Brad Smith (jesus_h_biscuit) wrote,
Brad Smith

Since You Asked...

This post was originally supposed to be a response to a friend of a friend on Facebook, but it was too long to post there. Start by reading the graphic, so that what I've posted beside it will make more sense in context.

I'm glad you asked these questions and I will take my time to answer with as much detail as possible so that it may help make it clear what my position is on these matters. The reality of these issues (that squares itself with the facts - not opinions) of what the tea party's collective ideologues wish to pass off as the threats to American society simply don't gel with logic, reason, or fact.

My immediate family consists of myself and my partner and our household income just puts us in the middle class. We are not in any credit debt and only owe a little under half of the total amount for our car. No payments are ever late for any of our bills, we live under a strictly maintained budget that allows for retirement, 401K, health and life insurance premiums, household necessities (groceries, utilities, rent, etc.) and all other necessary fees. My family does not create any drain on the economy and we are responsible for ourselves. We are part of the 95% of Americans that enjoy the tax credit offered by the current administration to all who earn less than $250K annually, which you may well be part of in that income bracket. I won't however ask you the same questions about where your income goes. None of this changes the fact that as American citizens, and as I've mentioned before in the previous comment to Linda's post, taxes are the lowest they’ve been in 60-80 years, far lower than under several Republican presidents. Taxes on dividends and capital gains are far below the level at which they were under President Reagan. Furthermore, 68.3% of the capital gains tax is paid by the richest 1% of Americans which have been allowed nearly a trillion dollars worth of exemptions that would give that 1% the same amount in a tax break while giving that trillion dollar tax burden to the middle class, while the bottom 95% of Americans pay just 10% of them, so it is unclear how tea party darlings like Romney, Bachmann, Palin, Cain, West, Huntsman, and Gingrich think a capital gains tax cut can be fashioned as a middle class tax break. These politicians have said they back getting rid of the capital gains tax, which now has a top rate of 15% for most assets held for more than a year. That position puts them at odds with bipartisan deficit-reduction efforts over the past year that have called for lowering tax rates on ordinary income and taxing capital gains and wage income at the same rates. Bachmann has previously called for cutting the 35% corporate tax rate down to 9%, a move that would cost more than $2 trillion over ten years. This call for reducing or even eliminating corporate taxes comes at a time when corporate after tax profits are the highest they’ve been since 1947. Bachmann also repeatedly called for the elimination of taxes on money that corporations bring to the U.S. from overseas, even though such a move has not worked in the past to spur job creation and would cost about $80 billion over ten years. I'd love to know how the American middle and lower class conservatives can justify such ridiculous nonsense in any way that benefits them. Eliminating taxes on capital gains would widen the federal budget deficit. The current preferential tax rates on capital gains and dividends will result in $84.2 billion in forgone revenue for the Treasury this year, according to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

Given that those who identify as tea party citizens see themselves as being a movement created by the working class that claims to use its voice against the seeming injustice of labor unions and an unfair tax burden, it truly irks me that they fail to accept the reality of what truly built, finances, and controls their movement. In short, self professed tea party 'patriots' are being lied to by the wizard when it's corporate self interests that go completely against their own personal self interests behind the curtain, pulling the strings and pushing all of the buttons in an unbelievable Ponzi scheme. Koch Industries, they of the billionaire oil brothers who are taking advantage of the uninformed nature of outrage among a conservative fringe aligning itself as a grassroots movement, underwrites this entire organization by the billionaires in the Koch network of donors. In documents outlining the June, 2010 donor meeting, billionaires like Paul Singer, Ken Griffin, Rich DeVos, and John Childs are regular attendees of these events, which solicit multi-million donations for an elaborate array of right-wing front groups, from tea party organizers like Americans for Prosperity to stealth advertising campaigns like "Public Notice." Unfortunately, many still report on tea party groups like Americans for Prosperity as bonafide grassroots organizations. That's not grassroots, that's corporations as people masquerading as being truly invested in the working class' best interests. YOU ARE BEING LIED TO. The acceptance of lies as a means of justifying anger over the 2008 election results by conservatives is what I find moronic, just as I find it moronic for liberals to continue burying their heads in sand by supporting candidates and career politicians who are failing them as well.

The demonization of labor unions by tea party candidates and their supporters is baffling, considering the reality of what is provided by the labor unions and what little is offered as an alternative to them by these candidates and supporters who wish to abolish them and do away with collective bargaining. The reason there is nothing to counter unions that provides the American worker any substantive set of rights is simply a matter of filling the coffers of the haves on the backs of the have nots. There are various recurring themes Republicans parrot ad nauseam because their supporters tend to believe fallacies over facts regardless how obtuse the GOP’s assertions. Despite the incredibly self-defeating support of tax breaks for the wealthy, elimination of the minimum wage, and cuts to services all Americans pay for, Republican voters adamantly defend GOP policies that contribute to their own decline and eventual demise. There are some Republican contentions that garner traction because the media fails to correct factual misconceptions and outright fallacies about the efficacy of the Obama Administration’s efforts to bolster the economy and create jobs. Economic theory is irrelevant when simple common sense and reality-based facts are available that refute Republicans’ claims, and although facts are a pariah to conservatives, they inform voters that the economic downturn and slow job growth is solely the fault of Republican malfeasance. The American middle class was built by unions. Unions gave us the weekend, ended child labor, enabled employer based health insurance coverage and the Family Medical Leave Act, and yet, despite the many benefits unions have provided the United States, right-wing politicians and business interests have for years sought to undermine the ability of Americans to organize to demand better pay, benefits, and conditions. From the anti-worker Taft-Hartley Act to the recent GOP-led efforts to kill public worker collective bargaining rights, these assaults have successfully decreased union membership over time. In the prosperous 1950′s, nearly one in three Americans was in a union. Today, it is closer to one in ten. This has had a detrimental effect on the American middle class by shrinking its income. Labor unions fight for a fair and healthy democracy by increasing the voting power of working people by helping provide benefits, fair wages, and pensions, which is exactly why capitalists despise them and why the big corporations making enormous profits wish to dismantle them - and in doing so take away democracy from the hands of those who create their profits. The American people are sick of working to pay for the wealthy and corporations’ entitlements.

Republicans have claimed for two years that Democrats and President Obama have spent America into a black hole that the country can only escape by continuing tax cuts for the wealthy and their corporations, and by enacting more Draconian spending cuts on programs aimed at helping the poor. Utter nonsense. According to statistics from the United States Government, spending by the Obama Administration has increased by 7.2% from 2009 to FY 2012. Spending during George W. Bush’s term increased by 88% between 2002 and 2009 and those figures refute Republican claims that Democrats increased the size of government and are spending the country into insolvency. During Bush’s term, the spending increases enriched corporate wealth, killed over 100,000 people in Iraq and Afghanistan and displaced millions more, and provided subsidies to the oil industry. Another lie that Republicans have promoted is that President Obama has increased the nation’s debt that is responsible for the loss of jobs. First, the deficit has no impact on job creation any more than Republican spending cuts will create jobs, but the President has certainly not tripled the deficit. The statistics belie Republican claims that Obama tripled the deficit, but despite the facts, Republicans repeat their lies because they play well to their base who are too stupid to do any research to verify their party’s assertions. Part of the deficit increase Obama is responsible for was the stimulus that Republicans claim did not create one job. The stimulus created 1.1 million private sector jobs and saved the American automobile industry from bankruptcy and death. It is worth noting again, that regardless what the president does, the deficit will continue increasing because of the interest on Bush’s debt to fund two unnecessary wars, tax cuts for the wealthy, and an expensive Medicare prescription plan that continues to enrich pharmaceutical companies at the expense of struggling sick people. I myself was expected to pay $166 for a mere 6 pills last week alone, a personal cost to me WITH insurance coverage in a prescription plan by BCBS.

People like tea party king Jim DeMint profess that we don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem - outright lying to the American people in the oft-repeated GOP talking point of the same vein. DeMint claims that government revenues are at a 'record high', when the fact is they are at a 60 year low. He said "Four of the last five years, we’ve had record levels of revenue. And next year we have projected the highest revenue levels in history. We don’t have a revenue problem." This could only be accurate using nominal dollars to measure revenues, instead of revenue as a percentage of GDP, which is used by all official arbiters on revenue matters, including the Congressional Budget Office. And as a percentage of GDP, government revenue is nowhere near a 'record' high, as DeMint baselessly and falsely claims. In 2010, it was at its lowest level in more than 60 years, according to data from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), at just at 14.9%. Next year, revenues will still be at just 16.6% of GDP, several points below the average rates under every president since Franklin Roosevelt, including Reagan, so he's lying about that as well and offering -0- evidence for such a ridiculous claim - and I've yet to see any conservative call him out on it. The record high was 20.6% in 2000, which coincided with a balanced budget. On top of lost revenue from the massive Bush tax cuts, the recession devastated economic output and thus the American tax base. DeMint is a liar, and the base eats it up.

Republicans continue claiming that tax increases on business is responsible for the poor job creation environment. Candidates like Mitt Romney make fallacious claims such as this one: "Our corporate tax rate is among the world’s highest. It leaves U.S. firms at a competitive disadvantage and induces them to park their profits abroad, benefiting the rest of the world at our expense." The truth is that while the U.S. corporate tax rate is high on paper, once all the credits, deductions, and loopholes are accounted for, the U.S. has the second-lowest corporate taxes in the developed world. He also posits that the federal government has estimated the price tag for its regulations at $1.75 trillion, which people in the tea party eat up gluttonously, and in reality this is a bogus number favored by the big business lobby, and widely cited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It comes from a study that, according to John Irons of the Economic Policy Institute, "contains basic conceptual mistakes and relies on extraordinarily poor data. Its results should neither be used as a valid measure of the economic costs of regulation nor as a guide for policy," he said. Republicans blame the economic downturn on President Obama despite the S&P report that said Republican policies ruined the American economy. Republicans know their agenda is responsible for the lousy economic picture but their base believes their rhetoric in spite of the reality that is right in front of them because they are wont to believe Republican lies. Speaking of those lies, a McClatchy report on small business owners directly contradicts GOP claims that taxes and regulations are killing job growth. In fact, those claims only apply to giant corporations, NOT those of the small businesses the GOP claims to champion. When it's asked what specific regulations harm small businesses which account for about 65% of U.S. jobs, the Chamber of Commerce points to health care, banking and national labor. Yet all these issues weigh much more heavily on big corporations than on small business. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is among the most vocal critics of the Obama administration, blaming excessive regulation and the administration's overhaul of health care laws for creating an environment of uncertainty that's hampering job creation.

Let me be clear about Obama. I am no longer a supporter of this President's management, which I've seen for the past year now as severely lacking and incompetent in accomplishing progressive achievements that benefit all equally. I am not a Democrat, I am an independent. I wouldn't claim allegiance to any political party that refuses time and again to stand up for principles that are fair, just, and rooted in equality with the kind of tenacity and muscle I expect, and for the record I'm just as fed up with the Dems as I am with the GOP now.
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