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Cheney Approves Immoral Budget

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“House Republicans are home now decrying the “War on Christmas,” their houses festooned with lights and pretty red bows. It’s hard not to wonder if their Christmas spirit is blunted at all by the big lump of coal they recently gave America’s poor and working families. Republicans have wished the nation’s least privileged citizens a “Merry Christmas” by whacking our already anemic social safety net system.”

– Karen Dolan, Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies
[TomPaine.com – Tiny Tim v. Scrooge]



______________________

Cheney Breaks Tie to Pass Spending Cuts


“Bah Humbug!”

_____________________


Jim Wallis in Washington D.C.

Our basic moral principles tell us that caring for the vulnerable should be our first order of business before we provide more to the wealthiest.”

– Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojo.net

Senate Roll Call Vote on Deficit Cut

No Democrats voted “YES”.

Kudos to Republicans who voted their moral conscience: Lincoln Chafee, R.I.; Susan Collins, Maine; Mike DeWine, Ohio; Gordon Smith, Ore.; Olympia Snowe, Maine, along with one Independent: Jim Jeffords, Vt.

The truth from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorites:
Assessing the Effects of the Budget Conference Agreement on Low-Income Families and Individuals

LATimes.com: Spending Cuts Would Barely Trim Deficit

With Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) slamming the package as “a bill Scrooge would love,” all 44 Democrats and one independent were expected to [and did] oppose it…

…Much of the criticism of the measure came from groups speaking for the poor, the elderly and college students.

“The provisions … would cause considerable hardship among low-income families and people who are elderly or have disabilities,” said the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Medicaid recipients, particularly those just above the poverty line, would have to pay more for their healthcare or accept fewer medical services. Some could be forced to pay as much as $100 for services that now cost $3, the center said.

For elderly and disabled Medicare recipients, the premium that covers visits to the doctor would be increased.

Heckuva job, Dick ‘n Dubya.

The American public shares the blame for this immoral budget.

Our political leaders talk a good talk about allevating the conditions that lead to poverty, but after election day, we see little action. Poverty increases in our communities by the year.

Pro-rich policies are passed by the Republican party, who have been elected by a majority of Americans who attend church services on a regular basis. How does that make sense? Was Jesus pro-rich? Is God pro-rich?

We hear a lot of empty talk about values – but what about the values being represented by this clearly immoral budget? Where are Americans of faith in this debate? There is virtually no discussion or debate in the public square about the moral values that would guide our Representatives to reconcile public policy with social justice. What good are values when we toss them aside?

– In the middle class churches today, what is being touted as good, noble, and lofty? Why are the poor so often blamed for their own poverty?

– Is the middle class so removed, both literally and figuratively, from the urban and rural poor that they have forgotten the importance of God’s calling to serve the poor?

– We may never realize the full alleviation of poverty, but does that spiritually excuse us from trying to address such problems?

– Why are there literally thousands of references to poverty and/or serving the poor throughout the Bible, yet the Christian Right supports the policies of George W. Bush and his ‘rubber-stamp Republicans?’

– What about man’s propensity for social injustice, selfishness, greed, and prejudice? Why isn’t the Church talking about committing to economic justice and reconciliation in our congregations and communities?

These are questions we need to ask ourselves – especially as the Holiday season is upon us.

“Peace on earth – good will to men?”
Not with this budget.

_____________

Note: The budget reconciliation measure must now return to the House after the Senate failed to overturn a Democratic point of order against the bill that makes a minor change to the legislation. After the House and Senate each pass a version of the reconciliation bill, members from each chamber will meet in a conference committee to produce a final bill. After both chambers approve this final version, it will be sent to the president for his signature.

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About Jude

  • Maurice

    The premise of your post IMO is that government can somehow alleviate poverty.

    I would counter that government has created poverty by funding it. The Great Society (of poverty) is a failure.

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    Maurice: so you’re saying that, while “people” should care for the vulnerable and needy, “government” (which represents the people and consists of people) shouldn’t. Hmm… there must be some universe where that kind of “logic” makes sense…

  • RedTard

    Your right Maurice. They pay single mothers to have children and then wonder why there is an explosion in single parent families. They pay and give benefits to the poor and then wonder why we can’t get rid of them.

    We subsidize poverty just enough to allow people to survive, trapped inside of it. This is a step up from the usual budget, at least there are some cuts.

    There are plenty of soup kitchens and city shelters to ensure people survive. That is all we owe the poor. If they want more they should go out and get a JOB like everyone else.

    These lame emotional appeals are effective though. You make out as if anyone that doesn’t want to hand over their entire paycheck to the government is some kind of asshole who wants to see little kids starve to death.

    What you are advocating is theft. Your side sends the IRS out backed up by law enforcement to take money away from working Americans so you can buy votes among the drug addicts, felons, and other failures in our society for the Democratic machine.

  • No Longer On Welfare

    What about the working poor? Why has the Republican party refused to raise minimum wage? That might encourage some people to go find work. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but the number of poor people has increased steadily ever since dipshit took office. Being someone who was recently on welfare (yesterday) I’m offended that you consider everyone on assistance lazy or looking for a handout. Working at Walmart and paying for daycare and medical insurance is impossible. They don’t just need jobs, they need good jobs, which have become increasingly harder to find in the last five years.

  • Nancy

    Living wage levels are not something those in congress (most of whom are super-wealthy) or the GOP (the party of the super-rich) concern themselves about, as we all know by now. And from the votes & action taken on the budget so far, it seems the Dems don’t, either. They’re all fat, happy, & comfy with all sorts of outrageous permanent perks for life, so why should they care?

  • RedTard

    “Working at Walmart and paying for daycare”

    Having a kid when the only job you qualify for is at WalMart is not very intelligent and demonstrates the same lack of judgement that probably landed a person in the poor house originally. Should I be punished for that? Why should we punish those who make wise decisions and reward (welfare, free medical, etc.) those who make poor ones?

    It may make us feel better for having ‘helped’ someone but it only results in more people making bad choices to receive the reward.

  • No Longer On Welfare

    That’s great that you consider welfare and medical care a “reward”. You trully are a kind a decent human being. Only geniuses such as yourself should be able to procreate. I’m sure with your winning personality there is a line outside your bedroom. Were you aware that we spend more on interest on the national debt than we do on the welfare system? You are a REdTARD, but Jesus still loves you.

  • http://www.chancelucky.blogspot.com chancelucky

    RedTard,
    just wondering, as one of the working or non-working rich, could you share with the rest of us your secrets to moral superiority?

    I’ve actually known a lot of poor people who worked very hard. Not all of them got rich or even became middle class. Sometimes, it is bad luck, accident, disability, family situations, illness, and even being discriminated against or illegal action by a bigger company that sends folks into poverty.

  • lumpy

    The world where this kind of policy makes sense is my world – the real one. It’s different from the fantasy world where Bush didn’t cut taxes almost twice as much for the middle class as for the rich and where he didn’t raise the income cutoff to relieve the working poor from all taxes. It’s also different from the fantasy world where anyone actually earns minimum wage so that raising the minimum wage would make a difference.

    Here in the real world the role of government is to help the poor with handouts for the short term, but to give them real longterm help by creating opportunities to work and advnce themselves.

    As for god, he helps those who help themselves.

  • Bliffle

    Red: ” They pay single mothers to have children and then wonder why there is an explosion in single parent families. They pay and give benefits to the poor and then wonder why we can’t get rid of them.”

    Even when welfare to the poor is reduced they don’t go away.

    Most welfare goes to corporations. The Senate/House Joint Tax Committe says $170billion per year. People welfare is about $35billion.

    The Welfare Moms aren’t in the streets they’re in the suites.

    Welfare IS a big problem. It distorts economics and competition. If your corp (like mine) gets no government subsidy but the competitor does then you are at an economic disadvantage. Think about that next time somebody in congress says “this subsidy (to my good friends over here) will mean more jobs!” It really just means his Good friends are going to steal my customers with lower prices subsidized by the government.

  • Bliffle

    Red: “Having a kid when the only job you qualify for is at WalMart is not very intelligent and demonstrates the same lack of judgement that probably landed a person in the poor house originally.”

    Joe Sixpak was really dumb when he went and had that kid ten years ago during the bad old Clinton days when he had a high paying tech job. He should have foreseen the Bush crash that would wipe out his high tech job and his 401k and reduce him to working at walmart. He should be punished. Or maybe he can send the kid back. Or maybe he can send the kid to Dick Cheney, who has a lot of money and an empty nest.

  • No Longer On Welfare

    lumpy, I would have to agree with you on the short term part. No one should stay on welfare longer than they absolutely have to. Everything else you wrote is bullshit. Peace.

  • RedTard

    I agree completely. It sickens me whenever my city gives tax breaks to lure new business in when there are well established competitors already in town.

    I think many of governments attempts at ‘help’ are misguided. Think about subsidized housing. Who would put in apartments to meet the low cost housing market with their own money when someone else with a government connection could build subsidized units right across the street?

    I believe not only in freedom and competition, but also in a level playing field and rules that apply to all.

    Chance,

    I’m certainly not CA or NY rich but I do OK. I realize that meny people are forced into poverty by forces beyond their immediate control and I do feel for them. I believe that most people have the potential to take care of themselves and chip in for others.

    Although I don’t really think you wanted any advice I’ll tell you what I think. The reason many people get knocked into poverty for the reasons you listed are because they were living outside of their means.

    Consumerism has caught hold so much that even people with good incomes have no money set aside for emergencies. Never in my life has my income been considered high but I gained wealth by living on less than I made and investing the rest. Anyone could do as well or probably better than I have if they would just break the spell of the advertisers.

  • RedTard

    “Joe Sixpak was really dumb when he went and had that kid ten years ago during the bad old Clinton days when he had a high paying tech job. He should have foreseen the Bush crash that would wipe out his high tech job and his 401k and reduce him to working at walmart. He should be punished. Or maybe he can send the kid back. Or maybe he can send the kid to Dick Cheney, who has a lot of money and an empty nest.”

    See last paragraph above.

  • Nancy

    It’s true consumerism is out of control here in the US, but it’s also true marketers & the corporations spend big bucks finding all the psychological buttons to push to condition people to be that way, too. Plus, face it – most humans aren’t as smart as we like to think we are, and the past few generations are conditioned to instant gratification & very short sound bites.

  • http://iddybud.blogspot.com Jude

    Having a kid when the only job you qualify for is at WalMart is not very intelligent and demonstrates the same lack of judgement that probably landed a person in the poor house originally. Should I be punished for that? Why should we punish those who make wise decisions and reward (welfare, free medical, etc.) those who make poor ones?

    You are blaming the poor for making “wrong decisions” – not taking into consideration that their decision-options are very few – and getting fewer by the day. I could write you a book in response. We can’t keep blaming the victims of poverty for being in poverty without DOING anything other than giving hand-outs and lip-service, and we can’t continue to support stereotypes and prejudices about the poor. You live in the same society I do, but we obviously do not share similar values.

    You begrudge someone else’s freedom to enjoy a family because of their life’s economic circumstances. That’s a sentiment that is emptied out of so many American common values!

    And what if a WalMart job is all a person is qualified for, as you say? Is every person on earth going to be a rocket scientist? Why should that preclude a person from marrying or procreating and having a family? Would you suggest a sterilization program for the working poor? Where is your sense of empathy, values and human rights?

    And if you’re going to tell a woman to get married to get out of poverty, you’d better tell her not to marry another one of the millions of the working poor in America. There are so many married couples both working and getting nowhere – hoping an illness doesn’t devastate them. They’re one or two paychecks away from the homeless shelter.

    Education? Heh! Education is something that is alien to the poor – they cannot get access to education like the middle class and the rich are privileged to have access to. Instead of saving for college, parents in poverty are spending all their time planning on how they’ll manage when the next thing goes wrong – when the old car breaks down, when the heating bill comes due, when the pink slip comes, when the kid gets a toothache and there’s no dental insurance. Does that mean they are not entitled to experience a family life? Who are you, Scrooge?

    In a nation where so many people pride themselves on an American dream of opportunity, on their Christian principles, and on freedom, this entire statement reveals your ideas about being “punished” as nothing more than resenting to have to pay your fair share to enable you to live in a productive nation where freedom and human rights are respected.

    This isn’t some starry-eyed far left vision – we need to sit down and take a good look around us and find out where the hell our common moral values have gone! The longer you keep driving around the bad neighborhoods or averting your eyes from the problems in urban schools and city streets, you’ll be “punished” – and we’ll all be “punished” – in ways we’d never expected for our neglect and our anti-social/anti-value preference of government.

    The middle class is shrinking – and the gap between haves and have-nots is widening more every day. Poverty has worsened each year since 2001. Now, with these spending cuts, we are saying that we do not care.

  • http://iddybud.blogspot.com Jude

    I believe that Jon is has a great point. Since when are we NOT a government “of the people” – “for the people” – “by the people”??

    If it’s the people’s common value to pull the poor from their poverty, how on earth do you morally separate our Representatives, in a democratic representative Republic, from the common values of the people?

    Even if the people are selfish mammons who do not share the value or appreciate the social responsibility of lifting others from poverty, their public Representatives should understand the serious responsibility of acting for the public good. Republicans in the Senate abandoned responsibility and morality today. What will come next? In January, there will be a request for $100 billion of your tax dollars for a war In Iraq that was never necessary.

    Is God pro-rich?
    Is God pro-war?

  • RedTard

    Jude,

    I am all for providing opportunities. I just don’t think cash payments or government entitlements qualify as an ‘opportunity’. Education is an opportunity, those other things seem more like rewards to me.

    Your compassion is great but, like most on your side, you seem to believe that people in poverty are incapable of raising themselves out without handouts. I believe exactly the opposite. Humans are incredibly adaptable and capable of so much more than most of us are willing to believe.

    You see subsidies as a way to help them up, I see them as an enabler that traps and keeps them down. Government gives just enough to trap people in poverty. Without the government assistance people would be forced to solve the underlying problems and, in the process, would become more capable Americans.

  • Maurice

    Well written, RedTard.

    That was my point about The Great Society. LBJ enslaved many by enabling them to fail.

  • Maurice

    BTW I really tire of people claiming Corporations don’t pay taxes.

    Please look up any company using YAHOO and look at their Income Statement. I just looked up aapl and noticed that they made $1,815,000,000 for the year of 2005. They paid $480,000,000 in taxes.

  • http://www.chancelucky.blogspot.com chancelucky

    what a fine argument for having a 100% inheritance tax so all Americans can show how adaptable and capable they are.

    it might even make sense to make everyone start over financially every ten years regardless.

    re: the corporate tax thing, income statements don’t tell the whole story. I’m glad that aapl paid at a 24% rate, it’s slightly lower than say a family earining 100k/year. a pretty good deal when you have income close to two billion dollars/year. It would also help to look at pre-deduction income (revenues) to get a better feel for how AAPL’s tax payments compare to regular people.

  • Maurice

    Let me help you with the math.

    480/1815 = %26.45

    Tax computation for 100k/year:

    12K at 10% = $1200
    52K5 – 12K at 15% = $7575
    100K – 52K5 – 12K at 26% = $9230

    total = $18,005

    $18,005/100K = 18%

    So with no deductions:

    Corporation pays %26.45
    Person pays %18

  • http://www.chancelucky.blogspot.com chancelucky

    I assume you’re accounting for a person in a state with no income taxes. Normally when we calculate average burden we include state taxes as well so it compares to other countries in some meaningful way.
    In my state, we pay 9.3 percent when you get into the more serious brackets. The Apple income statement on yahoo doesn’t indicate if that included state and federal or just federal. Corporate Income tax is 8.4 percent or so.

    one of the interesting things about Apple is that their 1.8 billion in income comes after close to 14 billion dollars in revenue. Obviously much of that really is the cost of doing business, but how much “corporate welfare” comes into the 12 billion dollars in expenses and pre-income deductions?

    Most of us who make 100k or so do it on a much smaller gross.

    As I mentioned the income statement often only tells part of the story.

  • RedTard

    “what a fine argument for having a 100% inheritance tax”

    See, there is some middle ground we might agree on. Although 100% may be excessive I think shifting the tax burden from workers to the estates of those who have passed is a step forward.

    No one needs or deserves a $10 mil inheritance for winning the genetic lottery. I don’t hold anything against those who have been successful and earned their money and I hope they enjoy every bit of it. When they die the majority of their fortune should go back to the society from which they created it to provide opportunities for others.

  • anti-liberalhippies

    So your saying that if your dear old Grandma had her house for 40 years. She paid for off the loans and all of the taxes and left the house to you. So even though this estate has been taxed over and over again you feel that more taxes should be added.
    How about we do away with welfare :)

  • gonzo marx

    start with corporate welfare and subsidising offshoring, and i’m certain we can work something out reasonably

    after all, the entire years budget for all those programs you hate so much cost less than a month in Iraq

    i think we could find room to make both sides happy, and if you scratch the Lobbyists pork, we might even be able to balance the damn checkbook

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Not to be a damper on all the cries of corporate welfare, but do you guys realize that corporate taxes were up by almost 100 billion dollars over expectations last year? A nice commentary on the economy and a bit of a break for Bush on the defiicit.

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    except that the actual budget numbers don’t show any benefit

    add to it all the nifty new tax breaks for a lot of the Admin’s corporate buddies and the fact that they STILL do not put the cost of Iraq and Afghanistan into the budget

    gotta luv the way Washington does it’s accounting, makes Anderson look legit

    Excelsior!

  • http://iddybud.blogspot.com Jude

    you seem to believe that people in poverty are incapable of raising themselves out without handouts. I believe exactly the opposite.

    Red Tard, You’re wrong about my opinion. I said:

    We can’t keep blaming the victims of poverty for being in poverty without DOING anything other than giving hand-outs and lip-service, and we can’t continue to support stereotypes and prejudices about the poor.

    There are innovative ways of moving Americans out of poverty, but our government does not support the social services that would be enabled to do just that. And I’m not talking about “handouts”. I’m talking about new, determined, and creative ways to move people out of poverty and to educate them and support them with proper public policy so they never have to go back to feeling helpless.
    It doesn’t only have to be a government solution. Corporations (who are the BIGGEST welfare recipients) can also take part in changing employment practices and becoming more socially responsible – to incorporate training and hiring practices that directly support the education, employment, and retainment of people who have only known poverty. We need to raise them up – and yes, they need to be responsible. But a government that abandons responsibility is no less than immoral and to supprt that abandonment is equally immoral, in my eyes.

    And to sit and judge them for who they are while our government abandons responsibility for raising them up will not change a thing. I don’t want to be sitting here twenty years from now with these same useless debates. That’s taking the lazy route. If we believe in freedom, self-responsibility, and a strong nation, let’s use our heads to make a change rather than play the blame game. Let’s work for change.

  • Maurice

    Chancelucky

    Once again let me help you with the numbers. My comparison was heavily skewed in favor of the individual. I made no deductions and simply went with the tax table. The actual rate for an individual would be more like ~10-12%.

    That is not really my point. People often claim that coporations don’t pay taxes. I am saying they DO pay taxes. BTW the rate is actually 35%.

    Corporate Income Tax Rates–2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000

    Taxable income over Not over Tax rate

    $ 0 $ 50,000 15%
    50,000 75,000 25%
    75,000 100,000 34%
    100,000 335,000 39%
    335,000 10,000,000 34%
    10,000,000 15,000,000 35%
    15,000,000 18,333,333 38%
    18,333,333 ………. 35%

    Finally, I stand by my original point – government has done much harm to the poor by trying to assist them.

  • Sister Ray

    “- Why are there literally thousands of references to poverty and/or serving the poor throughout the Bible, yet the Christian Right supports the policies of George W. Bush and his ‘rubber-stamp Republicans?’

    Because a lot of Christians spend their own time and money to help the poor and don’t expect the government to do it for them?

  • http://iddybud.blogspot.com Jude

    It’s obvious that Christians are not capable of solving the problems of poverty alone – or we wouldn’t have the problems that we do. While all the faith-based assistance is merciful, it is not ALL they can do. Christians are not helpless creatures, nor are they stupid people. They know that government holds a responsibility for the welfare of the nation – and an important key to alleviating poverty. If that means implementing public policy that is effective in drawing many out of poverty while requiring self-responsibility from the ones who expect assistance, it is very much in line with the values laid out in the Gospel of Matthew (25). To deny the people’s values – to expect all values, many derived from faith, to be EMPTIED out of public policy is a totally ludicrous notion. If you are Christian, I’d go as far as to suggest it’s a FAILURE of faith.

  • Maurice

    Jude,

    please go back and read the #1 comment. I would agree with your statements if the premise were correct.

    I don’t believe any of the commenters here want poverty or are unsympathetic. There are many that believe the government IS the problem. Enabing people to subsist is evil.

  • Back On Welfare

    I’m all for welfare reform. Drug testing recipients is a good idea. Tuition assistance programs and day care for student mothers are good initiatives. We should be putting sex ed back in the schools and having available birth control for teens.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    That is not really my point. People often claim that coporations don’t pay taxes. I am saying they DO pay taxes. BTW the rate is actually 35%.

    And that 35% rate is only slightly lower than most countries in Europe where corporations are fleeing.

    Do you know what Ireland did to give them one of the most vibrant economies in the world, virtually eliminate unemployment and raise their standard of living dramatically? All they did was lower their corporate tax rate to 12%.

    Think about it.

    Dave

  • Maurice

    I was not aware of the situation in Ireland. I do know that many Asian countries subsidize their coporations.

    Makes sense. Why kill the Golden Goose? Why not feed it instead?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Those who oppose ‘corporate welfare’ overlook some basic logic behind giving corporations tax breaks, the most signigicant being that just about everyone in the country either benefits from the output of those companies, their stock returns, or by being directly employed by them. The idea that hurting corporations would benefit the country is basically just insane.

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    basic facts like federally subsidising offshoring of american jobs with taxpayers money?

    fucking spare me about the “poor businesses”

    i’m not talking about the mom and pop store here…we are talking about things like the fucking traitorous gougers who popped gas up over a dollar a gallon for the Labor day weekend getting billions in breaks after posting record profits

    there’s more, but i know it doesn’t matter to you, you have always stood on the position that greater stock profits are more important than american jobs

    so we will have to agree to disagree

    Excelsior!

  • Sister Ray

    Jude: “They know that government holds a responsibility for the welfare of the nation – and an important key to alleviating poverty.”

    This is the real issue: what is “the government’s” responsibility?

    The government’s money comes from taxes from individual citizens of America. Even corporations are made up of groups of people.

    What is my or your or Wal-Mart shareholders’ responsibility to our fellow man?

  • gonzo marx

    as i said in another Thread…
    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.*

    look familiar?

    what we are talking about here might just fall under the “promote the general Welfare” might it not?

    now we can readily discuss and disagree about HOW we, as a Nation do that

    but it does look like we, as a Nation , are supposed to be working on it

    Excelsior!

  • Maurice

    gonzo

    please see my comment #1 because I think I am repeating myself.

    I don’t believe government (no matter how well intentioned) can CURE poverty. In fact I believe the reverse. Government causes poverty by subsidizing it.

  • gonzo marx

    Maurice, i understand…and Respect the value of your Opinion…

    i just blatantly disagree with the Premise

    above, it was Asked if our government should be involved in these matters…i quoted the Constitution as proof of my position

    you have made a statement…now would you care to share the facts and Reasoning behind it?

    because all that comment #1 states in an unfounded Opinion, which you have every Right to hold and express…

    but in the course of discussion, making unfounded declarations helps no one to either understand each other, r solve the differences

    i sincerely hope that helps

    Excelsior!

  • Maurice

    gonzo

    perhaps if someone with a little more ‘weight’ had the same opinion…

    ..every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.

    You go to the head of the class if you know where this quote came from.

  • gonzo marx

    i think that would be John Galt for $1000 Alex?

    if i am correct, let me know…then i will share some facts about Rand and why i prefer Nathanial Branden

    if i am incorrect, i would like to know the source as well as how you compare the “weight” of your quote with mine form the Constitution

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    what we are talking about here might just fall under the “promote the general Welfare” might it not?

    Agreed, gonzo. Cutting corporate taxes is definitely a way of promoting the general welfare. Good point.

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    that position can be argued

    but then again, the counter can also be discussed

    remember…i don’t hold that a corporation has any “rights” only the Individual citizen…so my opinion comes from that basis

    arguing that a corp that posts billions in profits needs a tax cut appears to be no more than simple greed…and the benefits accrued do NOT seem to be given to the workers in the corp, nor the american public in general…but rather only to upper management and the larger shareholders

    Excelsior!

  • Sister Ray

    Gonzo, you’re right. That is what the Constitution says. I should have remembered that.

    I guess it’s how you define promoting the general welfare, and what would be the best way to do so.

    Some people (people in general, not any particular subset) do make bad decisions that hurt them financially. Me included.

    I think we all – again, myself included – would be better off if were more self-sufficient.

  • http://www.chancelucky.blogspot.com chancelucky

    I simply was following the yahoo income statements that I was given and came up with Apple paying roughly 25%on substantial profits. I’m not an accountant nor do I play one on the tnternet. I do pay a lot more than 10-12% on my own income, so maybe I need a better accountant.
    I do know that it’s foolish to look at taxes paid vs. taxable income as a measure of fairness. Most of the accounting fun happens well before you get to the taxable income line.

    I took a look at the Irish tax rate. The 12% non-tradeable rate has been very effective in attracting foreign investment, also partly because Ireland was/is a cheap labor country relative to its closest neighbors. To me, it’s something of a 3rd world model for prosperity. Is that really the model the US wants to follow?

    Redtard: I am glad that we might have some middle ground, though we probably differ on the whole question of what to with the money :}.

    I’ve looked some at the gilded age which was pre-Federal income tax and a period when support for the poor came largely from private sources. I don’t think it’s an era that the vast majority of Americans would want to return to, but I do understand people having different tastes.

    fwiw, I do happen to think many investment credits make good sense as public policy, but many don’t. there’d be no airline industry for instance or television, or at least it would have happened much later, had it not been for government subsidies of various kinds and in various forms.
    And yes if certain corporate tax cuts led to more high paying jobs, etc. I’d likely support them. The big question though is what’s the return on investment for the general public from various credits, breaks, etc.?
    Often it’s not immediately measurable particularly with things like the interstate highway system. Still, the rationale needs to be articulated.

    some of the items cut in the most recent budget have been surprisingly good investments. The student loan program may be a fiscal disaster in some ways, but as a public investment it’s been surprisingly successful. Similarly, giving grandparents raising grandchildren some foster child benefits is a very good way to keep children out of institutions where they frequently grow up to be net tax burdens rather than producers. I suspect strong arguments could be made for a number of the items cut.

    I’m not sure the same argument could be made for the 100 billion tax cut that preceded these budget cuts. In any case, I still get a 60 billion dollar increase in the deficit, though I’m willing to look at evidence that the tax cut will produce more than a 100 billion dollars in stimulus.

  • Maurice

    gonzo

    a great guess – but wrong. Adam Smith, the father of modern economics.

    Ann Rand is a bit much.

    Most of my family are in jail or on welfare. I am not unsympathetic to the plight of the poor. I just have a different opinion about how to help them.

    Are you familiar with the term ‘enabler’ as used by AA?

    Chancelucky – Corporations pay taxes.

  • gonzo marx

    Maurice…

    thanks for the Info…BTW it’s Ayn and i agree about her

    yes, i am familiar with the term “enabler” and i can agree with you there to some extent

    however, can we agree that there are some folks(the disabled, elderly, blind, children) that we SHOULD, as a Society, help?

    can we agree that Education, daycare, healthcare (for Minors especially) are all important to provide for these folks?

    i’m all for helpoing folks to help themselves….the old “give them a fish/teach them to fish” bit is an axiom as far as i am concerned

    but don’t you think it is a bit on the wrong side to tell a Mother she has to go to work, and at the saem time cut off her daycare to take care of the kids while she is working, or to remove the healthcare benfits for those kids…it’s not their fault their parents are fucked up

    there is plenty of room here for discussion on how best to “promote the general Welfare”

    but i don’t think sterotyping, broad brush generalities, or narrow minded sloganeering are helpful

    much better is the exact kind of discussion we are engaged in right now

    don’t you think so?

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.chancelucky.blogspot.com chancelucky

    I spent some time doing direct research on “workfare” programs in the upper Midwest at the end of the Clinton era. I’ve also looked at international studies done on what they call micro-enterprise in which resources are directed towards giving the poor entrepreneurial skills instead of jobs.

    I’m a big believer in teach a man to fish, but they also have to have a pole, a net, and a place to fish from before they can help themselves at least in the fishing business. These programs often are under-resourced to the point that it’s not clear that the clients have the ability to fish.

    In addition, it was clear to me that they weren’t appropriate for some of the persistently poor. In the literature, they often get called “individuals with multiple barriers” to gainful employment.
    In many cases, a lack of will to work was part of the problem, but those who worked directly with these individuals told me that it frequently was not. Often, it was a simple lack of time or a relatively abusive home environment where the individual simply wasn’t safe ( I was looking at work programs for teenaged mothers and the choice was often between holding a minimum wage job and being a neglectful parent. It was virtually impossible to both be a good parent and hold a job without affordable childcare, safe housing, flexible work hours, and public transportation)

    Maurice: I didn’t say that corporations don’t pay taxes. I was discussing whether or not some of the breaks they do get are necessarily in the public interest as an economic proposition.
    In all the comments here, including mine. I don’t see anyone who seriously discussed the public cost/benefit analysis for any of the programs that were cut vs. the very large tax cut that made the cuts necessary.
    What I see instead is the assertion that poor people can and should be resourceful and have a strong work ethic. I haven’t seen anyone here dispute that. Some of us are just asking the question whether that’s enough and if it’s fair for their children.

  • http://iddybud.blogspot.com Jude

    What is my or your or Wal-Mart shareholders’ responsibility to our fellow man?

    As moral and ethical people, I don’t think that question should be all that hard to answer.

    It’s only greed and a lack of caring about the repective communities in which we live that complicate the question.

    We are a nation of people – – individuals. The Declaration of Independence did not say a Corporation was created by God and endowed with inalienable rights. It is the individual conscience that must guide the way government affairs are conducted. If it is a religious value to be charitable, it is no less than complete denial to say a government of the people, the majority of whom are religious, should be a government that does not represent that value.

    When all the spin is spun away, the truth will always remain.

  • http://www.chancelucky.blogspot.com chancelucky

    Though its fair to point out that the Supreme Court determined that a corporation was a legal person with due process rights under the 14th amendment somewhat before the Court applied those rights to blacks or women.

    Ironic, but the case law essetially says that corporations are protected under the constitution, yet another artifact from the gilded age to which many here seem to want to return.

  • http://www.bloodmoneyrpg.bravehost.com Salem

    Firstly: does anyone remember how the government helped Raytheon win the Brazilian radar tender? If not, then we all know how practically every member of the government, if not the entire inner circle, has or had ties to at least one corporation. And corporations can be dangerous, they can loose their morals by lusting after only “the profit”. Therfore, it is easy to see how the government is, in essence, a corporation; chasing the profit. And since the government officals run businesses alongside their involvement in the government, they may also abuse their power to make even more profit, it is human nature. If you are going to critise the corporations for causing or continuing poverty, then you are critising the government, and vice-versa. They are the same thing.

    Secondly: corporations/governments lack basic economics. For a corporation/government to make money, people must spend their money. If people have no money, they cannot spend it. If a corporation/government does not lay off workers to save money, the workers can put money back into the corporation by using its products. Its that simple.

    Thirdly: check out how the aid agencies are trying to make Africa “better off”; not by handing out aid or building hospitals. But by giving the people the means to create their own income, by giving them the means to build their own hospitals. They can take pride in their own income because they created it. Unfortunately this can never work in America or any other “Western Country”, our corporate governments are too caught up in lip-service-hand-outs. As long as they look good infront of a camera and keep making money, everything else is secondary. (Personally, I don’t think any nation should be subjected to “Westernism”, we may have a great country, but their country is great too, just in a different way.)

    Finally: as long as there is rich, there is poor. You can blame whatever you like; commercialism, corruption, crappy education; but the truth remains, there will always be poverty because there will always be rich, and people will always try to be rich to stop being poor, and others will take their their place. There will always be poverty.

  • Maurice

    gonzo #50

    Yes I agree. You make excellant points about the needy. My oldest son is profoundly mentally retarded and has many health problems. He is living in a group home and receives incredible care. He does not speak and is not able to walk without assistance. He has cerebral palsy and has to take medication for his seizures. The government has helped out in a huge way with his problems.

    My one brother in law just got out of prison and is on a very strict probation. He will remain on welfare and make no effort to better himself.

    Government money for my son is a huge help. Government money for my brother in law only serves to convince him to not try.

    BTW my other brother in law got out of prison last year and the system actually worked. He is a changed man with a job (construction) and an attitude of success.

    Hope I’m wrong about the other brother in law.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

  • http://iddybud.blogspot.com Jude

    Yes, there will always be poverty.

    That does not mean it is moral or responsible to be complacent about ALLEVIATING poverty where it is entirely possible, practicable, and is sound social policy for the public good.

    Maurice, about your brother-in-law who was released from prison: I agree. Welfare payments without requirement for responsibility (with government support for education, training, etc), is not a practicable or sound policy for the common good. So let’s work to change it – make it work efficiently. Don’t just use the word “welfare” in the context of blaming the poor, throwing away the baby with the bathwater, and giving up.

    Your brother-in-law is a person who has potential. “How would you know?”, you may ask – and I would answer that EVERY HUMAN BEING has potential. If we fail to tap into that with government support, we aren’t much of a moral body of citizens with values we will embrace and defend.

    “Values” doesn’t just mean anti-gay and pro-life issues, moral values encompass the poor and how we look at them and choose to TREAT them in a democratic society.

    About the “corporation as person” under the 14th Amendment – Yes, that is true, but as I said, when you remove the spin the truth ALWAYS remains – a corporation cannot be of individual conscience, and it exists for the bottom line – not for any moral purpose, no matter how the product or service is marketed.

    Thomas Jefferson and James Madison would spin like chicken rotisserie in their graves if they could hear us discussing the merits of corporation as conscience!

  • http://iddybud.blogspot.com Jude

    This is related to what we’re talking about. Immoral governing. War Vets should be honored – not just because they’re walking around with one arm or half a face – – but because they served our nation!

    Republicans are trying to turn VA benefits into welfare! With this type of thinking, we will soon be blaming our Vets for their own poverty, too!

    From an opinion at Military.com:

    ….the biggest blow to veterans came when Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) was removed as Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Smith was universally respected as a friend to veterans and a fighter for increased benefits, but strayed from the official Party line one too many times. Not only did he lose the chairmanship, he was removed from the Committee.

    Smith has been replaced by Steve Buyer (R-IN). In his first few days as Committee Chair Buyer has managed to offend every veteran’s group in the country. At a time when every veteran knows the VA needs more funding, Buyer said,

    “I want to modernize the system. I am not a defender of bloated bureaucracies.” Buyer then went on to paint a perfectly clear picture of the VA of the future: “Some of the veterans service organizations, they are having this belief that everyone should have open access to the VA system, when in fact I believe that the VA system should follow its core constituency and the intent of Congress when we laid out our priorities, and that was in fact to take care of our disabled and indigent veterans first.”

    This was NOT an off-the-cuff remark by Rep. Buyer. He was placed in his position by the Republican Party leadership and speaks for the Party who answers to the White House. Buyer speaks the gospel and gets his sermons right from the Top.

    The most important part of Buyer’s remarks is his deliberate “welfarizing” of the VA healthcare system. By telling us the priority of the VA is to care for “disabled and indigent” veterans first, he minimizes and denigrates the sacrifices made by ALL veterans. The VA was set up to serve ALL veterans including the “disabled and indigent.” This careful positioning of the VA healthcare system creates the impression that the VA is a welfare program and veterans are just looking for a “handout.” Also, it’s easy to talk about the “intent” of a previous Congress when your goal is to undo what they have done. And the remark about “core constituency” is just plain outlandish. The VA serves ALL veterans.

  • http://iddybud.blogspot.com Jude

    MERRY CHRISTMAS!
    HAPPY HANUKKAH!
    HAPPY KWANZA!
    HAPPY NEW YEAR!
    HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
    HAPPY HOLY DAYS!

  • http://pogblog.blogharbor.com pogblog

    While some folks worry mightily about the pitiable sums used to keep the poor from a less dickensian & abysmal existence (so Arnold can have his 8th Hummer), keep in mind the grotesque unmentioned sums: $820,000 per minute on the Military Budget plus another $200,000 per minute for Iraq.

  • Scott Butki

    The former copy editor/reporter in me cringed at the headline: A budget can’t be immoral. The maker of the budget can. But the budget itself is inanimate. It’d be like describing my sad wallet. Which is sort of true… and yet not right.
    r

  • Scott Butki

    Sorry, I’m feeling sick and yucky and I want to apologize for my prior post which was petty and mean.

  • http://iddybud.blogspot.com Jude

    A wallet cannot cry, but it’s very possible for a law or a policy not to be seen as righteous.

  • Scott Butki

    I cry when I open my wallet or look at government budgets.

    But playing devils advocate- why is Cheney responsible for the budget?

  • Scott Butki

    Put another way, Cheney is just one vote – he’s not the one who wrote the budget.

    Oh man, hell is freezing over if i’m sticking up for Cheney

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Cheney’s not even one vote, he’s only allowed to vote to break ties.

    Dave

  • http://iddybud.blogspot.com Jude

    Come on, guys, let’s cut through the spin here.
    You can look to proximate cause if you want to be completely logical – if not but for the action of Dick Cheney (who traversed the globe to appear in the flesh for the probable likelihood that he’d have to be the one to break the tie), the budget would not have been sent from the Senate back to the House. Nothing could have come between Dick and the breaking of that tie. He existed that day – for that moment – for his “side.” It was a perfect photo-op for the newspapers to showcase him as a Scrooge. Any act to further devastate the most vulnerable Americans is going to be seen as immoral. The budget, through these spending cuts, does just that.

  • gonzo marx

    the case may also be made that Cheney, as perhaps the MOST influential VP in history, had more than a small part in the WH’s writing up of this budget

    but i digress…

    Excelsior!

  • Scott Butki

    I’d suggest that the person who wrote the budget
    or introduced the motion to pass the budget had a
    larger role in the budget’s passage than Cheney.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I’d vote for Thomas Jefferson or Teddy Roosevelt as the most influential VPs in history, but Cheney is certainly up there. But his role as president of the Senate has hardly anything to do with his actual influence.

    It was a perfect photo-op for the newspapers to showcase him as a Scrooge. Any act to further devastate the most vulnerable Americans is going to be seen as immoral. The budget, through these spending cuts, does just that.

    It was his chance to show critics on both the right and the left that the administration could make some of the hard decisions to actually cut the budget at least a tiny amount to counterbalance the deficit and shows some fiscal responsibility. An awful lot of people have been begging to see some sign of budgetary responsibilit. Inadequate thought this budget may be it is at least a feeble effort in the right direction.

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    showing fiscal Responsibility wouold have been cutting pork and protecting VA benefits

    instead, “scrooge” is a good word to describe what was cut and capped to pander to their base without making any REALLY tough decisions about…oh….corporate welfare and useless pork spending

    your mileage may vary

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I’m just impressed they managed to cut ANYTHING, gonzo.

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    well Mr Nalle…might i Postulate that
    a) you are too easily Impressed
    b) it’s very telling about the “morals and values” of those who wrote the budget as to what was “cut”

    nuff said?

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Have you read over the budget yet, Gonzo? A lot of the social program money that was axed was ultimately put back in so that the cuts aren’t nearly as substantial as they could have been.

    And being impressed doesn’t reflect being easily impressed it reflects a lack of confidence in our representatives having spines.

    IMO there’s something wrong when so much effort goes into keeping ANWR drilling out of the bill and so little goes into figuring out where essential cuts ought to be made.

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    Mr Nalle…

    i’ve only skimmed parts of the budget so far, i tend not to try and read them until they get passed, unless there is something proposed that truly Concerns me for whatever Reason

    Mr Nalle sez…
    *IMO there’s something wrong when so much effort goes into keeping ANWR drilling out of the bill and so little goes into figuring out where essential cuts ought to be made.*

    you and i have done the Dance about ANWR, so i’ll leave that one be

    but i can totally Agree with you that it is a fucking Shame that our Representatives are NOT putting every effort in to work together and balance the Checkbook…make the damn budget “kosher” by getting all that pork out, and prioritize properly , with the goal of achieving maximum Benefit for our Nation with minimal waste

    fair enough?

    Excelsior!

  • Scott Butki

    Looks like nobody addressed my comment – why is Cheney the bad guy here when he’s only one vote (if that) of many

  • lumpy

    I heard that they actually cut the stupid ‘bridge to nowhere’ over the objections of Ted ‘King of Pork’ Stevens. If true, that’s at least one big accomplishment. I wonder if they cut his $1.5 mil busstop too.

  • Scott Butk

    I think they cut his programs and he had to stand mute and take it.

  • Dave Nalle

    Scott, I think someone addressed the issue you raised earlier. Cheney was the deciding vote because there was a tie.

    That said, it’s pretty trivial, as this budget doesn’t cut nearly enough, and doesn’t really do all the bad things it’s been blamed for doing. Almost all the money for social programs was put back in with the final version that was voted on.

    Dave

  • Ebony Ghost

    Concernng the bridge to nowhere, the stipulation that the money be used for the bridge was removed. The State of Alaska will still get the money. They just have to find a new use for it.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Alaska will need that money to pay off some of the unfunded mandates which are part of the current budget – like No Child Left Behind.

    Dave