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J. KARL MILLER: Obama's Buffett rule another attack on wealthy, Romney

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:18 a.m. CDT, Friday, April 20, 2012

Any war, regardless of its context and environs, earns its particular niche in history. That I may not bore you over much with lengthy descriptions, I will limit this discourse to the 20th century and beyond.

In April 1917, after two and a half years of attempted neutrality, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war against the Central Powers in World War I, the "War to End All Wars."  In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt found it necessary to ask for a declaration of war against the Axis in yet another World War.

Following in trace of President Harry Truman's "Police Action," as the undeclared Korean War is known, and President Lyndon Johnson's markedly unpopular Vietnam war, we have endured Johnson's War on Poverty, George W. Bush's War on Terror and are presently captive witnesses to Barack Obama's War on the Wealthy.

Sadly, the only advertised success enjoyed is FDR and the Allied victory over the Axis in World War II. The "War to End All Wars" did not bear the desired fruit, Korea and Vietnam were equally inconclusive, and poverty and terrorism, unfortunately, are still very much a part of the landscape. I shudder to contemplate the consequences of this president's war against the rich — or "class warfare," as it is better known.

The administration denies the class warfare designation, instead extolling the virtues of the "Buffett Rule," a newly described federal minimum tax imposing a levy of 30 percent on the income of anyone earning more than $1 million per annum. It is named for billionaire Warren Buffett to honor his notion that middle-class workers such as his secretary should not pay income tax at a higher rate than millionaires.

Applauded by progressives as "economic justice" or "fairness" at work, this arithmetic is badly flawed. According to Internal Revenue Service calculations, the middle class pays something less than 15 percent of its income to federal taxes while the wealthiest 1 percent pays in at 26 percent. And, when the math we learned in grammar school (as opposed to this "new math") shows that the top 1 percent earn about 19 percent of U.S. income, but pay nearly 40 percent of the income tax — just where is the unfairness?

Initially, the proposal of raising taxes on the wealthy so that they would chip in with their fair share somehow included those making $250,000 or more per year as millionaires and billionaires. Apparently, even this business-challenged administration discovered this was quite a stretch, hence the substitute of the Buffett Rule to punish those who dared be rich.

Ending the Bush tax cuts or imposing the Buffett Rule — take your pick — originally was heralded as a formula by which the wealthy would provide sufficient revenue to limit fluctuations of the deficit and begin paying down the national debt over the next 10 years.

However, the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation determined that the 30 percent millionaire tax would raise but $47 billion in revenue. The Treasury Department's estimate was not measurably brighter — $5 billion a year for 10 years. To hide the fact that the numbers did not add up, the administration merely ratcheted up the volume of blaming the rich.

For those who pose a disclaimer, opining that the party of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson would never lower itself to such degradation, let's take a look at the campaign against Mitt Romney, the Republican front runner and almost inevitable nominee. The former Massachusetts governor, while by no means a charismatic or even accomplished campaigner, is, by all accounts, a courteous, self-made man with absolutely no hint of scandal to his name.

Moreover, Mr. Romney has proven that he can govern with bipartisan success, succeed in business and create jobs. He also took the bribery-infested can of worms that was the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City and transformed it into a profitable and honest venture. His record shows he is, in fact, pragmatic, intelligent and moderate enough to appeal to the independent voter. He need not stoop to demagoguery and misrepresenting facts to hide his lack of accomplishment.

What is his failing you ask? Alas, it is that he is afflicted with great wealth — he is one of those (gasp) one-percenters whose income is derived from investments and taxed at 15 percent. The mere fact that he is rich (did you know his wife owns two Cadillacs?) purports to render him out of touch with the middle- and low-income classes.

I don't recall either of the two Senators Kennedy (inherited wealth) campaigns or the Senator Kerry (married into wealth twice) campaign being maligned or even questioned by the public, the media or the opposition. One would think the issue of "fairness" or "economic justice" would prevail on both sides of the political aisle.

In closing, I doubt any of my readers are so naive as to believe that politics, particularly in running for office, is not a collision sport, nor does the milk of human kindness flow through the veins of the candidates, nor that truth is never a casualty. Nevertheless, the waging of class warfare is a robbing of Peter to pay Paul — in so doing, the purloiner makes an enemy of the much less abundant Peter while acquiring the eternal friendship of Paul.

It is sad indeed when an incumbent cannot run for re-election on the strength of his record, but instead attempts to turn the electorate against the wealthiest 1 percent as if enjoying the success of the American dream is somehow immoral or unfair.

It's called buying votes.

J. Karl Miller retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps. He is a Columbia resident and can be reached via email at JKarlUSMC@aol.com.


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Comments

Mark Foecking April 18, 2012 | 8:23 a.m.

"However, the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation determined that the 30 percent millionaire tax would raise but $47 billion in revenue — 10 years of spending more than $4.8 trillion."

You mean $480 billion over 10 years, right?

Raising the effective rate from 26 to 30% wouldn't raise a lot of revenue, but it wouldn't make a lot of difference to someone with an income over a million. Someone who gets more of their income from capital gains would see their taxes go up more than someone with $1 million in wages/salary.

It's just more election year maneuvering and rhetoric, in that I agree. The effect of this on both revenue and wealth will be very minor.

DK

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 18, 2012 | 9:23 a.m.

Mark F. - "but it wouldn't make a lot of difference to someone with an income over a million.)

Are you not aware of the 10% Luxury Tax of 1991? New aircraft, luxury autos and new yachts were deemed by Democrat controlled Congress as an easy way to collect new revenue that "wouldn't make a lot of difference to someone with an income over a million.".

Unfortunately the wealthy boaters in our country did not see it that way to save the 10% they went went offshore or bought year old vessels, decimating our burgeoning boating industry. The loss was felt up, down and across all of our coasts (30,000 jobs were lost in FL alone) and inland as well. It took D. LA Senator, John Breaux 2 years to get the tax repealed (PayGo, you know).

This latest attempt at grab of private capital was not attempted by a "centrist" and neither were those that stopped it in the Senate, "centrists".

(Report Comment)
matt arnall April 18, 2012 | 9:24 a.m.

In regards to the Buffett Rule, it would seem that the people elected to represent us in government would recognize that 72% of the population are in favor of it and it would be passed. In regards to class warfare, I believe the middle class has come under attack by the wealthiest few, not the other way around. In regards to Romney, he says anything to appeal to whoever he is speaking to at that point in time. He just tried to portray himself as a conservative, while his past clearly shows he is not. To say that Obama is waging a war on the wealthy is just plain ignorant. Having them pay their fare share of taxes just makes sense. What would the arguement be for a millionaire to pay less of a percentage of taxes than a secratary or school teacher? Wealthy people do have a leg up, actually several legs up on the rest of us, and I am not just talking about having a large bank account. Wealthy people are the only ones that get real representation in our government as they are the ones hiring lobbiest that buy our elected officials who define the playing field. So with all these advantages, you believe that they should have less of a tax burden too? Interesting perspective.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 18, 2012 | 9:46 a.m.

New information! We elect our governmental representatives to read "polls", then vote accordingly.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall April 18, 2012 | 9:57 a.m.

Old information. We elect REPRESENTATIVES. If they are not representing us, what are they representing?

(Report Comment)
matt arnall April 18, 2012 | 10:13 a.m.

So right though Frank. It is crazy of me to think that elected officials should take public opinion into consideration when deciding what is best for us.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 18, 2012 | 10:18 a.m.

Matt, please provide some statistics that show the "rich" aren't paying their fair share. Yes, there are some rich folks or corporations who pay less in taxes than the average, but that occurs in lower tax brackets as well.

(Report Comment)
Brian Trenhaile April 18, 2012 | 10:38 a.m.

A recent article covering some of the commonly used tax loopholes that the rich are able to take advantage of:

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/201...

Not related to payroll tax I realize. But still a good article detailing how the rich get richer.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall April 18, 2012 | 10:52 a.m.

John, the brackets as you already know are increased as your earnings increase on earned wages. Loop holes are availible for the rich and the poor. However the rich employ accountants that find "ways" to lower their taxes through questionable means. It would be the governments job to close the nonsensical holes that are used to unfairly lower their tax %. However, lawmakers no longer get things done in Washington, lobbiest do. And as best as I can tell there are no lobbiest that work for anyone other than wealthy individuals and corporations. Therefore, the middle and lower class are not equally represented making things skewed to benefit the upper class. Is there really any disagreement that the rich are given more benefits than the middle class? I agree there are rich cheats, middle class cheats and poor cheats. I say get them all and have them pay their fare share, rich or poor. The other issue is the lower tax % on non wage earnings. These only apply to the wealthy as few in the middle class enjoy capital gains earnings.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall April 18, 2012 | 11:02 a.m.

Thanks Brian. Good article.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 18, 2012 | 11:25 a.m.

Who's to say what's fair?
("The Poor Abused Thing… Buffet’s Secretary Makes $200K to $500K a Year")
http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/01/...
("Didn't Warren Buffet game the system and make his salary 50k so he wouldn't pay a higher income tax bracket?")
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?...
("Tax returns: Romney donates millions to Mormon church")
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/53...
("Tax returns show Romney paid $3 million in taxes in 2010")
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/01/...
("Obama pays $162,074 in taxes on $789,674 income")
http://washingtonexaminer.com/2012/04/ob...
("""Wherever Buffett goes he should be asked why, if he really feels that way about taxes, he takes advantage of every tax break and pays not a penny more than required.by law.

Instead of arguing that his secretary is taxed too much, he says he is taxed too little, yet has never volunteered any of his extra income to the US Treasury.

If, as Buffett suggests, the tax code is so unfair, then he is guilty of profiting from unfairness when he is fully capable of leading by example, either by paying more to the government voluntarily or by paying his secretaries' taxes for her, which he is easily capable of doing. In fact, he could pay every one of his personal employees taxes and not even notice.

One of the great things that fantastic wealth provides is the ability to make your own world. Buffet isn't content to make his own world, he wants to use government power to change everyone else's world as he thinks things should be.

I normally don't begrudge peoples' wealth - even fantastical wealth such as Buffett's but this guy doesn't deserve his money, and he apparently would agree.")
http://ricochet.com/main-feed/How-Much-T...

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 18, 2012 | 12:21 p.m.

B. Trenhaile - As stated, your article was about tax loopholes. Too bad the agenda did not allow you to name those trying to close them. It would involve only Republicans. Paul Ryan's revised tax code suggestions, which basically calls for elimination of most loop holes and lowering of rates should be labeled as "fair" by most of the left but, is rather referred to as "risky", by Democrats. Business Week, as do all the other "left leaning" folks among us, continually must refer to tax Rates in their arguments about why ever more money is due our government. Whenever they turn to dollar amounts (which are all that counts), they become "dead in the water".

Would be interesting to read how Matt and Bryan would be personally affected (which is really all that counts) if they got the wish, "I say get them all and have them pay their fare share, rich or poor."

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield April 18, 2012 | 12:49 p.m.

I'm still waiting for Jonathan Sparks to explain how someone making around $60K pays federal income taxes and FICA at a rate of 33%-41%.

(Report Comment)
Cantor Billows April 18, 2012 | 12:52 p.m.

O Missourian, why do you subject us to these inchoate ramblings? Miller's writing is a putrid as his consistently flawed "logic."

(Report Comment)
matt arnall April 18, 2012 | 1:22 p.m.

Frank says "Would be interesting to read how Matt and Bryan would be personally affected (which is really all that counts) if they got the wish, "I say get them all and have them pay their fare share, rich or poor."

Wouldn't affect me at all Frank. My taxes are paid and I didn't even look for ways to skirt the system. As usual, I am having a hard time following what you are trying to say.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 18, 2012 | 1:35 p.m.

"O Missourian, why do you subject us to these inchoate ramblings?"

That was easy to write. Anything else to allow us witness to the great magnitude of your thoughts?

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller April 18, 2012 | 1:44 p.m.

Mr Billows, I have to wonder about someone whose everyday vocabulary includes such archaic words as "inchoate." Forsooth, doth thy word usage include the likes of Chaucer's "'Wepyng and waylyng, care and oother sorwe
I knowe ynogh, on even and a-morwe,?"

Inasmuch as you fail to provide specifics as to your dissatisfaction or how I may improve my otherwise "putrid" output, I am at a loss to understand your purpose in posting. However, I do have a suggestion--if my opinions pain you so sorely, there are other alternatives--I suggest you try the library?

Have a nice day.

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders April 18, 2012 | 1:59 p.m.

Damn Col., you take a perfectly good critique of yet another failure of a tax initiative and wrap it up in divide and conquer politics. This makes you no better than any other who would use the (mis)fortunes of some to encourage others to act out in such a criminal fashion in order to make things "fair." (See, taxation is theft, thus having no place in a peaceful, mature society (it only "works" as you've played it in an immature one).)

Even without that though, it is easy to illuminate just how "soak the rich" always fails. Let's do some math, shall we?

Starting at it's lowest level of one million, 30% comes out to $333k. So, anyone looking at that level of taxation can spend up to $332,999 to "avoid" it and still come out ahead.

I don't know about you, but I bet I could find quite a few talented accountants who would cost far less, but could find ways to reduce the overall payout.

This has happened each and every time one of these new schemes is hatched, as revenues NEVER meet projections. Besides, these older schemes are what have helped cause such an "imbalance" in tax receipts in the first place, as compensation for the big earners has moved from salary to equity (and/or other non-income benefits).

The real problem here, which is addressed exactly nowhere in the article, is the creation of the non-Federal, non-Reserve banking system, a private banking cartel that has continually debased the value of our money over the last ninety plus years. (starting with Wilson's War, BTW)

Sorry Col., but anyone advocating the political system as a means of creating a healthy society is fully delusional. How about taking your oath seriously and start learning how the US was taken over in the Bankster Coup of 1913?

Simply put, your government is wholly unconstitutional, and all of your words do nothing but further the crime in progress. If nothing else, at least start listening to Dr. Ron Paul. You may not like his words, but they are the very key to maintaining the Republic.

Better yet, here's a great video demonstrating the impossibility of using taxation to fund government.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=661pi6K-8...

In reality, taxation is a mere pittance of overall spending, instead being just a tool of social control. The only way the system works today is by massive borrowing. But I see you didn't address that either (other than to provide the laughable line about paying it down).

With all due respect Sir, you speak of things you have absolutely no understanding of. Question is, will you choose to remain ignorant while displaying it publicly in this column? Or will you move to seek rational solutions to real problems by first coming to understand them?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 18, 2012 | 2:30 p.m.

"And as best as I can tell there are no lobbiest [sic] that work for anyone other than wealthy individuals and corporations."

Well, let's see.

There's SEIU, Occupy, Common Cause, Health Care for America Now, Public Citizen, Americans United for Change, Priorities USA Action, Rainbow Coalition, Sierra Club, most teachers' unions, most other unions, etc.

I'm guessing all of these organizations are staffed by unpaid lobbyists since there "are no lobbiest [sic] that work for anyone other than wealthy individuals and corporations."

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 18, 2012 | 3:03 p.m.

"Wouldn't affect me at all Frank." That is the correct answer!

Everyone's "fair share" was first introduced as propaganda for Clinton-Gore "deficit reduction" scam.
None of the money collected from some Democrat's idea of what the fair share, of each us should be, would ever be noted anywhere except by the Democrats who spent it and/or received it. It would be spent as soon as an idea of how much was coming, right along with every other dollar the D's in control could spend. Reagan signed a loop hole closing bill with understanding from D' Congress that 4$ in spending cuts would accompany every 1$ new revenue from loophole closing. New revenue came, no spending cuts ever did. Somehow, these facts never compute with you.

(Report Comment)
John Bliss April 18, 2012 | 3:20 p.m.

Colonel, As Mr Shapiro pointed out how much the Obama's paid in taxes, he failed to mention that they paid 20.5% his Asst, making $95,00 paid a higher rate, although the White House isn't saying how much.
You mentioned that Jackson and Jefferson would not lower themselves to this, but, both owned slaves.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 18, 2012 | 3:42 p.m.

J.Karl:

Forsooth? Let's put it in some context.

Romeo loved Juliet
Juliet she felt the same
When he put his arms around her
he said, "Julie, baby, you're my flame."
Thou give-est fever when we kiss-eth
Fever with flaming youth
Fever ... I'm afire!
Fever yea I burn FORSOOTH."...

...Now you've listened to my story
Here's the point that I have made
Cats were born to give chicks fever
Be it Fahrenheit or centigrade.

The song "Fever" has been performed by a number of artists, including Madonna, but the all time best version is the one by Peggy Lee. Gawd! Armed Forces Radio Network playing that Peggy Lee rendition late at night (to a bunch of lonely and somewhat horny GIs).

(Report Comment)
Brian Trenhaile April 18, 2012 | 3:45 p.m.

@ Matt Arnall

There's no sense in feeding the trolls on here. Start counting how many times Frank refers to democrats as Socialists and you'll soon realize there's no hope for some. No matter what you say or what facts you present, Frank will always hold his precious Republicans on a pedestal and talk condescendingly to anyone remotely leaning left.

I've voted Republican many times. I've also voted Democrat. Frank says the word "Democrat" (or some variation of the word) like he's getting whipped every time it comes out of his mouth. Hate to break it to you Frank - Nearly all politicians are corrupt...Even the Republicans you hold so highly.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall April 18, 2012 | 3:52 p.m.

MW_ Big difference between advocacy groups and lobbiest. And you list Occupy as a lobby group. Was that meant to be humorous?

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 18, 2012 | 4:14 p.m.

Brian T. - "But still a good article detailing how the rich get richer." Your posts, that I have read, have never said anything more complementary than this, about those that have earned wealth among us. You have shown more angst toward the wealthy with no proof for the reason than I, toward liberal Democrats. Your problem is that every contradictory remark I make about Democrats is accompanied by a factual example of their wrongdoing. You may not have read, but I have several times noted that I am conservative while acknowledging that in this fight for a strong prosperous U.S.A., Republicans are "all we got!" You probably cannot even admit that there is, indeed, a fight.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 18, 2012 | 4:24 p.m.

Vote for Romney.
1. He's richer than Obama.
2. He's not a communist/socialist/progressive liberal.
3. He doesn't eat man's best friend.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 18, 2012 | 4:25 p.m.

matt arnall wrote:

"Big difference between advocacy groups and lobbiest."

No. Both attempt to influence legislators by persuasion. There's no practical difference between a professional environmental activist meeting with a Senator, and a lobbyist for an oil company. The difference is how one feels philosopically about the interest being lobbied for.

Occupy tries to influence public opinion, but I don't believe they've sent representatives to speak with legislators to any extent. They'd need to come up with specific talking points, and this has seemed to be a major problem for them.

DK

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 18, 2012 | 4:29 p.m.

Matt says, "Big difference between advocacy groups and lobbiest [sic]."
____________________

Yes, and the difference is you support one, but not the other.

What do you think "advocacy" means? They mean "try to influence an outcome."

I remind you that you are the one who wrote: ""And as best as I can tell there are no lobbiest [sic] that work for anyone other than wealthy individuals and corporations.""

Well, yes....there are. Your statement is incorrect.
____________________

And yes....Occupy is often humorous.
_____________________

PS: Any group/person that advocates a position to government...tries to influence an outcome...by ANY means is a lobbyist. This is why Occupy is a lobbying group. The only difference between a good lobbyist and a bad lobbyist is the position you happen to support and how you wish to shape the argument and assign any associated pejoratives.

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller April 18, 2012 | 5:04 p.m.

Mr Foecking,
The 47 billion is correct..4.7 billion dollars per year for 10 years. The Treasury Department's estimate was 5 billion per year for a total of 50 billion dollars. It would require 100 years of the Buffett rule to reach 470 million dollars in revenue. The Buffett Rule is but a symbolic gesture to fool the have nots into believing the President actually cares about anything but their vote.

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller April 18, 2012 | 5:19 p.m.

Mr Saunders,your ending diatribe "With all due respect Sir, you speak of things you have absolutely no understanding of. Question is, will you choose to remain ignorant while displaying it publicly in this column? Or will you move to seek rational solutions to real problems by first coming to understand them?" is much too amusing to consider an insulting personal attack or be provoked to anger.

I understand Rep/Dr Paul's Libertarian views and tend to agree with perhaps 80 percent. However, Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are two peas in a pod on the subject of National Defense--a stance that I consider a disaster looking for a place to happen.

Mr Saunders, consider me ignorant if you must--but, I am sufficiently intelligent to understand that I have more chance of winning the lottery than Ron Paul has of being President.

Have a nice day.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt April 18, 2012 | 5:24 p.m.

Karl said: "I am sufficiently intelligent to understand that I have more chance of winning the lottery than Ron Paul has of being President."

I know your comment wasn't meant to be taken literally and everyone loves hyperbole, but no, you don't.

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller April 18, 2012 | 5:30 p.m.

Ellis, I cannot but agree with you that Peggy Lee was by far the most winsome artist who covered the song "Fever." The original recording I believe was by "Little Willie John"
in 1956. In those years, I was a fan of Fats Domino, Hank Ballard (who wrote and recorded the Twist originally and all the Doo Woppers. We show our age.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 18, 2012 | 5:40 p.m.

Doo-Wop and shooby-doo.

Oh lord. I'm so old.........

(Report Comment)
matt arnall April 18, 2012 | 6:09 p.m.

Advocacy group= trying to influence decisions thru talking points and intellect.
Lobbiest= filling the pockets of polititians until they have sold their vote to that lobbiest.
Looks like a difference to me. You are so intelligent so why must I explain simple differences. Money changes hands with a lobbiest, advocacy groups represent nonwealthy individuals or groups, so all they have is reason. There is a difference.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 18, 2012 | 6:47 p.m.

Well, at least I know how to spell "lobbyist".
I seem to have problems with "ad hominem", tho.
Haven't messed up "public" yet; Ellis has that distinction.

Are unions ever lobbyists...in your definition?

Anyway, you split hairs on the definition. Here's a more authoritative source:

lob·by (lb)
n.
3. A group of persons engaged in trying to influence legislators or other public officials in favor of a specific cause: the banking lobby; the labor lobby.
v.
To try to influence the thinking of legislators or other public officials for or against a specific cause: lobbying for stronger environmental safeguards; lobbied against the proliferation of nuclear arms.
v.tr.
1. To try to influence public officials on behalf of or against (proposed legislation, for example): lobbied the bill through Congress; lobbied the bill to a negative vote.
2. To try to influence (an official) to take a desired action.

Here's another:

lob·by·ist
[lob-ee-ist]
noun
a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest; a member of a lobby.
___________________

I see no mention of money or techniques, aggressive or benign; maybe if you re-read the more authoritative and unbiased definitions for me you can find something I missed.

I think you need a different word, because ALL of the entities I noted are indeed lobbyists. Even Occupy.

PS: Does lobbying involve locally-laundered money changing hands to the DNC by your definition? Or does the definition make a difference to you on who does the doing?

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 18, 2012 | 7:01 p.m.

matt a. - Who told you, "Lobbiest= filling the pockets of polititians until they have sold their vote to that lobbiest."?

This may be your most erroneous statement, to date. Unlike the crooked demons portrayed by progressive liberals as cause of our corrupt government, to draw attention from the corrupt legislators they promote and defend, most lobbyists are as the salesmen every business man deals with every day.

An honest legislator need only reject the suggestion of bribery by any lobbyist. The legislator must have the new information to be provided by an expert in a field he may know nothing about. These experts also=lobbyists!

Many prefer to protect the corrupt in our government by blaming those, that by necessity, surround them. These are the ones we must remove, at least, from control of our government!

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 18, 2012 | 7:05 p.m.

matt arnall wrote:

"Money changes hands with a lobbiest"

It better not. That's bribery, and it's a felony. Are you saying that corporate lobbyists bribe our legislators? Pretty serious charge there, Matt. Any proof?

DK

(Report Comment)
Louis Schneebaum April 18, 2012 | 9:42 p.m.

Wow 'J. Karl Miller', you're trying to establish a correlation between WW1, WW2, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, The War on Terror, and the so-called 'War on the Wealthy'? This may be one of the most mind-eviscerating banalities that I've ever read outside of a FOX news discussion board.

You seem to suggest that the most wealthy in our country, rolled up their sleeves and earned their money through blistering hard work; not so. In fact, the extremely wealthy's share of the pie is getting larger, while the plurality of the populace live in an 'ethical abomination' (i.e. a gross and undemocratic per capita allocation of resources perpetuated by preferential legislation). Even now, a tent city in Ann Arbor, Michigan has swollen to 48 families. This poverty trend is increasing all over the country. Try stepping outside of your bubble for a moment, 'J. Karl, SHILL-er'.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote April 18, 2012 | 11:54 p.m.

The idea of progressive taxation has been around for a very long time. Here's Adam Smith, the father of capitalism, in The Wealth of Nations (Book V) arguing in favor of progressive taxation:

“It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”
quote from here: http://www.bartleby.com/10/502.html

The Buffet rule was meant to ensure was that the tax rates revert to a progressive schedule.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/economy/buffet...
What Mr. Miller and his fellow conservatives are arguing for is that tax rates should be regressive. Of course he doesn't explicitly state this, because it is a radical idea with little public support. Instead he dances around the issue and accuses those who wish to return to a progressive tax schedule via the Buffet rule of waging class warfare and further implies that those currently subject to regressive rates are in fact paying their fair share. Perhaps he could enlighten us as to how a regressive schedule would be beneficial, as I am unfamiliar with the literature extolling the virtues of a regressive system.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 19, 2012 | 5:11 a.m.

J. Karl:

Captain Smith and Pocahantas
Had a very mad affair
When her daddy tried to kill him
She said "Daddy-O, don't you dare
He gives me fever with his kisses
Fever when he holds me tight
Fever, I'm his misses,
Oh Daddy won't you treat him right?"

I realize I'm taking up "valuable" space, but I'm going to posit, as I frequently do, that my comments are as relevant as some others that are being made.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 19, 2012 | 7:14 a.m.

"their fair share.", again. Most worn out term in the liberal vocabulary. Clinton, Gore, Reich & Co. used it in every other sentence, after deciding that "deficit reduction" would be their best theme for the extraction of money from others through government.

(Report Comment)
Brian Trenhaile April 19, 2012 | 7:45 a.m.

@ Frank

I've linked to a bit of history on tax rates (lowest and highest brackets) going back to 1913. It doesn't appear that the "fair share" idea has only recently come about so I wouldn't try and pin the idea solely on Clinton or Gore.

http://ntu.org/tax-basics/history-of-fed...

Look even more closely at the income limits for the higher tax brackets. All the way back in 1916 there was evidence of a "millionaire tax". This isn't the first time the issue has been brought up.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield April 19, 2012 | 8:46 a.m.

The AMT is another example of a millionaire tax. It's also an example of why it's naïve to believe that tax increases designed only for "the rich" won't trickle down to the middle class, too. Congress created the AMT to target only a couple hundred of the highest earners, but by 2008, 27% of households paying the AMT had AGIs of $200K or less. Congress hasn't and won't index the AMT to inflation to prevent bracket creep because it doesn't want to give up that revenue.

Be careful what you wish for.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 19, 2012 | 9:00 a.m.

Brian T. - Not "idea".
At risk of antagonizing you again, we know what the Democrat idea consists of. The "term", "fair share", was my subject. To promote the new taxation in Clinton's deficit reduction plan, his Cabinet was put on public radio to answer questions. KFRU carried it.

A young man spoke to R. Reich (wound up as labor Sec.)and explained in great detail how Clinton's program would deter growth, if not destroy the new business he had recently started. Reich's answer: "well, it's clear, your problem is, you haven't been paying, your fair share!". He gave the young man little else n his answer. That was the theme, our country could never be successful until everyone pays, "their fair share", announced over and over in every liberal conversation, no matter where or when.

Obama has simply disinterred the term for His new push for more confiscation of private capital.

You refer again to "rates". Show us the % of total dollar amounts paid by the upper divisions of our wealthy.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 19, 2012 | 9:21 a.m.

Christopher Foote wrote:

"What Mr. Miller and his fellow conservatives are arguing for is that tax rates should be regressive"

If you're only talking about federal taxes, they are already significantly progressive:

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/...

Notice in 2007, the effective rate for the bottom quintile was 4.0% and for the top quintile it was 25%. This is why the top 50% of earners pay over 90% of total federal income taxes, and many in the lower 50% pay none at all, or even get money back.

If you're also taking into account things like sales and property taxes, then yes, those can be significantly regressive as a percentage of a household's income. But federal taxes are already significantly progressive.

26% to 30% is a drop in the bucket anyway. It's just election year rhetoric. We'll continue to borrow money to run government until we can't anymore (regardless of who is in power).

DK

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote April 19, 2012 | 9:39 a.m.

@MF,
Yes federal tax rates are in the aggregate progressive. However, a number of people in the upper echelons have effectively regressive federal income tax rates due to how they earn their money as well as employing various tax sheltering strategies. The Buffet rule would ensure that everyone's rates are progressive. I would also note that $5 billion a year is not an insignificant sum. We need not only to address the spending side of the equation, but also the revenue side to start paying down the deficit. Ideally revenues would be equal to spending at the midpoint in the business cycle, i.e. not just at the top of the business cycle.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush April 19, 2012 | 10:37 a.m.

Cheaters and scoundrels,
Thieves and bankers always think
They deserve their spoils.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 19, 2012 | 10:56 a.m.

Christopher Foote wrote:

"The Buffet rule would ensure that everyone's rates are progressive."

I agree it might be a step along that path, but others in lower brackets (including one on this board) have mentioned total tax burdens of 50%. Closing loopholes and attention to who actually pays what rates might be a better way to attack the problem (and I'm not even sure it's a significant problem - the aggregates are more important than the variation within them).

"I would also note that $5 billion a year is not an insignificant sum."

In the context of a $3.5 trillion dollar budget or a $1.5 trillion deficit, I'd argue it's pretty insignificant.

"Ideally revenues would be equal to spending at the midpoint in the business cycle, i.e. not just at the top of the business cycle."

Completely agree, except to do that, we'd have to cut so much, and raise taxes so much, that no politician would support it. As long as we can continue to borrow money for mext to nothing, nothing will change. When we can't, everything will change, and it will not be pretty.

Gregg Bush wrote:

"Cheaters and scoundrels,
Thieves and bankers always think
They deserve their spoils"

If a man's wealth is
Legally earned, then you nor
I can judge "deserved"

DK

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 19, 2012 | 11:13 a.m.

I agree with Mark's comment, the obsession on deviance within tax brackets is a bit odd. I once calculated my tax percentage on my last several years of tax returns and was usually in the 14 to 17 percent rate instead of my actual tax bracket (23 or 25 I think). If some people want everyone to pay their "fair share" then they better be prepared for their own tax deductions (mortgage interest, kid exemptions, childcare deductions, etc.) to go away and your rate to go up as well.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield April 19, 2012 | 11:24 a.m.

"If you're only talking about federal taxes, they are already significantly progressive: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/...... Notice in 2007, the effective rate for the bottom quintile was 4.0% and for the top quintile it was 25%. This is why the top 50% of earners pay over 90% of total federal income taxes, and many in the lower 50% pay none at all, or even get money back."

But Mark, those figures can't possibly be right, according to Warren Buffett and Missourian columnist Joe Sparks, who claim that someone making around $60K pays federal income taxes and FICA at a rate of 33%-41%.

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller April 19, 2012 | 12:34 p.m.

I have two relevant questions for those who rise in support of the "Buffett Rule." How many jobs will be created by signing the Buffett minumum tax levy into law? How many jobs are created as a result of any tax increase? Unless one counts the added bureaucrats to administer the "wealth redistribution" or the lawyers who will seek to undo the redistibution, the answer is zero.

(Report Comment)
Brian Trenhaile April 19, 2012 | 12:49 p.m.

@ Karl Miller

How many are (were) created as a result of the tax break?
Why are corporations sitting on billions of dollars in cash (much of that obtained from tax breaks) while high unemployment rates continue?

I've never heard a convincing argument that the "Trickle-Down" theory works.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 19, 2012 | 1:20 p.m.

Here they are again. Foote&Foecking, two great minds, reading like mediocre 'coon dogs, "barking up the wrong tree".

The Buffett Rule - "I would also note that $5 billion a year is not an insignificant sum." Might I add that neither is the 5B$, Guaranteed! You have both been shown time and again (once right here)that people when they deem a tax unfair will do the necessary, to avoid payment. The wealthy whom you love to criticize for all the legal means they have available, can put every lawyer they retain (your latest mentor, Buffett, is reportedly now in court fighting payment 0f 1B$ in back taxes)to work beating the rap. Our government winds up with a settlement or nothing. Others will just decide to set back and not earn the targeted amount. You can count on this shakedown for the same result as the 10% Luxury Tax.

Your stabs at budgets and deficits (never balanced budgets, only reduced deficits) include spending cuts only after new revenue obtained. We know what D's do, obtain the revenue, then forget the cuts!

Why do you never consider removal of hundreds of duplicate programs, or rejection of the baseline budget accounting, an open invitation for misappropriation of tax funds created by D' controlled Congress. We know you can never consider new revenues received by way of across the board tax cuts. If you did, you'd have explain to yourselves why liberals are needed in our government. Much more difficult than crunching the numbers to show,"we can't get there from here!"

(Report Comment)
Brian Trenhaile April 19, 2012 | 3:52 p.m.

@ Frank

"We know what D's do, obtain the revenue, then forget the cuts!"

I invite you to consider that Republicans are equally as guilty as Democrats at failing to balance the budget. Again with the hoisting of Republicans to a pedestal. Take the blinders off...The real world is out there.

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller April 19, 2012 | 4:14 p.m.

Mr Trenhaile,
Answering a question with a question is either a. purposely evasive or b. a sign that you cannot provide a reasonable response to the original question.

Nevertheless, I choose to respond with answers to yours. First, the result of President Bush's cutting tax rates was 52 straight months of job growth--8 million jobs in 6 years. Moreover, the average unemployment rate for the entire Bush Presidency was 5.3 percent.

As to "Why are corporations sitting on billions of dollars in cash (much of that obtained from tax breaks) while high unemployment rates continue?" that should be obvious. No entrepreneur, be it a corporation, a small business or a mom and pop operation, will risk capital to expand, hire or start a business with the current uncertainty over the lack of an energy program, the cost of Obamacare, this administration's penchant for raising taxes, ad infinitum. By the way, what is your source determining that much of the corporation's on hand billions were obtained by tax breaks?

I do understand your concern..a true progressive is always ready to spend money that is not his/hers.

I hope I have answered your questions.

Have a nice day.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 19, 2012 | 5:41 p.m.

No, Carl, from Mr Trenhaile's post, prior to yours, it is clear that he should have many unanswered questions.

Brian, in our Congress, the party in the majority selects the agenda. The minority party can only disagree or agree with that agenda, they can never change it. Democrats controlled our Congress for more than 40 years until 1994. House R's shut down two Democrat slush funds, House bank and House post office and cut off a $10,000 per year "stipend" to each member of Black Caucus (insured their votes). Then passed Tax Payer Relief Act and Balanced Budget Act of 1997, got Clinton to sign them, created the activity providing new revenues, controlled spending and balanced our budget (first time since 1968)4 years in a row, reduced our debt more than 500B$, until 9/11.

No, I will not consider "that Republicans are equally as guilty as Democrats at failing to balance the budget." If you had not been under the blanket, or whatever, blinding you to "The real world", you would know better than to make such a statement. Give up Daily Kos and Think Progress. Ask your questions around Heritage Foundation and Cato. You are so ill-informed it is unbelievable.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote April 19, 2012 | 7:22 p.m.

Let me see if I follow Mr. Miller's logic. Following the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts the economy added 8 million jobs, due in no small part to the lower rate of taxes people were paying.
I would note that the 8 million number is a cherry picked fiction from John Boehner: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/...
It conveniently omits Bush's final year in office when the economy was hemorrhaging jobs, but whatever, we'll accept it at face value. In the 8 years prior to Bush, under significantly higher tax rates the economy added 23 million jobs. If we were to use Mr. Miller's metric of evaluating jobs created as an indication of whether a policy "worked", it strikes me that the higher tax environment had a much better effect on job creation than the low tax environment (23 million vs. 8 million). Perhaps Mr. Miller could comment on this discrepancy.
Also for future columns what is the rule in evaluating the economic policies of Presidents? Can we simply discount the data that doesn't fit with our biases, i.e. not include job losses during a recession, when job gains fit our narrative? I suspect Mr. Miller will have a very different standard when it comes to the evaluation of Mr. Obama's economic policies.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 19, 2012 | 8:40 p.m.

Christopher, you read as ill-informed as the one I wrote to earlier, we know, however you are not!

"It conveniently omits Bush's final year in office when the economy was hemorrhaging jobs,". Cherry picking? This year was the year the Clinton, Frank, Dodd, housing scheme began to blow our economy apart.

I have just explained the 8 years prior to Bush! Clinton's "deficit reduction" plan with it's new and increased taxes was well under way (Stock market was at 3,300), when, in Jan, 1994 Republicans took both houses of Congress.

That sir, was the end of "significantly higher tax rates" and you know it! How it must have hurt to include the accurate gain of 23M jobs with your falsification of the other events.

As to "future columns", it would be hoped that those posting comments might be as accurate as this writer. Those whom would rather not will fodder the liberal disbelief. Which, I suppose is the reason they remain with us.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 19, 2012 | 8:45 p.m.

Just now noted that I misspelled Karl, above. Sorry. Mr. Foote will probably post SEE?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 19, 2012 | 9:57 p.m.

Frank, why didn't Reagan and Bush the Elder have the common sense to veto the Democrat budgets of belt-busting doom?

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote April 19, 2012 | 10:31 p.m.

@Frank,

The Republicans never passed federal income tax cuts under Clinton. After Clinton raised them in 1993, the income tax rates remained the same until Bush lowered them in 2001.
In 1997 Clinton did relent to a capital gains tax cut (from 28% to 20%).
Are you now going to make the argument that taxes on capital gains were the major driver of Clinton-era economic gains, and income tax rates weren't all that important? If so, I would note that the economy improved dramatically after Clinton's tax increase and well before 1997. I would not go so far as to say the tax increase was the direct cause of that economic success. It does however provide a stark counterpoint to those arguing that raising taxes significantly hurts economic growth.

(Report Comment)
Brian Trenhaile April 19, 2012 | 11:47 p.m.

@ Frank

It's laughable when someone like yourself admits to getting news from The Heritage Foundation and CATO. It's like admitting you're a fool while attempting to call one out at the same time.

Fyi - I never visit Think Progress and Daily Kos.

I like how you "cherry-pick" a few of the good things Republicans have done but attempt to blame a Democrat (Clinton above) for anything that goes wrong when Repubs are at fault. I used to blame my sister for things she didn't do. However, I was 12 at the time. Don't worry - you'll grow out of it eventually.

Do you have any sources (real sources - not those embarrassing ones you mentioned earlier) to substantiate your claim that Bush added 23 million jobs? I'm finding he only created (net) 3 million jobs over 8 years. I'm sure you'll attribute only the losses to Clinton's administration and give full credit to the Republican for any job gains.

Here's some reading pertaining to the Bush era from the US Census. Surely we can both agree they are an agreeable source of information.
http://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-...

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 20, 2012 | 12:19 a.m.

Bryan, your point might be stronger if you knew the Cato Institute was named after a Roman Senator and is not an acronym. But then, that would mean you would have to actually point out some real flaws in their work. A survey a couple years ago found they were second on the list of most trusted think tanks in Washington D.C. for those on both the left and the right. Says more than your pablum, eh?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 20, 2012 | 12:21 a.m.

My apologies to Brian for making him a Bryan...

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 20, 2012 | 8:25 a.m.

Christopher - "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omnibus_Budget_Reconciliation_Act_of_1993"

This itemizes the Clinton tax and Fee increases and you can note they were not all aimed at "rich"

"Are you now going to make the argument that taxes on capital gains were the major driver of Clinton-era economic gains, and income tax rates weren't all that important?" Absolutely! Cap gain cuts affect far more people than income taxes on our richest. It is proven thru history taxes on ultra rich are paid only if they so desire. What really hurts the middle class is when these rich decide that to earn the required amount is just not worth the effort. Jobs And tax revenues are then lost. When the rest of us are allowed to keep some money, great things happen.

"I would not go so far as to say the tax increase was the direct cause of that economic success." Agreed.

To be fair, I had forgotten that Gingrich&Co. did not reduce the income tax rates. They did return the 4.7 gas tax to the Highway Fund, while eliminating deficits 4 years in a row.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 20, 2012 | 8:48 a.m.

Brian Trenhaile - You embarrass yourself, again. Are you as certain of your reading skills as you are of your ideology?

Mr. Foote wrote: "In the 8 years prior to Bush, under significantly higher tax rates the economy added 23 million jobs." This my only reference to 23M jobs and I said nothing about Bush in that context.

Your simplistic accusations which say nothing of substance are then followed by Census data on Bush's last year, which, of course, (my statement) "This year was the year the Clinton, Frank, Dodd, housing scheme began to blow our economy apart." Oops, blaming D's again. Sorry?

(Report Comment)
mike mentor April 20, 2012 | 10:49 a.m.

Dodd Frank you say? The Dodd Frank overhaul Owebama signed contained a hidden gem in that is coming to light. We have a new agency called the OFR or Office of Financial Research. It has been granted unlimited power to tax big banks as much as it wants, if it feels the big banks are not doing what they want the big banks to do. It is also directly funded by the fed reserve instead of congress and there are no limits written in the law for budgets, so they can use as much fed money they want to do what they want to big banks.

Good 'Ol Owebama. Never let that pesky constitution get in the way of his socialistic agendas !!!

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 20, 2012 | 11:10 a.m.

H.R. 4173 (111th): Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will be repealed right after Obamacare (if scotus does not do it). This statement is based upon the necessity of removal of Democrats from control of our 3 branches of Federal Government. If D's have the power anywhere, nothing will change, except to become worse.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall April 20, 2012 | 3:25 p.m.

MW- thank you for the spelling lesson. Lobbyist, wow. That is great.
So if I understand correctly, the right-leaners on here are clearly stating that they believe that lobbyists do NOT influence our elected officials thru finacial means. Okay, seems naive to me but I support you having your own beliefs.
Again, M Williams, your spelling amazing. I admire you very much. And I love the lobbyist definition. A pastor is a lobbyist, lobbying for our spiritual salvation. A teacher, loan officer, police person, hell even my TV qualifies as a lobbyist. The things I learn. I feel myself improving. Thank you!!

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 20, 2012 | 4:43 p.m.

MattA: You are quite welcome.
________________
I remind you again that you are one who posted: "And as best as I can tell there are no lobbiest [sic] that work for anyone other than wealthy individuals and corporations."

Well, you were wrong. Lobbyists are everywhere, trying to shape opinions. The only problem in this instance is you need a new word to describe what you wish. "Lobbyist" isn't it.

PS: BTW, whenever you see a [sic] inserted into a copy of your writings, that is a grammatically polite way of letting others (and you) know that the person copying your stuff didn't make an error during transcription. The original writer did.

As for money being involved, Mark Foecking (April 18, 2012 @ 7:05 p.m) gave you an opportunity to defend your rather serious allegations, but you declined. I don't know why. I was sure you would mention the $5K of local money involved in a similar situation.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 20, 2012 | 5:07 p.m.

frank christian wrote:

"while eliminating deficits 4 years in a row."

No. The tech bubble did. The reason the housing bubble roughly 10 years later didn't is because income and capital gains rates were significantly lower. It got close though.

If cutting taxes actually increases revenues, why does government have to cut spending at all? Shouldn't the massive increase in economic activity lower deficits even with constant or increased spending? $15+ trillion in debt since Reagan doesn't convince me. The government simply gets another credit card and we kick the can down the road again. And both parties have presided over this. There is precious little difference, no matter how you want to spin it.

DK

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 20, 2012 | 5:15 p.m.

Mark F. - Heaven help us! Even you.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 20, 2012 | 5:27 p.m.

Answer my question, Frank. If tax cuts actually pay for themselves (i. e., increase revenues over what they would have been), why are spending cuts necessary?

DK

(Report Comment)
matt arnall April 20, 2012 | 5:31 p.m.

So Mike, what word would you recommend? You are a smart guy. I think that most of you can follow along with what I am talking about, regardless of my spelling. I don't think that my alleged allegations are that cloudy either. You can choose to believe that there are no finances involved or you can choose to believe there are moneys changing hands in Washington DC and every other place where decisions that we the people have to deal with after the proper person is paid the appropriate sum. So, to clairify for you, when I say lobbyist (thanks again!!) I am speaking of the low-life cheating criminals that have gained the power to control the decisions that our government make. That is not one word, but a group that hopefully clears up any questions that you may have. It was never the intention of the founding fathers to have us in the mess we are presently due to the fact that humans by nature are absolutely blinded by money. Either you have it and will do anything to keep it, or you don't have it and you will do anything to get it. It is really a sad state of affairs. Policy should be determined by what is best for country, not by how much money you get handed to sell your vote.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 20, 2012 | 5:42 p.m.

matt arnall wrote:

" Policy should be determined by what is best for country, not by how much money you get handed to sell your vote."

If you're talking about campaign contributions, that's one thing. If you're talking about lobbyists bribing legislators, that's quite another. What do you mean when you say that?

DK

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 20, 2012 | 5:49 p.m.

MattA: I don't know what word to use. You have to think it up for yourself.

I have no doubt whatsoever that money is involved. Unlike you, though, I think it's spread all over the political spectrum. I think liberals AND conservatives AND others do it, but I have no proof at hand such as the kind MarkF requested of your serious allegations (I could probably Google something, but you are the one who made the allegation...so you do it). I think corporations, individuals and your so-called pristine advocacy groups all do it.

Question: Do you think unions do it, too?

It's odd that folks hold their nose when direct money is involved, but not things like threats of boycotts or lawsuits or picketing. All involve filthy lucre in one form or another. Anyone...or any entity...who gives money to a campaign (corporations, individuals, unions, advocacy groups, etc.) is a lobbyist trying to influence a policy or outcome. Even your $5.00 contribution to a local election.

Your notion that corrupt money is a one-sided conservative deal is either head-in-the-sand stuff, blinding bias, or Kool-Aid, but I don't know which. But when you post that only corporations or wealthy individuals employ lobbyists, expect to get called on such an obviously false statement.

And that's what this exchange is all about. Your statement was wrong.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall April 20, 2012 | 6:14 p.m.

Mike WIlliams - You tell me when and where I said anything about coruption being onesided??? Seriously. You think I am arguing that only repubs take part in this? No, I don't. The whole system is taking part, all sides. I am sure there might be a few moral and good politians, but I think that number would be well below 50%. See, that is your problem. You think you know me and what I am saying even if I haven't said it. I NEVER said anything about just one side or the other taking part in the BS that takes place in government, and that, Mike, is where you are wrong. So you know what just happened. You assumed, and that is never good.
Mark- you are asking a question that I cannot specifically answer. It is like asking who is selling heroin. Well, that is illegal and morally wrong, so people that take part in that generally do it secratively. But just because I can not tell you who is selling it, does that mean it is not being sold. No. It doesn't. This is a similar scenario. Representatives that take money for votes don't have a website that shows who took what for what vote. So why are you so into some names being named? Do you believe that politians are playing a fair game? Are you offended that I think this because you are a lobbyist? What is your goal here in trying to get me to say which polititians are participating in this? I don't know which ones are doing it, but I am damn sure that it is happening and I believe it to be on a large scale. Interesting that you are so after me about this. What is the story, Mark?

(Report Comment)
matt arnall April 20, 2012 | 6:21 p.m.

MW- I checked. I mentioned no sides, repub or dem, at anytime during this conversation. I mentioned wealthy, which contains both. Don't put words in my mouth, misspelled or not. You were arguing a point with no disagreement.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 20, 2012 | 6:25 p.m.

matt arnall wrote:

" Are you offended that I think this because you are a lobbyist? What is your goal here in trying to get me to say which polititians are participating in this?"

That's a rather paranoid response for a fairly simple question. How am I a lobbyist?

Do you have proof that corporate lobbyists have bribed sitting legislators to influence their vote? If you do, I suggest you submit it to the police or FBI, who will investigate it as a federal felony. Cases like this do come up - in Florida in the late 80's, three Hillsborough County commissioners were convicted of taking bribes from developers. But they're not common.

DK

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 20, 2012 | 6:38 p.m.

MarkA: Good. I'm glad you think ALL corporations, even those headed by folks similar to Soros, Winfrey, and the like, can be involved in this type of thing and risk your ire. Apparently, though, "advocacy" groups can't do such a thing since they are pure and wholesome. After all, you are the one who wrote: "Advocacy group= trying to influence decisions thru talking points and intellect. Lobbiest= filling the pockets of polititians until they have sold their vote to that lobbiest."

How about unions? Do you think some of them meet your definition of the evil "lobbyists" passing filthy lucre?

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 20, 2012 | 6:41 p.m.

Mark F. - I have long wondered how bubbles are caused, Tech bubble of 1990s in particular. Have you noted information such as this? http://politicalcalculations.blogspot.co...

Last paragraph: "In the end however, we find that it took an act of Congress to launch the stock market bubble of the late 1990s, and that it took another act of Congress to undo its disruptive effect. The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 are quite literally the bookends defining the period of disorder in the U.S. stock market known as the Dot Com Bubble." In case you are not certain, Tax Payer Relief of 1997, was legislation passed by 1994 Republican controlled Congress and finally signed by Pres. B. Clinton.

"If cutting taxes actually increases revenues, why does government have to cut spending at all?" You have great expertise with mathematics. Isn't this somewhat of a simple thought problem? No matter how much revenue is made available from whatever source, it is folks spending that affect deficits! Revenues during Reagan nearly doubled. Didn't matter, because O'Neill's, D Congress spent the excess, plus! Deficits are noted because Reagan borrowed the money rather than have it printed, which had created at least 12%,annual inflation during Carters infamous term.

I do feel that you and C. Foote have great minds. I have also, noted previously, more than once, that neither of you ever refers to "the people" in your frequent posts showing your concern for the well being of "the government". "The people" either provide income for government or create expense for government. I heard about the film shown to lower grades in our public school system in 1970s? The horrible tree eating, environment destroying, enormous, uncontrollable machine, which was named Capitalism? Don't know your ages, but wonder if you two and others around here may have studied it.

(Report Comment)
Brian Trenhaile April 20, 2012 | 6:47 p.m.

This thread is turning into one big Republican circlejerk. Keep patting yourselves on the backs so long as it makes you feel better.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 20, 2012 | 7:53 p.m.

I found this:

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php...

Click on the sort buttons for Republicans and Democrats. Kinda enlightening.

Don't know much about Opensecrets, tho. DYODD

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 20, 2012 | 8:32 p.m.

Matt Arnall, seems not able to conceive the image of an honest legislator. If he could, he would be on the side of those trying to eject the dishonest ones. He writes, "It was never the intention of the founding fathers to have us in the mess we are presently due to the fact that humans by nature are absolutely blinded by money." Think, Matt! This statement is false. The founders knew exactly what "human nature" would bring us. Didn't B. Franklin, coming out of those meetings, and asked, Well Ben, what did you give us? Reply, " a republic, if you can keep it!"

No one then, or now, ever has had a notion that dishonest folks would not be trying to do wrong among us. The Constitution was conceived as the best way for honest folk to deter the dishonest. It never suggested that there would ever be a period in which the honest could relax.

You just seem to continually refer to All as dishonest in politics when it has been made clear, the many instances that one might decide which ones, indeed, are dishonest. These writers, imo, are trying to show that to you.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall April 20, 2012 | 8:37 p.m.

Ugh.
Mark F- Those questions were posed to you with sarcastic inflection in my head. I don’t actually wonder if you are indeed a lobbyist. To answer you question again, no I do NOT have any dirt on any particular politician. I can post stories about all the laws that are broken by various law makers showing how very many of them and how very frequently this particular group tends to bend the rules, but no I do not have the ability to name names as far as bribery scandals go. Again, why is this such an important detail of what I am otherwise saying? I believe money increases corruption. If you feel otherwise, so be it
Mike Williams- my name is Matt. It is posted above any statements that I make for you to reference if you need to. As far as your capitalized ALL, again you are not reading what I writing. I don’t believe that ALL corporations are crooked, don’t believe that all politicians are are corrupt. Generally it is bad to use always and never in speech as it leaves you a lot of room to be wrong. You read into what I say so you can find things to disagree with. You comment about my spelling, you infer things that I clearly did not say. Seems like you are just sitting at your desk looking for a fight.
I don’t know how many times I need to say this, but if you have a different opinion then great. State it and disagree with me, but looking for spelling errors and arguing semantics is not my bag. This group that always appears on Mr Millers articles are odd fellows. The dog pack looking for a fight. And keep in mind that anyone can google anything. Direct references are not the end all in a discussion about personal opinion or morals.
Some unions I am sure have unsavory practices. I don’t have particular examples. Some corporations are morally bankrupt, some churches don’t teach about religion or morality, some schools don’t care about kids. And all of these examples have the opposite. Great unions, moral corporations, fantastic churches and schools that excel in shaping young successful kids.
You assume I am arguing just for the left, you assume I am arguing against all corporations. I am arguing that people or things that step on other people or things for there own benefit should be corrected. Everyone should have an opportunity to succeed. I think a little more tax placed on wealthy peoples back is a good idea if it allows a school to hire an extra teacher to decrease class size, a road to be properly repaired, a homeless person somewhere to get out of the cold, tax incentives for energy conservation programs, research on climate change, and a strong military to defend this great country in which we live. That was the topic of this article. If you disagree with that, great. But don’t waste my time with spelling errors. Have a good night.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams April 20, 2012 | 9:15 p.m.

MattA: I remind you that you are the one who wrote: ""And as best as I can tell there are no lobbiest [sic] that work for anyone other than wealthy individuals and corporations.""

Well, yes....there are. Your statement is still incorrect.

(Report Comment)
matt arnall April 20, 2012 | 9:35 p.m.

Profound. This is like talking to a tree. You get it Mike. You get it.

(Report Comment)
Gary Straub April 21, 2012 | 10:09 a.m.

Matt, Please don't insult the trees.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle April 21, 2012 | 12:18 p.m.

...As if the wealthy haven't been waging a war on the rest of us, too. What?!? The repressed are revolting?!? Reality is beyond these people's comprehension.

It's worse than talking to trees; trees at least bend. its worse than rocks; rocks can be broken. These people and their mindset are the VOID. Utterly dark and empty.

I can't honestly say I wouldn't enjoy watching all the ironically government-subsidized selfish-righteous haters on here shrivel and die from the boomerang effect of their own mindset.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush April 21, 2012 | 1:12 p.m.

Been gifted so much,
Yet petulantly hoarding,
Blind to privilege.

Oh, did I mention
Judgemental? Like, totally
Really judgemental.

And, like, not at all
Humble about their largesse.
They're the "me-my" club.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 21, 2012 | 2:52 p.m.

@ J. Karl Miller:

This is less about the above topic than it is about all the topics thus far that have appeared and been debated in your column.

I am about to celebrate my 23rd year living in Columbia, which makes Columbia the second longest place in which I've lived (five years longer than in the city where I was born).

When I was about to move here I received a communication from one of our MS&T alumni who'd previously lived in Columbia for some years. He gave me a lengthy description of all the good situations I would have while living here. After 23 years of residence I agree almost entirely with his comments. Anyone who thinks Columbia, Missouri is a bad place to live has lead a sheltered life.:)

But my alumnus friend said something else. He said one thing I'd have to get used to is that while some individuals in Columbia do exhibit a sense of humor, they constitute a minority. In particular, he said, the folks in Columbia lack the ability to make fun of themselves.

He was correct. The "grimness" here is something I have yet to get used to. Frankly, I doubt that I ever will.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 21, 2012 | 3:04 p.m.

"..As if the wealthy haven't been waging a war on the rest of us, too. What?!? The repressed are revolting?!? Reality is beyond these people's comprehension."

This from one, always claiming great concern for welfare of the "repressed". First thought, anger, then laughter.

Without our wealthy, who to care for for our "repressed"? Barack Obama, smilin Joe Biden, Rham Emanuel, David Axelrod? Or perhaps, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or Geo Soros?

But, wait, they are all multi millionaires and anyone Not repressed would know that they are definitely, waging war on all the American people for their own gain, not D. Fogle's, or that of any of their other backers. Still laughing.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 21, 2012 | 3:12 p.m.

Ellis - "Frankly, I doubt that I ever will."

You blamin' Me? Still laughing!

(Report Comment)
matt arnall April 21, 2012 | 3:20 p.m.

I do truely regret having said that about a tree. Trees are wonderful. MW, FC, and the others are not. Glad I am in my shoes and not those. I appologize to those that may have been offended.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 21, 2012 | 4:32 p.m.

@ Frank Christian:

I'm not blaming anyone, Frank, but you bring up a very good point: Seems like everything around here has to have some form of BLAME attached to it. :)

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 21, 2012 | 5:32 p.m.

"I do truely regret having said that about a tree."

Perhaps, if you hugged one, they would all feel better.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 21, 2012 | 6:08 p.m.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray.

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

-Joyce Kilmer

I recall that one of the Missourian staff says she likes poetry.

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 22, 2012 | 10:04 a.m.

Ellis Smith - I have waited for the outcry from our left about this, latest of yours,description of a structure of vegetation living here on our planet.

I am surprised that though your aged (does, however, seem to rhyme nearly as well as the most popular Rap artists of today) "poetry", from a woman not since heard of by most and obviously popular, long before our enlightened age of "environmentalism", not one of our newly educated, concerned citizens have yet pounced upon the connection expressed between our lovely trees and some "God". This, as you should know, is now, wrong. Or are you, as do so many with this "religion bug", just trying to shove it down our throats?

(Report Comment)
Gary Straub April 22, 2012 | 11:16 a.m.

"description of a structure of vegetation living here on our planet."

@Frank - AKA a structure of decaying biological cells determined to destroy the very environment which allows it to exist.

A tree gives shade, shelter, oxygen, moisture, medicine, tea coffee, cork, spices, fiber, paper, building materials, etc. etc. etc. They also are know to live more than a thousand years providing the above. What about you, what makes you deserve a piece of space on this planet.

Perhaps if you hugged a tree it could absorb some of that hatred which you so willingly share with us.

Happy Earth Day!

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 22, 2012 | 4:36 p.m.

G. Straub - An interesting post, yours. Quite like I had expected.

I wrote about religion, as in Christianity. You ignored the subject and wrote about me. Most usual for liberals with no other point in their quiver of ideas. With no knowledge of me or the time or expense that I, as most Americans, have gone to over the years to have helpful trees and plants surround us every place we have lived, you still are able to refer to me as "structure of decaying biological cells determined to destroy the very environment which allows it to exist." Probably the most detailed expression of "hatred", ever leveled at me.

Your cheap accusation was imo, not written about me, or about environment. It was a display of hatred for anyone opposing the leftist use of any and every possible issue to promote socialist control of government. "Protection" of the environment has, with it's lies, brought enough job killing regulation, reduction in development of energy sources, other industry (timber) and Debt to put our once great nation into a state of decline.

A recent newspaper article regarding beneficial work being done in the Artic Circle by many nations stated that our Navy no longer has the ships needed for the research, etc. The U.S. which once, nations came to for assistance, will now have to seek assistance from other nations. paraphrase. This is chilling to we that still love and respect a strong and prosperous U.S.A.

If it helps (I doubt you want help)rest assured I have no hatred for you or any of yours. The socialistic ideology you promote with every whining post, Absolutely!

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith May 4, 2012 | 7:47 a.m.

Frank Christian:

I was looking back over some posts made while I was in North and South Carolina and I note you said that Joyce Kilmer was female. I can understand why you might think that from Kilmer's first name, but Kilmer was male and if memory serves me correctly he died in France in WWI.

I realize that's not as important as all the Socialist nonsense displayed in these posts, but thought I'd set the record straight. "Androgynous" first names for children were once more popular than they now are, but things have a habit of repeating themselves.

When I was in school we were required to memorize and recite in class numerous poems - "Trees" was one of the easy ones - as part of our studies. I feel certain that our "new age" psychiatrists would frown on that as being "destructive" to our developing psyches. Well, now I can use such terrible things that were forced on me as a student as an excuse for how I am.

(Report Comment)
frank christian May 4, 2012 | 10:15 a.m.

Thanks Ellis. I had a fear with that post, that you might not detect the position of the tongue in my cheek. I hope Kilmer's sex was my only fault.

I too studied trees in school early on I'm sure, but not exactly when. we clearly did not spend enough time on the author. I also knew the poem had been put to music, but until now, was not aware that Paul Robeson was the original singer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcnnUpsAV...

(Report Comment)

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