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Old 12-01-2010, 09:27 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Five reasons why I occaionally despair.

Five problems I perceive that I simply don't think we're capable of solving.

1. Ever-continual tax cuts for the rich. I believe in the power of capitalism, and that those who do well and produce much deserve to have more. I have been on both ends of that dynamic and I can appreciate its impact on society as a whole. But the widening gap between the rich and everybody else is incredibly disturbing to me.

During a recession in which the rich did well but the middle class was pounded and poverty expanded, I fail to see why the rich deserve ever-continual tax cuts that are increasingly disproportionate to their share of the economy. The constant fight to keep these people from paying more taxes, and putting their fair share into a system from which they've been fortunate enough to prosper is the ultimate triumph usurping of patriotism.

And unfortunately, the rich will win this fight every time. The taxes they are responsible for will forever slide down and down, leaving either one of two things in its wake: a weakened America that cannot pay its bills, or the emergence of an didactic oligarchy in the wake of an American government that was once capable of providing for those who struggle.

2. State secrets. The Wikileaks experience has taught us a few things over the course of the past few months, and it's this: the contempt those in power (governmentally, financially, and in the media) will forever be the greatest against those who expose state secrets, not against those that utilize secrecy to achieve some disgusting ends.

WikiLeaks has shown us some truly startling things, like live-action combat mistakes, tens of thousands of casualties being hidden from the public, and the corrupt dealings of governments as they interact with one another. But for every fascinating revelation, there are a thousand revelations that are ordinary and boring. Ordinary and boring! Why does the government, in its vast commitment to keep everything behind closed doors, need to keep ordinary, everyday dealings in the shadows?

Interpol has issued a warrant for Julian Assange. It will greatly restrict his movement, and he will likely rot in a jail cell for the rest of his life. And yet another great voice in the fight for government transparency will be neutralized by the vast powers of those who run the world. I fear that in the future, voices like his will be forever harder to hear.

3. Cutting down the deficit and debt. On this very forum, somebody posted a link to an exercise where you could cut down the deficit. It was so easy, and so simple, that it's absolutely shocking we haven't been able to do it already. Until you look at where the cutting needs to take place: defense and Medicare.

Our inability to ever figure out a way to cut down on defense is amazing to me. But even our ability to cut the production of things we never use and don't help us -- like "lazer plane" -- was continuously met with opposition. It took a miracle just to get us that far. There's simply no fighting all the districts across the country that cost us a ton of money in manufacturing and shipping. There's no fighting the vast contractor infestation that is excessive, expensive, and destructive.

Medicare is even more vexing, because while it's conservatives that largely resist the necessary vast cuts needed in defense, both conservatives and liberals resist the necessary vast cuts needed in Medicare. It feels as though there is no way to scale this mountain.

4. Our complete disdain for civil liberties. I think the shocking slide of civil liberties, starting with the eroding right to privacy and finally the slow grind into due process has been particularly disheartening. There has been so much said on the subject at this point, I don't have too much to add. Except that our irrational, excessive fear of terrorism has stretched from self-parody at this point to straight on constitutional erosion.

I do not fear terrorism. I don't fear them attacking me. I don't fear them attacking any of you. I don't fear them attacking New York City. I don't fear them attacking the ones that I love. And I have a hard time imagining anybody else here really does. I mean, really. Terrorists?

And yet we live in a society where the laws continue to reflect the understandable paranoia we felt at the turn of the century. And while the TSA flap was encouraging, I suppose, it was just a speed bump in what will be a continuing rollback of civil rights all in the name of protecting us from the Bad Guy Of The Month.

5. The juntas in Iran and Burma. There are few stories I follow more diligently than the international spread of democracy. But in this day of increasing technology which gives individuals the power of communicating better, and increasing one's knowledge of what the rest of the world possesses, governments also gain sophistication needed to fend off any assaults from their citizens, for good or bad.

In the case of Iran and especially Burma, bad. These are two countries starving for democracy that simply can't get it because those power won't give it up.

In Iran, you have people that have tried revolting against the government in the most democratic way possible: demonstrations and protests that involve Iranians of every walk of life AND BOTH GENDERS, while doing so without guns and weapons, and getting beaten down every time by the entrenched military government and the thugs they hire to terrorize their neighbors.

Burma is an even more hopeless cause, because the junta there will fire live rounds into crowds, imprison anybody that says the slightest thing against the government FOR DECADES, and they purposefully starve their population while shutting down the internet so they can't reach the outside world.

Both of these countries are international hostage situations, pure and simple. International opinion does not budge them. The options for these countries are seemingly hopeless.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:47 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by rrl308 View Post
I totally agree with #1. I'm sick and tired of hearing how the worst thing you can do is raise taxes in the middle of a recession, and how thats not acceptable for middle class Americans. Thats right its not, but I sure don't have a problem with an Millionares tax increase. There is a major problem when someone making 40 million a yr has the same tax rate as someone making 400k, and yes there is plenty of cuts the Govt. could be making also.
You're probably also sick and tired of hearing that gravity causes objects to fall to the ground. That doesn't change anything. Raising taxes in the middle of a recession is a great idea ONLY if you want to reduce the level of business activity and make the recession worse. That's straight out of Econ 101.
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:02 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Five problems I perceive that I simply don't think we're capable of solving.
There are far more than five problems this country can't handle, especially from the view point of the "ruling" parties. The will of the people is being quashed every day by federal judges. An example are the vote on different state issues being overturned or put aside by a federal judge. The voice of the people has to be considered, I don't remember a time when the will of the people was wrong other than it affecting a minor part of the population. The attempt not to offend the minor part of the populous and offending the major part of the nation seems to be totally wrong.

Quote:
1. Ever-continual tax cuts for the rich.
I'm sorry, I do not begrudge the "rich" for getting taxed less. They took the risk to lose all they have when they ventured out. The government is not going to bail them out, unless of course there is a major government interest in their product. As it is my particular grouping of taxpayers pays well under the percentage the rich do.
http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html
The top 1% of taxpayers pay almost 38% of the taxes in this country
The top 5% of taxpayers pay almost 58.7% of the taxes in this country
The top 10% of taxpayers pay almost 45.7% of the taxes in this country
The top 25% of taxpayers pay almost 67.3% of the taxes in this country
The overall comparison shows:
The top 50% of taxpayers pay almost 97.3% of the taxes in this country
The bottom 50% of taxpayers pay 2.7% of the taxes in this country

The answer to our problems is not raising taxes, it's cutting out the BS spending the government has always done. If you are a democrat this isn't a personal slur, but of late when we have democrats in office - President, House and Senate - things get out of hand. The republicans weren't much better but with the current changes I hope we see some change to cut the government spending. The government should only budget what taxes they expect to get in and no more.


Quote:
2. State secrets.
Wiki, as I understand it, is not located in the U.S. so our rules and laws do not actually apply to them. They do apply to whom ever is leaking the "state secrets". I don't personally like the subtrofuge the government operates under but my concerns there don't really count. The person giving, or selling, this information needs to go to the Penal Colony at Devils Island, or something worse.

Quote:
3. Cutting down the deficit and debt.
I kind of addressed this above, the two areas that should not be messed with is defense and Medicare (unless a better and viable plan is established for our elderly). Obamacare is not that plan.

Quote:
4. Our complete disdain for civil liberties.
I understand what you are saying, but there has to be a point of what our freedoms become an aberration of common sense. Point in case, we give the Smithsonian money for their existance and in one of the museums they have pornographic images and videos for everyone to see. That goes beyond common sense. Pornography is not art. I'm sure we all watch our fair share of it but do you want your young kids to walk in and view it in a setting paid for with tax dollars? (Tax dollars sent to the Smithsonian $761 Million annually)

Quote:
5. The juntas in Iran and Burma.
To be honest, I don't really care about any country outside the shores if the U.S. Once we get our problems under control inside our country and our government then we can start addressing the rest of the planet. Until then we have to clean our own yard first.

Something you left out that should be a concern for all Americans. The UN.

It has become a joke and is funded by more Tax dollars than ever. It's time that we just told them to take their sorry asses somewhere else. When they leave we need to drop out of the world police association.

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Old 12-02-2010, 07:30 AM   #18
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Why I occasionally despair when reading Direckshun's posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Five problems I perceive that I simply don't think we're capable of solving.

1. Ever-continual tax cuts for the rich. I believe in the power of capitalism, and that those who do well and produce much deserve to have more. I have been on both ends of that dynamic and I can appreciate its impact on society as a whole. But the widening gap between the rich and everybody else is incredibly disturbing to me.

During a recession in which the rich did well but the middle class was pounded and poverty expanded, I fail to see why the rich deserve ever-continual tax cuts that are increasingly disproportionate to their share of the economy. The constant fight to keep these people from paying more taxes, and putting their fair share into a system from which they've been fortunate enough to prosper is the ultimate triumph usurping of patriotism.

And unfortunately, the rich will win this fight every time. The taxes they are responsible for will forever slide down and down, leaving either one of two things in its wake: a weakened America that cannot pay its bills, or the emergence of an didactic oligarchy in the wake of an American government that was once capable of providing for those who struggle.
Your class envy is disheartening. The incredibly complex progressive tax system we have in this country, fraught with special tax treatments (i.e. loopholes) and social science experiments is a political nightmare that gives politicians the tools they need to pit one group of Americans against another and to sell favors in return for campaign contributions. Both our economy and our political system would be far better off with a simplified, broad-based, low-rate tax designed only for revenue generation and not for redistribution or economic micromanagement. You don't need to use the tax code to provide for those who struggle.

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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
2. State secrets. The Wikileaks experience has taught us a few things over the course of the past few months, and it's this: the contempt those in power (governmentally, financially, and in the media) will forever be the greatest against those who expose state secrets, not against those that utilize secrecy to achieve some disgusting ends.

WikiLeaks has shown us some truly startling things, like live-action combat mistakes, tens of thousands of casualties being hidden from the public, and the corrupt dealings of governments as they interact with one another. But for every fascinating revelation, there are a thousand revelations that are ordinary and boring. Ordinary and boring! Why does the government, in its vast commitment to keep everything behind closed doors, need to keep ordinary, everyday dealings in the shadows?

Interpol has issued a warrant for Julian Assange. It will greatly restrict his movement, and he will likely rot in a jail cell for the rest of his life. And yet another great voice in the fight for government transparency will be neutralized by the vast powers of those who run the world. I fear that in the future, voices like his will be forever harder to hear.
We have secrets for a reason. You wouldn't show everyone your hand in a poker game so why would you do it when life and death are at stake? Hell, you don't even share personal information on ChiefsPlanet because you're afraid it will be used against you.

It's amazing that it comes as a surprise to you that we make mistakes in combat. Where the hell have you been? Bad things happen in war and a lot of relatively innocent bystanders often get caught in the crossfire. The US is probably better than anyone is or ever has been at avoiding that kind of collateral damage but it's still going to happen.

While there's probably a tendency toward overclassification, the reason that ordinary and boring gets classified is because you can sometimes piece together several seemingly mundane bits of information and build a picture that gives you insight into something that is actually worth keeping secret.

People who disclose national defense secrets should be dealt with harshly. The wikileaks leaker should probably be executed unless a plea bargain to life without parole can benefit us in some way (by getting the traitor to give us information, for example). Assange is a piece of shit who is an enemy of our country. If we have a chance to sideline him, we should definitely do it.

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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
3. Cutting down the deficit and debt. On this very forum, somebody posted a link to an exercise where you could cut down the deficit. It was so easy, and so simple, that it's absolutely shocking we haven't been able to do it already. Until you look at where the cutting needs to take place: defense and Medicare.

Our inability to ever figure out a way to cut down on defense is amazing to me. But even our ability to cut the production of things we never use and don't help us -- like "lazer plane" -- was continuously met with opposition. It took a miracle just to get us that far. There's simply no fighting all the districts across the country that cost us a ton of money in manufacturing and shipping. There's no fighting the vast contractor infestation that is excessive, expensive, and destructive.

Medicare is even more vexing, because while it's conservatives that largely resist the necessary vast cuts needed in defense, both conservatives and liberals resist the necessary vast cuts needed in Medicare. It feels as though there is no way to scale this mountain.
I like how you place more blame on conservatives for our inability to cut spending than on liberals. That's hilarious and wrong. Conservatives oppose drastic cuts in defense because they understand that defense is the most important job of government. Liberals don't want to cut medicare and non-liberal politicians are afraid to cut it because liberals are quick to demagogue the issue. There are going to be cuts though. If not in the next two years, then after the era of Big Ogovernment in 2012. I think we're at the point where it has to happen.

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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
4. Our complete disdain for civil liberties. I think the shocking slide of civil liberties, starting with the eroding right to privacy and finally the slow grind into due process has been particularly disheartening. There has been so much said on the subject at this point, I don't have too much to add. Except that our irrational, excessive fear of terrorism has stretched from self-parody at this point to straight on constitutional erosion.

I do not fear terrorism. I don't fear them attacking me. I don't fear them attacking any of you. I don't fear them attacking New York City. I don't fear them attacking the ones that I love. And I have a hard time imagining anybody else here really does. I mean, really. Terrorists?

And yet we live in a society where the laws continue to reflect the understandable paranoia we felt at the turn of the century. And while the TSA flap was encouraging, I suppose, it was just a speed bump in what will be a continuing rollback of civil rights all in the name of protecting us from the Bad Guy Of The Month.
We're in a war. The more we emphasize defense instead of offense, the more this will happen. Do you think we can just go back to ignoring islamic radicals as if they aren't trying to do as much damage to the Great Satan as possible and cripple our economy? If so, I think you're completely naive.

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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
5. The juntas in Iran and Burma. There are few stories I follow more diligently than the international spread of democracy. But in this day of increasing technology which gives individuals the power of communicating better, and increasing one's knowledge of what the rest of the world possesses, governments also gain sophistication needed to fend off any assaults from their citizens, for good or bad.

In the case of Iran and especially Burma, bad. These are two countries starving for democracy that simply can't get it because those power won't give it up.

In Iran, you have people that have tried revolting against the government in the most democratic way possible: demonstrations and protests that involve Iranians of every walk of life AND BOTH GENDERS, while doing so without guns and weapons, and getting beaten down every time by the entrenched military government and the thugs they hire to terrorize their neighbors.

Burma is an even more hopeless cause, because the junta there will fire live rounds into crowds, imprison anybody that says the slightest thing against the government FOR DECADES, and they purposefully starve their population while shutting down the internet so they can't reach the outside world.

Both of these countries are international hostage situations, pure and simple. International opinion does not budge them. The options for these countries are seemingly hopeless.
I don't care about this other than to the extent that it can affect us. We should be working hard to force regime change in Iran because of their international belligerence and their attempts to develop a nuclear capability so they can be even more belligerent while hiding behind a nuclear shield. Other than that though, I'm not interested in making the world safe for Iranians or Burmese.
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:41 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by rrl308 View Post
I totally agree with #1. I'm sick and tired of hearing how the worst thing you can do is raise taxes in the middle of a recession, and how thats not acceptable for middle class Americans. Thats right its not, but I sure don't have a problem with an Millionares tax increase. There is a major problem when someone making 40 million a yr has the same tax rate as someone making 400k, and yes there is plenty of cuts the Govt. could be making also.
Why is it a major problem?
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:56 AM   #20
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:03 AM   #21
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Well, that's largely because some of us care about striving for better across the entire human race.
What self-important nonsense. It's not in your job description to strive on the behalf of the human race. Stick to your own shit. You have plenty.

I suppose if you need a hobby you can strive for better occasionally for the guy sitting next to you. You should probably have the courtesy, though, to ask him what he'd like you to strive for on his behalf rather than just assume he wants what you want for him.

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Old 12-02-2010, 08:17 AM   #22
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I despair that we don't have liberals in a constant state of despair, that would mean this country was a lot more on track.
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:23 AM   #23
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:12 AM   #24
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Ridiculous except for #3. If you think cutting defense and medicare are the only ways to cut down on debt and deficit it is no wonder you are all up in arms. Have you considered cutting back on government spending, eliminating government welfare, needless programs and the albatross that is the obama health plan? Directing that money instead towards *gasp* paying down our debt?
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:14 AM   #25
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Um, if the tax rates have stayed the same for 10 years, and if the top 1% of incomes pay 38% of the taxes, and the top 50% of the incomes pay 97% of the taxes, can you explain how the taxes "they" are responsible for are "forever sliding down and down"?

It sounds more like half of the country is getting a free ride, and even that is not enough.
God you are hateful. Probably a racist too. You aren't smart enough to know what is good for you, lucky for you the current administartion is here to do the thinking for you.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:26 AM   #26
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[b]
I'm sorry, I do not begrudge the "rich" for getting taxed less. They took the risk to lose all they have when they ventured out. The government is not going to bail them out, unless of course there is a major government interest in their product. As it is my particular grouping of taxpayers pays well under the percentage the rich do.
http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html
The top 1% of taxpayers pay almost 38% of the FEDERAL INCOME taxes in this country
The top 5% of taxpayers pay almost 58.7% of the FEDERAL INCOME taxes in this country
The top 10% of taxpayers pay almost 45.7% of the FEDERAL INCOME taxes in this country
The top 25% of taxpayers pay almost 67.3% of the FEDERAL INCOME taxes in this country
The overall comparison shows:
The top 50% of taxpayers pay almost 97.3% of the FEDERAL INCOME taxes in this country
The bottom 50% of taxpayers pay 2.7% of the FEDERAL INCOME taxes in this country
Fixed a mistake in your post, worth fixing because its a fairly common one.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:34 AM   #27
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I read your whole OP, and it's well thought out. It articulates the liberal position on those issues, especially #1. But, and it's been adressed by others already, there is zero effect on you regarding how much the "rich" get taxed. The problem, IMO, is this perception that the government is the only way problems are solved (regardless of the FACT that the government causes more problems than it solves) and therefore they need tons of money to make everything alright. They already tax the piss out of the "rich", the ones who invest and create wealth and jobs in this country. It's like you think that rich people are just born that way or that at some point they become evil or uncaring once they reach a certain income level, an arbitrary number arrived at by some weird accounting system that makes no sense.

When half of the country pays 0 income tax, and 25 percent pays most of the tax, how is that possibly fair? How many rich people contribute large amounts of their money to charity? How many invest in businesses and create jobs?

Way more than the ones who don't pay a dime in taxes, I can tell you that.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:38 AM   #28
Norman Einstein Norman Einstein is offline
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Originally Posted by Forward Dante View Post
Fixed a mistake in your post, worth fixing because its a fairly common one.
Wellll Excuuuusssseeeee Meeeeee!

The link was to a government Tax table.
http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html

I didn't write it because the like was clear on that issue.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:40 AM   #29
mlyonsd mlyonsd is online now
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Your class envy is disheartening. The incredibly complex progressive tax system we have in this country, fraught with special tax treatments (i.e. loopholes) and social science experiments is a political nightmare that gives politicians the tools they need to pit one group of Americans against another and to sell favors in return for campaign contributions. Both our economy and our political system would be far better off with a simplified, broad-based, low-rate tax designed only for revenue generation and not for redistribution or economic micromanagement. You don't need to use the tax code to provide for those who struggle.
Hear Hear.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:45 AM   #30
Otter Otter is online now
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I totally agree with #1. I'm sick and tired of hearing how the worst thing you can do is raise taxes in the middle of a recession, and how thats not acceptable for middle class Americans. Thats right its not, but I sure don't have a problem with an Millionares tax increase. There is a major problem when someone making 40 million a yr has the same tax rate as someone making 400k, and yes there is plenty of cuts the Govt. could be making also.
Want to know what I'm sick of?

John Q Taxpayer can manage to create a budget based on an income that is vulnerable to fluctuation and even total cessation due to say layoff, injury or death but our government cannot create a balanced budget with a fixed, virtually uninterrupted and massive income. But if John Q Taxpayer spends more than he earns his credit is ruined, assets seized and possibly even thrown in jail while when government spends more than it earns it increases the taxes on John Q Taxpayer, borrows money from a foreign communist country to the point where it may never be able to be paid back while bringing the entire countries future, defense, liberty and sovereignty to the brink of disaster.

"Do as I say, not as I do" is the philosophy of tyrants.

Then there's block-headed, imbecile, simpletons who aren't fit to run a lemonade stand let alone make decisions or have input or an opinion that effect an entire country who want to give this entity more power instead of taking it away.

Just thought I'd get that off my chest.
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