The Reviews Are In: President’s Latest Plan Is ‘About The Next Election,’ He ‘Has Given Up The Chance Now To Lead Effectively’
‘$1.5 Trillion In Tax Increases’ ‘Not A New Idea,’ ‘The Word Malaise Has A Lot Of Application Here’
NEWSWEEK’s JON MEACHAM: “I think there is a key word, with apologies to Mika [Brzezinski], I think the word malaise has a lot of application here.” (MSNBC’s Morning Joe, 9/19/11)
- MEACHAM: “I just think it’s a big, big mess and the President has given up the chance now to lead effectively on this stuff…” (MSNBC’s Morning Joe, 9/19/11)
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: “Mr. Obama’s plan, which will be offered to the lawmakers charged with negotiating a deal by Nov. 23, will include $1.5 trillion in tax increases…” (“New Obama Deficit Plan,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/19/11)
- WSJ: “President Barack Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on some millionaires will likely please members of his party, but it is unlikely to have much practical impact on federal deficits anytime soon.” (“Millionaire’s Tax To Be Tough Sell,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/19/11)
ABC NEWS’ JONATHAN KARL: “It’s not new, by the way, he proposed a millionaires tax to finance healthcare and it went nowhere. This is not a new idea.” (ABC’s This Week, 9/18/11)
- KARL: “The toughest critics of President Obama right now are Democrats in the Senate and in the House. He has completely lost the support up there. They think he doesn’t know what he is doing.” (ABC’s This Week, 9/18/11)
MSNBC’s JOE SCARBOROUGH: “…when this President said in 2004, Mark Halperin, ‘I’m LeBron baby’, he meant it. He’s disappeared in critical times and just like LeBron in the finals.” (MSNBC’s Morning Joe, 9/19/11)
‘A Blueprint For Shoring Up His Restless Democratic Base’
POLITICO: “Suffering an erosion of support from the broad coalition that elected him, Obama has crafted a plan that reads more like a blueprint for shoring up his restless Democratic base than a vehicle for reaching across the aisle in search of bipartisan compromise.” (“Obama To Unveil $3T Deficit Plan,” Politico, 9/18/11)
MSNBC’s MIKA BRZEZINSKI: “I think this is about the next election. Someone is going to have to explain to me why it’s not.” (MSNBC’s Morning Joe, 9/19/11)
THE NEW YORK TIMES: “The Obama proposal has little chance of becoming law unless Republican lawmakers bend. But by focusing on the wealthiest Americans, the president is sharpening the contrast between Republicans and Democrats with a theme he can carry into his bid for re-election in 2012.” (“Obama Plan To Cut Deficit Will Trim Spending By $3 Trillion,” The New York Times, 9/18/11)
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: “It also comes amid a clamor in his own Democratic Party for Obama to take a tougher stance against Republicans. And while the plan stands little chance of passing Congress, its populist pitch is one that the White House believes the public can support.” (“Obama To Propose $1.5 Trillion In New Tax Revenue,” The Associated Press, 9/19/11)
THE WASHINGTON POST: “Obama’s position will probably delight Democrats, who have fretted for months that he is doing too little to solve the nation’s jobs crisis while being too willing to embrace major changes to Medicare and Social Security. But his plan has little chance of passing and is already inflaming Republicans … Last week, Obama told supporters at a fundraiser in Washington that the upcoming debate will crystallize the difference between his views and the GOP’s.” (“Obama’s Debt-Reduction Plan: $3 Trillion In Savings, Half From New Tax Revenue,” The Washington Post, 9/18/11)
Wealth is not Created at the Top: It is Only Devoured There
The UK has left the EU and we can argue about the minutiae of Wealth until we’re blue in the face. But the overriding factors are apparent and in one of the richest countries in the world it is shocking that so many people can’t even be sure if they are going to be able to eat enough today or provide for their loved ones.
These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have “made it”. By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurial-ism that are helping to advance the whole world – Opinion by Rutger Bregman
… across the spectrum virtually all agree that wealth is created primarily at the top and so entrenched is this assumption that it’s even embedded in our language. When economists talk about “productivity”, what they really mean is the size of your paycheck. And when we use terms like “welfare state”, “redistribution” and “solidarity”, we’re implicitly subscribing to the view that there are two strata: the makers and the takers, the producers and the couch potatoes, the hardworking citizens – and everybody else.
Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook … a new breed of rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they’re sucking the rest of us dry
In reality, it is precisely the other way around. In reality, it is the waste collectors, the nurses, and the cleaners whose shoulders are supporting the apex of the pyramid. They are the true mechanism of social solidarity. Meanwhile, a growing share of those we hail as “successful” and “innovative” are earning their wealth at the expense of others. The people getting the biggest handouts are not down around the bottom, but at the very top. Yet their perilous dependence on others goes unseen. Almost no one talks about it. Even for politicians on the left, it’s a non-issue.
To understand why, we need to recognise that there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our “human capital” in economic terms) to create something new, whether that’s a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth.
But there is also a second way to make money. That’s the rentier way: by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others’ expense, using his power to claim economic benefit.
But here comes the rub. Most rentiers are not as easily identified as the greedy banker or manager. Many are disguised. On the face of it, they look like industrious folks, because for part of the time they really are doing something worthwhile. Precisely that makes us overlook their massive rent-seeking…
The problems we face are that the politicians are firmly in the hands (pockets) of the uber wealthy. We live in a corporate plutocracy and those holding all the wealth and therefore power have no intention of changing the status quo, even if it isn’t sustainable. They remind me of bacteria (or cancer) devouring the host body more and more even though eventually it will kill them too.
Donald Trump Forgets Important Lesson From Grandad:
Harper’s Magazine reprints an interesting letter from US President Donald J. Trump’s own grandfather that may get you thinking. Here is it then:
The Emigrants – By Friedrich Trump – From a letter written in 1905 by Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. Trump had been ordered to leave Bavaria for failing to complete mandatory military service and to register his initial emigration to the United States twenty years earlier.
Prince Luitpold rejected Trump’s request for repatriation; the family later settled in New York. Translated from the German by Austen Hinkley.
Most Serene, Most Powerful Prince Regent! Most Gracious Regent and Lord!
I was born in Kallstadt on March 14, 1869. My parents were honest, plain, pious vineyard workers. They strictly held me to everything good — to diligence and piety, to regular attendance in school and church, to absolute obedience toward the high authority.
After my confirmation, in 1882, I apprenticed to become a barber. I emigrated in 1885, in my sixteenth year. In America I carried on my business with diligence, discretion, and prudence. God’s blessing was with me, and I became rich. I obtained American citizenship in 1892. In 1902 I met my current wife. Sadly, she could not tolerate the climate in New York, and I went with my dear family back to Kallstadt.
The town was glad to have received a capable and productive citizen. My old mother was happy to see her son, her dear daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter around her; she knows now that I will take care of her in her old age.
But we were confronted all at once, as if by a lightning strike from fair skies, with the news that the High Royal State Ministry had decided that we must leave our residence in the Kingdom of Bavaria. We were paralyzed with fright; our happy family life was tarnished. My wife has been overcome by anxiety, and my lovely child has become sick.
Why should we be deported? This is very, very hard for a family. What will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a decree — not to mention the great material losses it would incur. I would like to become a Bavarian citizen again.
In this urgent situation I have no other recourse than to turn to our adored, noble, wise, and just sovereign lord, our exalted ruler His Royal Highness, highest of all, who has already dried so many tears, who has ruled so beneficially and justly and wisely and softly and is warmly and deeply loved, with the most humble request that the highest of all will himself in mercy deign to allow the applicant to stay in the most gracious Kingdom of Bavaria.
Your most humble and obedient,
… Well then. Long ago, yes.. Still applies? You tell me.
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