Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Episode 50: Iced-Tea?


Wow… episode 50! This is officially the longest I have been able to maintain a blog (well that record was beat 35 or so episodes ago) so I’d like to thank the regular readers and passer bys for joining the debate, and to look forward to many more!

Now, on to the meat and potatoes, I try my very best to not talk about Fox News. Any sane person knows that “fair and balanced” means “unfair and unbalanced right-wing, psycho-babble propaganda.” Thus, it is a complete waste of time to rationalize their inherently irrational arguments. This time around however, Fox News took their “unfair and unbalanced, right-wing, psycho-babble propaganda” to the next level, adding fuel to the grassroots fire by turning a small teabag movement to a fuel blown extravaganza.

Now don’t get me wrong – I have zero issues with the protest itself. It is a first amendment right, and everyone has a right to exercise that right. However, the fuel for such a movement stems from counterfactual, irrelevant, and plain made up information being propagated by the likes of “news” outlets and right wing radio. The truth of the matter is simple. 95-99% of the people attending these Teabag Parties WILL NOT BE AFFECTED BY OBAMA’S TAX PLAN. He has made it unquestionably clear that his tax plan will CUT taxes for 95% of Americans, and for Americans making over a quarter billion annually their tax rate will increase by THREE PERCENT. One more time… THREE PERCENT! This is what the tax rate for the elite class was when Bill Clinton was president. Which is to say using real numbers, if in 2008 you made $1 million, they’d take home $640,000. In 2009, if you made $1million, you’d take home $610,000. So rich folk, you really mean to tell me that you are going ape sh… over a $30,000 decline in your take home salary?! You still make 12.7 times more than the average American, and the $30,000 you lose helps to take care of healthcare, education, and other programs to keep Americans competitive. Give me a break! That $30,000 difference is more than most middle class Americans bring home in a year!

But I get it, I really do… we hate paying taxes. Everyone hates paying taxes. If you keep cutting taxes however, where will the government have the money to pay for essential services? Yes, I suppose we can argue over the amount or quantity of taxes, but governments, state and federal need money to provide services to the people. Tax cuts is NOT the answer. Not the complete answer at least. It is a temporary boost (I’m talking weeks or months) that jump start consumer spending. I often cite the case in New York when then Mayor Giuliani (and subsequently Long Island followed suit) cut taxes for a month on retail items. On top of that, retail shops took advantage and offered sales galore. For that month, you could not find a store that wasn’t filled to capacity. The following month, the taxes were back to normal, but people were still shopping. That is an example of an effective tax cut. Take a hit in April to make a huge profit in May. But to base an entire national economic policy on tax cuts alone is foolhardy, and not economically sound.

Obama has been meeting with economists from the left and the right months before he was sworn in to get their perspective. It was the general concession, that government spending is how we get out of this mess. It is the only institution we have left in this economy that has the resources to move massive amounts of money around. That’s why we have stimulus packages and bailouts and things of the like. No American is happy about it. But if we don’t get large amount of money moving around, and restructure the manufacturing industry (which employs much of Middle America) then we would have the economical equivalent to a seized engine.

I’m always excited to see Americans involved with politics, so a national movement to get the word out about the way a particular group feels is a great thing. The not so great thing is the people are getting out to protest something they either don’t understand, or never bothered to go beyond the Fox News propaganda… something easily fixed by hopping on Youtube, watching the speeches, and judging for themselves the merit of Obama’s policy. However, this is new age politics. Sadly most Americans don’t care enough to get information from the source, even though it is increasingly easier to do. So I solely place the blame on “news” like Fox News, Limbaugh, Coulter, and the rest of the right-wing psycho-babble outlets (and yes, there are some conservative outlets that have integrity). Where were you when millions of Americans protested the war? Where is the commericals to stir up a big anti-war movement? Shame on you for letting ideology get in the way of “journalism.” MSNBC and to a lesser extent CNN are more commentators than journalists as well, but you will not find commercials and endorsements from the anchors for this tea part from anyone else but Fox News.
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14 comments: on "Episode 50: Iced-Tea?"

conservative generation said...

Hey tL,

Sorry I've been missing! I've got to come around and touch on your last post and some of your comments on my blog :)

I wondered if you'd post on the tea parties. I wouldn't expect you to fully understand them, though you give them a fairer shake. Is it about taxes? Yes it is. But more so about fiscal responsibility and spending. The taxes are coming one way or another. If you think about it, Obama's been pretty misleading on fiscal responsibility. He said we were going to pay as we go. He announced it if you remember. Haven't seen anything close to that.

Anyways, some people are going to make this about Obama, he's just a symptom though. Some may try and make it about social issues, but what people are most upset about is spending.

I would expect that you would give Obama a lot of room on his economic policies. I do not agree that spending is needed to end a recession and if you were going to spend, I'd say that he's picked the wrong way to do it. So there is at least one economist that has problems about spending. I know that there are more as well. In fact, having the nation reach a point of insolvency has long been a problem economists have worried about.

Now the unfortunate thing is that all this started under Obama instead of Bush. I feel most lefties are mostly offended thinking this is just some Obama protesting. However, we knew Bush was on his way out and had hopes for the next president. Conservatives have been upset on this issue for a long time.

I don't really see what fox news has to do with it or why the lefties are so made at them. You have CNN, MSNBC and all the networks. I remember Cindy Sheehan and her like 50 protesters got months of coverage. Obviously, once she got coverage the movement grew. Tea parties have been going on for months now and you're concerned about the last two weeks of coverage for Fox. Never heard the right complaining about the coverage and support from the networks on the lights out thing last month? I don't understand the sensitivity toward the Tea Parties.

The Law said...

I'll respond to this in reverse order... Fox News, if they are to be considered a "fair and balanced" news network has no business as a jounralistic outlet to incite people to attend these tea parties. Having earned a degree in communications, I feel strongly about the cardinal journalistic sin they have committed. There is nothing with the tea party itself, there is nothing wrong about reporting it, but to throw in advertising dollars, on air endorsements, and fundrasing to encourage a large attendence is wrong. Don't get me wrong, I think all cable news is more commentary than journalism, but Fox News has tilted the balance between ideology and news way to far this time. And the lights out thing was a push for energy conservation observed by the entire NBC network. They made no mention of the gathering storm of a green revolution...

Fiscal responsibility?? I just don't get how this word gets tossed around when we blew nearly 3/4 of a Trillion Dollars into fighting two wars, and didn't have the integrity to include those wars in the budget. And Bush's bank check failed to produce noteworthy results. The money Obama wants to spend is focused at home where it should be.

I really don't understand why many on the right have issues with investing into our country. 25 years of trickle down, supply side economics have failed to produce the desired result of building up the middle class through business investment. So much of our money goes to building up 3red world nations (which is good and well) without paying attention to our crumbling education system and healthcare system.

And frankly, the tea party point of view simply isn't in line with what the country wants the government to do. And the opposition after all this time STILL hasn't provided a viable alternative.

conservative generation said...


I'm sorry. You are very wrong on this one.

I'm not sure about the fox news advertisement you are responding to. I don't have cable, so I'm not sure exactly what you are referring to here. If you have time to send me a source or two I'd appreciate it.

You are kidding yourself if you don't think that CNN and MSNBC haven't gone all in on Obama and the liberal agenda. How about free political advertising for Obama during the campaign? There were no tough questions asked. I didn't see anyone challenging Obama's policies like they challenged McCain's. You are also wrong on the lights out, which was not for energy conservation. It was Earth Hour! It was a protest of global warming. I fail to see the difference here. What about the hit job on Sarah Palin? I'm not saying she's great, but where was the journalistic integrity in reporting unsubstantiated rumors like wanting to ban "evil" books in schools and going to crazy cult like churches. I can list more. I think you are being a little hypocritical here. I agree Fox is right leaning, but don't try and tell me that the rest of TV and print media are unbiased.

As far as Bush is concerned. I agree! You are right. Come join us in the outrage of wasted money and go to a tea party. That's what it's all about. If Obama can do no harm at least come out and protest congress' earmarks.

Investing in the country. That's an interesting phrase for wasteful spending. You may have a point with infrastructure. You may or may not have a point with green energy (many years down the road, we'll find out). However, that is about what?, 600 billion of the 4.8 trillion proposed in government deficit (that's 1.8 trillion budget deficit, 1 trillion stimulus, 1 trillion TARP, and 1 trillion TARP2). We haven't even gotten to full on health care, social security and education.

I don't abide by the "that's what America wants" arguement. You would need to tell me why you think America is suddenly all for wanton spending and taxes? There are local governments and states, spending and taxing with impunity as well. Congresses approval has been abismal for a long time. I pay attention to the polls as well. America didn't want TARP 1, they didn't want the Omnibus Bill, they don't want TARP2, and they said they wanted a stimulus. That doesn't mean they were thumbs up on everything Obama's stimulus was about.

On a different note. Happy 50th. Hope there are many more. I'm glad you've stuck with it.

del patterson said...

One would think the guys/gals on the right would just love to pay taxes, what with the extreme need for bullets, boats, bombs, fighter jets,etc.. They wouldn't have those toys without taxes, nor would they have the money to build all those border walls, or the ubiquitous "Homeland Security" agents listening to our conversations (legally ?)

Personally, I have no qualms about paying my taxes. I honor this country and as sappy as it may sound, I know that it cannot be a world power without a tax base that makes it sound.

The source of this Tax Protest stems from those who tell us they are loyal, who tell us they put America first, who tell us that the American worker is the very best in the world, and, then, more their charters off shore (to avoid taxes), out-source American jobs to India, China, dodge taxes so that the average American has to pull up the slack. They call themselves "Corporate Citizens". They want laissez faire economics without any payment for citizenship.

Where we need to look and complain loudly, is the publicly produced document spending by the Government Accountability Office, wherein they list billions (that's with a "b") in wasted expenditures by the fed govt. It is a stunning list that should be cause for a protest about wasteful spending.

conservative generation said...


Agreed on the Goverment list.

Are you serious? After Geithner and Daschel you think it's corporations cheating the tax system? What about Obama. His answer in the online town hall to bringing jobs back was "don't expect them to come back." They certainly won't on his watch. Not with the highest corporate taxes in the world, which is a tax on the American worker.

conservative generation said...

Below is an article on Obama having a wonderful Pizza party last Friday. He few in all the people and ingredients from St Louis for it on the tax payer dime.


The Law said...

Believe me... I have a degree in communications, and have done plently of reseach on and conducted my own surveys about advertisement, marketing, and ratings. Cable news is entertainment first, news second. They have on a cast of dynamic charcters to boost ratings. It is no secret MSNBC panders to the left, Fox News panders to the right, and CNN does this awkward tongue-in-cheek thng because they stifle their ideological outbursts with "journalistic integrity." So I have no problem with Pro Obama ads on MSNBC and Pro McCain/GOP ads on Fox News. Again, pandering to an audience, Fox News promotes Gn rights on air, MSNBC promotes global warming. I have no problem with this either -- it's what the viewers want/expect to see. However the tea party is a news story. There is NO WAY one could deliver "fair and balanced," objective news stories for an event they for which they are an active participant, endorser, and fundraiser. I know the idea of Fox NEws deliverign fiar an dbalanced coverage on any story is a laughable notion, but they overstepped their boundaries here big time, even for entertainment's sake.

Re: Tea Parties

Look, Americans can't have their cake and eat it too. Lest we forget, our competitors in the EU are socialist. As are the Russians, and most Asia. And if they are not socialist, then they are, like China, communist. Many nations cant offer lower corporate taxes because a) they are developing nations and they want to bring in more business b)they are smaller countries who rely on foreign trade

However, the price citizens pay for lower corporate taxes is super high taxes on everything else. No other country in the world rewards success like America. Likewise, there is no coutnry that can produce billionaires like us (which is why something like 75% of the world's billionaires are US citizens). Americans don't realize that we already pay lower taxes on a whole than most every country in the world. This is because the more you make in socialist countries, the less you bring home. This is NOT the case in America. In fact, we will LOWER taxes on 95% of Americans, and raise taxes on the top 2% by not 20%, not 10%, not even 5%, but THREE percent! And it is only back to the bracket it was before Bush II!! You say that this is about govenment spending, well they should choose another name, because the Boston Tea Party was about Taxtation without Representation... taxes. Which brings me back to Fox News who repeatedly (since the campaign) accuse Obama of being socialist, and inciting fear amongst the far right that they are losing their country to socialists. Again, irresponsible counterfactual reporting.

American's have a bad habit of wantign so much but not wanting to pay for it.

And CGen, nothing in your linked article mentions anything about Obama using tax payer money to fly in pizza from St. Louis.

"Whatever happened, the restaurant says the owner and his partner packed dough, cheese and pizza pans in their suitcases and flew to Washington."Seems to me they flew themselves over, and the controversy stems from not getting their pizza from Chicago which I believe invented the deep dish pizza. IT's a cute harmless story. What is not cute however is the ad below from Fox News endorsing the tea party


Completely disingenuous journalism to report the news and endorse it all at once.

conservative generation said...


You're right on the article. Here's a left example from MSNBC.

We are led to believe that Tea Parties are being funded.

"NBC's First Read noted that the main Web site for the Wednesday events, Tax Day Tea Party, is funded by conservative groups, and a public records search shows it is registered to Allen B. Fuller, who creates Web sites for Republican officials and who used to be a legislative aide to GOP Sen. Richard Shelby. The site also shows where demonstrations are being held and who is organizing protests"

Notice there was no financial information confirming that payments had been received. Nope! Just connect the dots as I made the mistake of doing with Obama. The person with the site is a conservative and therefore must be getting funding.

More later, I'm out of time ;)

GROG said...

"Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all."
-- John Maynard Keynes

Devrim said...

Wait till Cap&Trade gets in, and you will be in that 100% taxed when you turn the electric switch on. That is how he is planning to pay for the health care.

The Law said...

Well, I am fortunate that California cares about the environment.... they have been making upgrades to the grid in this state for the past couple of years. When cap n trade kicks in (3 years from now), my electric bill will cost less. So if states want to continue to pour pollutants into the air, go ahead and continue. I fail to understand the argument, that a one time cost to improve the efficiency of the grid, and in turn save the business and the consumer lots of money down the road is not a good thing. Cap n trade doesnt even mean switiching to green energy, but even an investment in better ai filtering technology for power plants.

They finished the work on grid improvements in SoCal Edison, and my bill is already $10 cheaper than it was the previous month.

I just don't get it. Like I said, no one likes the bailouts. Or taxes. But I don't think a lot of people who favor this tea party is considering the future... here and now yes we are spending money, but thats the nature of investments... you put a lot on the table initially, and then if the investment was good then everyone is better off for it.

Joseph M. Fasciana said...

I like your take on this whole bunch of crap. I see it as a pathetic facade for hatred and bigotry.

Any 1/2wit knows tarp and the aig, fanny and freddie bailouts began with Bush,

We are all getting the largest tax break since Reagan.

Accusing Obama of being from another country, he was vetted by the republican administration for gods sake.

All of a sudden the wingnuts are fiscally responsible when they didn't say peep for 8 years of Republicans totally fucking up this country from spending the largest surplus ever left to an administration to letting people drown, live on TV (Katrina)(not on fox though) and the rest of the disasters they mishandled not to mention lying to start a war, torturing, rendition,outing a cia agent, no bid contracts to cheney co-horts at xe, blah blah blah blah you know I can go on forever.



Mark Meloy said...

FYI, the tax totals you mention on a million dollars in earnings per year are off. Remember, the 3% increase is not on the total, but anything over the $250,000 threshold. The $30,000 increase is really $22,500.

Anonymous said...

"Any sane person knows that “fair and balanced” means “unfair and unbalanced right-wing, psycho-babble propaganda.”

You said it perfectly.

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