Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

Browsing Posts published in November, 2010

I originally wrote this article for a friends Buy American website and have not posted it on this blog.  With the holidays here and consumer purchasing at a frenzy this seemed like a good time to share this train of thought.  Enjoy and Happy Shopping!

You Vote Everyday!

By: Darin Gilley

 

What do Ronald Reagan, John F Kennedy, and Franklin Roosevelt have in common?  These men were all Presidents of the United States and became President by receiving the support of the majority of American people that cast a ballot in those  elections.

What do the Ford F-150, Kraft cheese, and Levi’s have in common?  These products are all successful in the American marketplace.  They became successful by receiving the support of Americans as they spent their dollars on the items they want and need.

The citizens of this country are blessed that they have the opportunity to help decide who will lead this country.  We are also fortunate that we can decide which products we can purchase.  Both of these decisions will shape the type of country that we live in.   You can only vote every four years for President but vote almost everyday by choosing how to spend your dollars on the goods and services you want and need.  As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. continue reading…

This is the third chapter of Thom Hartmann’s new book, Rebooting the American Dream.  This chapter is – Stop Them From Eating My Town.

In this chapter Thom examines how Ronald Reagan helped screw small business in America  – nice “family values”.  This paved the way for mega-corporations like Wal-Mart to dominate an area and along the way force the local businesses into closing.   He also describes how other nations have avoided this trap.  Pasted below are the final two paragraphs which offer solutions, how refreshing!

Now would be a great time to reinvent the SBA from the ground up, making it a place where a person who wants to start an auto repair shop or a small retail store could find the capital to get off the ground. Of course, at the moment that would mean it would be competing with very large and powerful monopolistic banks, so it’s a politically unlikely event until the economy really crashes hard, taking those banks down with it. Nonetheless, the idea is a good one and should be promoted.

As a nation, we need to get our priorities right when it comes to providing incentives or disincentives for businesses: we need to support small, local businesses, which have created most new jobs historically; we also need to discourage or ban major corporations from their mergers-and-acquisitions mania, close the tax loopholes, and stop the tax subsidies for them. These steps, enforcing the Sherman Antitrust Act, and moving our personal banking to a local credit union—all are good starts toward keeping our towns from getting eaten up by large, predatory corporations.

I recently received a notification from my insurance carrier that I had hit the dreaded “donut hole” in my insurance coverage. I was faced with paying full book for my prescription costs for the next 3 months. Fortunately, I remembered that I had signed up for and was eligible to receive prescriptions from the VA at $8.00 or less per prescription. I had never participated in any of the VA medical programs but had heard stories( both good and bad) about these programs. So it was time for me to try out the system.

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I was reading conservative, Michale Gerson’s, OP/ED column in the Washington Post about how the last two years have proved liberalism is dead. Gerson makes some pretty lame arguments to support his thesis. In fact, the comments section was more enlightening to me than the column itself.

This comment in particular struck a chord:

I don’t care what liberals think of us conservatives.

We’re going to drive them into political oblivion anyway.

We’ve had enough of their sneering, snide Jon Stewart-type contempt for us.

Now it’s our turn.

And we’re going to wipe that smirk off Jon Stewart’s face. His show won’t be anywhere near as funny after we control all 3 branches of government.

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Surprise, surprise, surprise as Gomer Pyle used to say.  Drinking glasses from China and distributed by McDonalds, Coca-Cola and more have lead levels up to 1,000 times the accepted standard?

Remember Reagan’s theory of “trickle-down economics”? The idea that if we “soaked the rich” with tax breaks and “got government off our backs” there would be more investment in the means of production and all the taxes collected from all the new jobs would more than offset the breaks given to the well off. What riches awaited us all in this worker’s paradise!

Well, here’s how it really played out:

American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.659 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or noninflation-adjusted terms [...]

Corporate profits have been doing extremely well for a while. Since their cyclical low in the fourth quarter of 2008, profits have grown for seven consecutive quarters, at some of the fastest rates in history. As a share of gross domestic product, corporate profits also have been increasing, and they now represent 11.2 percent of total output. That is the highest share since the fourth quarter of 2006, when they accounted for 11.7 percent of output.

This breakneck pace can be partly attributed to strong productivity growth — which means companies have been able to make more with less — as well as the fact that some of the profits of American companies come from abroad. Economic conditions in the United States may still be sluggish, but many emerging markets like India and China are expanding rapidly.

And there you have it. The final outcome of Reaganomics. For decades big business and the rich got all the breaks (and continue to) and they took their record profits and invested them in the means of production — in other countries — and said screw America. Simultaneously, technological advances made it possible for industry to increase their profits even more with even fewer workers.

It was always about cheap labor. Nothing was ever meant to trickle down.

This is a rare and poignant bit of television. Former top executive of health insurance giant CIGNA, Wendell Potter, and filmmaker, Michael Moore, have a genuine conversation on national TV about the opposition research and PR campaign Potter, and the industry he worked for, waged against Moore to discredit him and his film SiCKO. It’s well worth a look. Here is part I:

Part II is here. A full transcript is here.

The level of news media collusion with industry and government to advance the corporate line de jour is unsurprising to me. It’s one of the main reasons I burned my journalism degree. What still amazes me, though, is how so many Americans keep falling for it. Pick a topic, health care, climate change, alternative energy, the same tactics are used to smear the opposition, manipulate public opinion, and ultimately prevent American progress in the name of unbridled greed. And the saddest part is, it works.

Truthout is publishing a chapter each week of Thom Hartmann’s new book, Rebooting The American Dream.  This week is Chapter 2 – Roll Back the Reagan Tax Cuts.

Be prepared to have some of your economic perceptions challenged.  With this chapter alone, you will learn that much of the conventional wisdom is wrong and why we have come to believe it.  Below is a brief excerpt,

Beyond fairness, holding back the landed gentry that the Founders worried about—America had no billionaires in today’s money until after the Civil War, with John D. Rockefeller being our first—in and of itself is an important reason to increase the top marginal tax rate and to do so now.

Novelist Larry Beinhart was the first to bring this to my attention. He looked over the history of tax cuts and economic bubbles and found a clear relationship between the two. High top marginal tax rates—generally well above 60 percent—on rich people actually stabilize the economy, prevent economic bubbles from forming, prevent the subsequent economic crashes, and lead to steady and sustained economic growth as well as steady and sustained wage growth for working people.3

On the other hand, when top marginal rates drop below 50 percent, the opposite happens.

“We are finally starting to see some of these tough decisions that we made … pay off,” said the President.

Meanwhile, the White House Council of Economic Advisers said the stimulus has already generated between 2.7 to 3.7 million jobs by the end of this year.

These words were spoken yesterday at the President’s briefing with reporters on the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of GM stock in which the government sold half its shares in General Motors.  This became the largest IPO in American history and established the bridge loan program as a success.  A Bloomberg article describing both the taxpayer dollars spent and saved with these loans is a good read.

This success will continue as the turnaround of GM accelerates.  The latest evidence is the Chevrolet Volt, which was just named the Motor Trend 2011 Car of the Year.  The latest edition of Motor Trend examines this car in depth and compares it to the Toyota Prius on their respective technical merits (no mention of the recalls).  Let’s just say one is dominating the comparison.

Just for fun, you can see Alabama Senator Richard Shelby call these bridge loans “the bailout to nowhere”

I am proud of my support for these loans and the jobs they have saved.  I do regret that the Auto Task Force did not pursue saving American jobs with the same zest as every other nation in the world that provided funds to preserve their auto industries.

Having been involved in the fight to save the Chrysler Fenton Complex, I hear many things about the reasons for that closure that have no basis in fact.  In an upcoming post I will detail why stronger unions and more government protections for workers are the reason Chrysler  kept the Windsor, Ontario van plant open.  Hint: $300 million and health care costs.

It’s pretty clear from comments made by Brian Nieves in the Washington Missourian he has no idea what he’s talking about when it comes to tax reform or the unfortunately-named Fair Tax, saying, “I think our current taxing system is regressive, not progressive in all of the fair tax studies that I have seen.”

Oh, really? Well, there is a reason why millionaire, Rex Sinquefield, bankrolled Speaker-Elect, Steve Tilley’s, campaign to the tune of $200,000, and it’s not so he could push through progressive tax laws that benefit middle-class working people at the expense of the rich. Last time I checked that was more or less the working definition of a progressive tax.

And when Missourians start to realize how eliminating Missouri’s individual income tax would cost the state about $6 billion, when the state is already facing a nearly $1 billion shortfall for its 2012 budget there are going to be some unhappy voters.

Republicans are clueless, don’t know how to solve problems, and have no idea how to govern. Need more proof? Behold the stupid from Nieves on tax reform:

“Right now there are tons of people earning income who never pay taxes,” Nieves said. “Like a drug dealer who might make $100,000 and never pays a penny of income tax.” Those people making money illegally still spend and many actually spend more – this would create a more fair environment, and recoup the tax dollars of people making money illegally.”

Is Nieves advocating making drugs legal in Missouri or is he suggesting that Missouri taxpayers behave more like illegal drug dealers? Perhaps the more important question is, why do Franklin Countians keep electing this asshat?

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