Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A good discussion or debate topic

I was emailed this article and thought it might ignite a good discussion or maybe even a good debate. I am interested to hear from everyone. What are your opinions?

About the Author:

Linda R. Monk, J.D., is a constitutional scholar, journalist, and
nationally award-winning author. A graduate of Harvard Law School , she
twice received the American Bar Association' s Silver Gavel Award, its
highest honor for law-related media. Her books include The Words We Live
By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution, Ordinary Americans: U.S.
History Through the Eyes of Everyday People, and The Bill of Rights: A
User's Guide. For more than 20 years, Ms. Monk has written commentary for
newspapers nationwide - including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los
Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune


By Linda Monk

The Crash of 2008, which is now wiping out trillions of dollars of our
people's wealth, is, like the Crash of 1929, likely to mark the end of one
era and the onset of another.

The new era will see a more sober and much diminished America .

The "Omni power" and "Indispensable Nation" we heard about in all the
hubris and braggadocio following our Cold War victory is history.

Seizing on the crisis, the left says we are witnessing the failure of
market economics, a failure of conservatism.

This is nonsense.

What we are witnessing is the collapse of Gordon Gecko ("Greed Is Good!")

What we are witnessing is what happens to a prodigal nation that ignores
history, and forgets and abandons the philosophy and principles that made
it great.

A true conservative (Rep or Dem) cherishes prudence and believes in fiscal
responsibility, balanced budgets and a self-reliant republic.

He believes in saving for retirement and a rainy day, in deferred
gratification, in not buying on credit what you cannot afford, in living
within your means.

Is that really what got Wall Street and us into this mess -- that we
followed too religiously the gospel of Robert Taft and Russell Kirk?

"Government must save us!" cries the left, as ever.

Yet, who got us into this mess if not the government -- the Fed with its
easy money, Bush with his profligate spending, and Congress and the SEC by
liberating Wall Street and failing to step in and stop the drunken orgy?

For years, we Americans have spent more than we earned.

We save nothing.

Credit card debt, consumer debt, auto debt, mortgage debt, corporate debt
-- all are at record levels.

And with pensions and savings being wiped out, much of that debt will
never be repaid.
Our standard of living is inevitably going to fall.

For foreigners will not forever buy our bonds or lend us more money if
they rightly fear that they will be paid back, if at all, in cheaper

We are going to have to learn to live again within our means.


Up through World War II, we followed the Hamiltonian idea that America
must remain economically independent of the world in order to remain
politically independent.

But this generation decided that was yesterday's bromide and we must march
bravely forward into a Global Economy, where we all depend on one another.

American companies morphed into "Global Companies" and moved plants and
factories to Mexico , Asia, China and India , and we began buying more
cheaply from abroad what we used to make at home: shoes, clothes, bikes,
cars, radios, TVs, planes, computers.

As the trade deficits began inexorably to rise to 6 percent of GDP, we
began vast borrowing from abroad to continue buying from abroad.

At home, propelled by tax cuts, war in Iraq and an explosion in social
spending, surpluses vanished and deficits reappeared and began to rise.

The dollar began to sink, and gold began to soar.

Yet, still, the promises of the politicians come.

Barack Obama will give us national health insurance and tax cuts for all
but that 2 percent of the nation that already carries 50 percent of the
federal income tax load.

John McCain is going to cut taxes, expand the military, move NATO into
Georgia and Ukraine, confront Russia and force Iran to stop enriching
uranium or "bomb, bomb, bomb," with Joe Lieberman as wartime consigliore.

Who are we kidding?

What we are witnessing today is how empires end.

The Last Superpower is unable to defend its borders, protect its currency,
win its wars or balance its budget.

Medicare and Social Security are headed for the cliff with unfunded
liabilities in the tens of trillions of dollars.

What we are witnessing today is nothing less than a Katrina-like failure
of government, of our political class, and of democracy itself, casting a
cloud over the viability and longevity of the system.

Notice who is managing the crisis.

Not our elected leaders.

Nancy Pelosi says she had nothing to do with it.

Congress is paralyzed and heading home.

President Bush is nowhere to be seen.

Hank Paulson of Goldman Sachs and Ben Bernanke of the Fed chose to bail
out Bear Sterns but let Lehman go under.

They decided to nationalize Fannie and Freddie at a cost to taxpayers of
hundreds of billions, putting the U.S. government behind $5 trillion in

They decided to buy AIG with $85 billion rather than see the insurance
giant sink beneath the waves.

An unelected financial elite is now entrusted with the assignment of
getting us out of a disaster into which an unelected financial elite
plunged the nation.

We are just spectators.

What the Greatest Generation handed down to us -- the richest, most
powerful, most self-sufficient republic in history, with the highest
standard of living any nation had ever achieved -- the baby boomers,
oblivious and self-indulgent to the end, have frittered away.

Added Comments:

How do WE THE PEOPLE put the villains who are responsible under oath and
sit them down at public hearings to determine whose necks should meet the

Hypocritically, those who had oversight responsibility - such as Senator
Chris Dodd [Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee] and Barney Frank
[Chairmen, House Financial Services Committee] who helped get us into this
mess - are on every TV channel voicing their righteous indignation and
pompously sitting on their elevated platform glaring down at those they
are chastising and grilling, trying to pass the blame to others.

WE THE PEOPLE should be on the elevated platform in judgment and execution
of the likes of Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and the rest of the band of
thieves and conspirators who are responsible for the financial collapse of
the USA .
To name just a few of the culprits:
Henry Paulson Jr - Secretary of the Treasury

Alan Greenspan & Ben Bernanke -- Chairmen Federal Reserve

Christopher Cox - SEC Chairman.

But not to worry -- YOUR PUBLIC SERVANTS who fear being voted out of
office will take their self-awarded Golden Parachute Congressional
Retirement, give WE THE PEOPLE the finger one last time and head for their
safe havens as the World Citizens they are.

However, before they waddle off into the sunset, they will go on record
one last time denouncing corporate greed, lavish salaries and bonuses for
their key felons at Fannie May, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers & AIG.

Meanwhile, WE THE PEOPLE fiddle while Rome burns and are too lazy and
indifferent to vote all the scum out of office


Linda Monk said...

This article is a hoax that is being spread over the Internet. Please remove my bio from this article.

The original article was written by Pat Buchanan in September 2008. For more information, see below:




Linda R. Monk, J.D.
Author of The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution

Grey Fedora said...

Thanks, Linda. I had suspicions about this article being from a Rush Limbaugh-Bill O'Really-Pat Buchanon type. It contains just enough "common sense" to launch into a right-wing apologetic.
Yes, it is true we have overspent ourselves, and gotten into way too much debt, but what the article doesn't mention is for many Americans, maintaining a middle class lifestyle on a declining income is responsible for a lot of the debt. We didn't all go out and buy wide-screen TV's.
Health care and medical expenses also contribute to a large number of bankruptcies. The problem is never as simple as the pundits claim.

I have always been suspicious of the claim that "The top two percent of the population pays some huge share of taxes argument. I call it the "Bill Gates walks into the room" argument.

While it is a little more complex, and I don't have all the figures at hand to respond, but here is the principle:

Assume the median income in the US is $50,000, and the tax rate is 15%.
A person earning $50K pays $7,500 in taxes.
If you have 99 people each paying $7500, you collect $742,500 in revenue.
Now add a millionaire. his 15% comes out to $150,000. Add this to the 99 other people, and you have collected $892,500 in taxes.

Now comes the hat trick: $150,000 is 16% of 892,500.
$7,500 is .85% of $892,500.
So, by this logic, the millionaire pays 16% of the total taxes, while everyone else pays less than 1%! Sounds so unfair when you look at it this way.

Grey Fedora said...

I massaged the figures a little, and decided to call it the "Bill Gates and Warren Buffet walk into the room Principle."

Instead of mere millionaires, assume a couple billionaires (the much maligned "top 2%") step in.

Now there are 98 people making $50K, and their total taxes are $735,000.
Bill and Warren each have a billion, so their share comes to $150,000,000 each. (They get to keep the remaining $750,000,000)
Add their collective $300,000,000 to the $735,000 the others paid in, and the total tax revenues are $300,735,000.
The $300,000,000 that Bill and Warren paid is indeed 99% of tax revenues. So, the tax system is unfair to billionaires.

File under Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.

RedWing said...

Our tax system is completely fair. You can't just look at the numbers. You have to look at the fact that they made that money because of the wonderfulness that is the America. They made all their millions on the backs of us making $50,000 and it's only fair that they pay more.

Anyone who doesn't agree with that, is Republican.

Anonymous said...

Redwing- maybe the folks making so much money "on your back" should just go out of business and that would solve your problem. Sounds like you have a JOB. Most people make the choice to either HAVE A JOB or CREATE JOBS FOR OTHERS. Your lack of ambition/ desire to create jobs or choice of career does not mean those that GIVE YOU A JOB owe more in taxes. They could argue they are being charitable enough in employing you.