increasing revenue and decreasing spending.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 5 months ago

The rates charged by insurance companies for health insurance, presumably based on the costs of health care,have dramatically increased. I wonder if a voucher system would allow those increases to continue. The private sector has to make a profit. The public sector does not. I am leery of subsidizing the private sector. We would have to regulate it.

beatrice 4 years, 5 months ago

"He wants government to control the lives and activities of more and more Americans, a gradual drive into a welfare state, socialism and class-against-class divisions."

Pure fiction. If raising the current upper tax bracket to a level that will still be well below what taxes were under Reagan, then what does this say about Reagan? How big of a socialist was he?

Remember, this is the paper that supported McCain and Palin, as well as Bush in the two elections prior. Has the paper ever supported a Democrat for President?

Gee, I wonder if Dolph benefits more than most Americans from the Bush era tax cuts?

Darrell Lea 4 years, 5 months ago

Gee, ever driven by the estate? You tell me.

Michael Auchard 4 years, 5 months ago

Why are so many editorials in the Lawrence, Kansas, newspaper so conservative? It's gross.

thebigspoon 4 years, 5 months ago

What, exactly, would be wrong with this: "United States Income Tax Return. How much money did you earn this year? Pay 5% to the Internal Revenue Service. (If you are a wage earner, that amount has thoughtfully been deducted from your wages. You have no further obligation. If you are a Corporation or other business entity, you have paid your 5% obligation monthly. You have no further obligation.) Have a nice day.

Now there is no need for a Form 1040 or any of the attendant forms. No taxpayer has to hide income, there are no deductions to creatively hide behind, and no way to cheat on one's taxes. If taxes aren't paid, there is an accountable person (the payroll department for wage earners, the corporate accounting entity). Simple and enforceable.

Income would be taxed equally among U.S. taxpayers, revenue would be collected in a timely, understandable way, loopholes would not exist nor count, everyone contributes, everyone knows what's what, and revenue would be available in a steady stream. The only tragedy would be a reduction in the need for accountants, tax lawyers, and IRS agents.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

I'm not sure about the numbers, but in general I think it's a very good idea to simplify, and collect taxes monthly as you suggest.

hwarangdo 4 years, 5 months ago

The opinionaire obviously has issues with Obama.
The real issue is - this country is already being "fundamentally" changed by the massive corporations and military complex that actually run the government. The elected politicians are merely their puppets. The extreme right-wing, evangelical "movement" has been digging in for decades - even Jimmy Carter warned us about this, and Ike too. For those who already know this, it is a tragedy. For those who support the destruction of our country by the military / corporation complex, you are being duped by their smooth rhetoric. Obama is onto this "movement", hence his plans. No one person will be able to overcome the odds, however; therein is the tragedy. Those with money will "win" over those with weak minds. Obama is up against a force that will not stop until every last citizen has sworn allegiance to the phony front ideals of corporate-run propaganda.

Greed is the power that can make weak minds grovel in fear and loathing of a "threat" that is trumped up. Greed is the oil that greases the smooth, cunning words of deceit and treachery.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 5 months ago

The republican plan is simple. Cut spending on programs that help the poor and middle class (education, research, medicaid, Pell grants) and cut taxes on the richest americans. Just who is dividing the nation along economic lines?

Obama's plan is also simple. Targeted spending cuts combined with increased taxes on the richest americans. Everyone sacrifices a bit to help the deficit.

The deficit will not be solved with spending cuts alone. This is akin to buying a BMW on credit, and then paying off that BMW by not buying any more BMWs.

No, revenues must be increased to pay for the BMWs that we have already purchased on credit. Tax increases on the richest americans are the answer.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 5 months ago

If americans can rid themselves of blind affiliation to political parties and start demanding accountability and honesty from politicians there is hope.

They will never change if they believe they can manipulate us.

We have to hold them responsible and neither party is dedicated to the basic needs of the average american.

Become independent and vote out career politicians . We need younger people who have a fresh perspective and the idealism to believe our best days are ahead of us.

We need to teach students how to think without becoming blind followers of a political party.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 5 months ago

Back in the 70's when I was hanging out in Washington DC, I saw a few socialists and even some communist groups campaigning with their propaganda and I have spoken to a few of these radicals. I imagine if I ran for President, somebody would make something of a picture of me standing in front of one of their tables. Not to worry.

It seemed to me that they ALWAYS began everything with THE PEOPLE...(something or other). Because of that experience, even seeing People's Bank in Lawrence rubs me the wrong way. I had the feeling there was some kind of manual of how to start a radical movement and everyone had a copy.

So when someone says anything with "THE PEOPLE" in it other than Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address, it starts to worry me.

I cannot help remembering a bunch of scary radicals pushing propaganda and wearing pictures of Trotsky or some other Communist Saint and looking angry while they called for the downfall of American Capitalism.

Just an FYI.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 5 months ago

I'd like to offer an analogy and then perhaps I will shut up for a few days, if I can,

I recall when we were kids and at that time baseball was still the greatest sport out there. We had some of the greatest experiences a person can have in this life.

Then there were those times when a kid decided to leave early and take the bat and ball with him and stop everyone from playing. And there were those times when people insisted on not playing by the rules. It was called bad sportsmanship.

Americans have a love of competition and fair play. When you have that kind of situation and you are challenging yourself and others to be the best you can be, the game is fun.

Americans are looking desparately for what is fair. They want to know how to get to what is fair. Politics is always trying to control the game. Politicians and their handlers want to own the bat and the ball. They don't believe in fair play.

When Americans find someone who they can trust and who understands this principle, they will. vote for him every time.

It is hard to remember when baseball could be that much fun.

It's a big problem if Americans stop believing in the ideals that made America something special and America without vision will lose what made it so special.

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