I have already tackled the true souls of the standard Stupidparty candidates in various blog posts that can be found here. But now I am on a different mission – to try and find some actual intelligent thoughts that these politicians may have let slip, and figure how they compare to Democrats, and whether such thoughts have any relevance within the Stupidparty.
By definition it is going to be a tough task to find positive material about individuals who are so deep in the pockets of various oligarchs and so lacking in intellectual integrity that they happily not only pander to their base, but also incite the bigotry and ignorance that is its hallmark of this base.
Jeb! Bush!!! and Rick Santorum talk game, but not a good game, on the issue of income discrepancy:
This is difficult for Rick Santorum for three reasons: 1) No one in his base is interested in the issue, 2) No one is really interested in Santorum anymore (he had his chance), 3) Most important is his inability to understand the term Middle Class. He thinks the term Middle Class is bad – and I totally agree, but our reasons for disdaining the term are polar opposites. He has called the term Marxist, he says that the US has no classes – and, evidently everyone is an oligarch living in a mansion. Of course America has classes. It is just that they are based off of wealth and not bloodlines. By not using the term Middle Class it appears like he just wants to shove an inconvenient truth under the mat. Where I differ is that I believe the use of the term Middle Class already shoves the real issue under the table. Like, who is not in the Middle Class? Since the scope of this category is so massive, one can never address the even bigger issue – the struggling class. Like Voldemort, it is a class whose name can never be mentioned.
Let’s give Santorum the benefit of the doubt and grant that he has not just spotted the obvious Stupidparty Achilles heel (before the continuing erosion of democracy can cement the present income discrepancy trends) — but has found a sincere, worthwhile and novel (for Stupidparty) campaign issue. But first we must ask if he has the foggiest notion of what he is talking about:
The National Review comments, “Santorum is one of many GOP candidates who have yet to clearly define why the American worker hasn’t received a pay raise in a decade or more, while the cost of family basics continues to rise. The solutions he offers — anti-regulation, flat tax — seem boilerplate. The integration of anti-immigration into his economic message might be politically potent (or might drive away Latino working families), but it is bad economics.”
As Forbes reports: How would a flat tax affect low- and middle-income households?
“A flat tax would be much more regressive than the current income tax. For one thing, it’s unlikely to include the refundable tax credits (like the EITC and child credit) that augment the earnings of low earners. It’s not impossible to add refundable credits, but I’ve never seen them in a flat tax proposal. As a result, poor people will pay a larger share of their income than they do at present. Middle-income people will also pay more.”
There are many problems with this, but there is more: The New York Times analyzed Santorum’s prior plan:
“He would cut capital gains and dividend tax rates to 12 percent, from 15 percent, and triple the personal deduction for each child. He would repeal the alternative minimum tax. He would cut the corporate tax rate in half, increase the research and development tax credit and set the rate at zero for manufacturers. He would eliminate the estate tax, or the “death tax” in his lexicon. He would eliminate “marriage tax penalties throughout the federal tax code.”
So not even close to intelligent ideas, these supply-side trickle-down policies have been totally debunked.
Jeb! Bush!!! talks game, but not a good game, on the issue of income discrepancy. Like Santorum, Bush sees the absurdity of the Stupidparty position, but at his core really does not give a shit. It’s just politics. Here we have the most mollycoddled presidential wannabe in the history of America, a person who lives off connections, yet has zero talent. The family connections gave him Florida to play with and if he had cared a damn about income discrepancy he would have given some indication at that time. But let us look instead at what happened:
The National Journal reports: Montanaro was head of the Florida legislature’s Economic and Demographic Research office and chaired the panel of state economists who estimated how much tax revenue Florida could expect each year. He said there were a number of taxes Bush could have targeted that did disproportionately affect poorer Floridians—taxes on utility bills, for example, or the sales tax.
“There were other taxes he could have gone after. He just gravitated to the big wealth tax,” said Montanaro, who now teaches economics and Spanish literature at Carthage College in Wisconsin.
Gelber, who enjoyed long email debates with Bush on issues ranging from education to car booster seats, said Bush’s policies reflected his belief in the supply-side economic philosophy that helping the rich—or “risk takers” and “job creators,” as Bush calls them—ultimately helps everyone.
But that worldview, Gelber said, would do nothing to address income inequality in the United States, just as it did nothing to address income inequality in Florida. “He didn’t help that as governor. He exacerbated that as governor,” Gelber said, “Maybe we’re just not paying our low-wage workers sufficiently. How about that?”
The take away here is Jeb!’s infantile belief in supply-side trickle-down economics. I believe that trickle up is approximately 700 percent more productive that trickle down. Further, we are seeing the futility of trickle down in Sam Brownback’s Utopian Kansas Koch Kingdom.
Scott Walker had decided to stake his national campaign on continuing to evolve to the far right. Obviously that means the total annihilation of unions –which will further accelerate income discrepancy trends. And just like Koch puppet Sam Brownback, Scott Walker’s visions for clean energy now miraculously mirror those of the Koch empire. Previously, Walker had said he wants “as many different energy…options as possible out there.” He added that the wind energy tax credit “served a purpose.”
NBC reports: “But Walker’s record as governor paints a different picture. During his first term, he proposed a bill that wind energy advocates said would be “the biggest regulatory barrier” to wind energy in the country, according to a quote in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The measure required an 1800-foot barrier between any wind turbine and property line.
More recently, in his latest budget released in February, Walker proposed $250,000 to study the health impacts of wind energy on residents who live close to turbines. Critics say it’s a way to stall further production of wind energy.
So, I tried but failed to find a positive spin on any of Walker’s positions. Perhaps Rubio might be thirsting to avoid drinking all that Stupidparty Kool Aid – environment, no, same sex marriage, no, foreign policy no, no, no departures from Stupidparty folly. Perhaps income discrepancy? It’s worth a look.
The Washington Post reports: The latest version of Rubio’s tax plan, which he released with fellow Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in March, shrinks the income tax down to two rates, lowering the top rate in the process, and includes new tax breaks for working families. It also eliminates all taxes on dividends and capital gains. That’s where rich taxpayers cash in. They are overwhelmingly the ones in the economy who draw income from capital, such as holdings and sales of stocks.
“The benefits of low tax rates on capital gains accrue disproportionately to the wealthy,” the non-partisan Tax Policy Center has written, “In 2013, an estimated 94 percent of the tax benefit of low rates on capital gains will go to taxpayers with cash incomes over $200,000, and three-fourths of the benefits will accrue to millionaires.”
The Washington Post reports: “We consulted the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, which calculated an earlier version of this proposal that Lee introduced in 2013. Under the 2013 plan, 61.5 percent of taxpayers will see a tax cut, and 12 percent will see a tax increase. The center found it would disproportionately help the rich, and raise taxes on poor families. The biggest difference between this analysis and the Tax Foundation’s analysis is the refundable tax credit.”
Now to be fair – it is too early to totally dismiss this plan as not meeting the obvious litmus test: “will it reverse income discrepancy trends?” as some aspects of the plan have not been clarified. On the flip side, tax cuts, especially for the wealthy (as the economic multiplier effect is anemic) have to be funded by cuts in programs hurting guess who? This was why the Ryan Lying Romney Economic plan was such a big fail – great tax cuts, but how were they going to be paid for? The asset-stripping Gordon Gekko Mormon always refused to provide an answer – a plan that no respected economist endorsed (the one they cited has since backtracked as they got caught making multiple errors).
Ethically challenged rude bully Chris Christie comes from a blue state indicating a mandatory ability to indulge in intelligent conversation. But having become Governor and then getting close to his goal of bullying all opponents into submission – creating massive political capital – he has been veering strongly to being more Stupidparty. The wind has been taken out of his sails because of the Bridge-gate debacle and ongoing legal questions. But he has so far failed quite spectacularly to throw his New Jersey weight around in the true Stupidparty territory. He clearly has zero interest in the Smartparty platform discussed below. He attacked Hillary Clinton’s position on voter suppression, citing voter fraud as an issue. But it is not difficult to prove that voter fraud by the voter is mathematically irrelevant. Therefore Chris Christie is your orthodox Stupidparty nincompoop, if not that, then he would be an insidious charlatan.
I am struggling to find intelligent sounding stuff. Admittedly I could no doubt find such material under the name of Pataki – but really what the hell does Pataki think he’s up to? He had a reasonable career as Governor, evidently sincerely cared about the Adirondacks, and now he is going have to go the same way as Clint Eastwood, Charlton Heston, Jack Welch, Dick Morris, Donald Sterling, Dennis Miller – determined to destroy their legacies by pandering to idiots, or simply becoming idiots. Fiorina –wow what a weak candidate –I had no idea how bad she was until I did some digging.
What are the big issues? A) A thriving economy that creates jobs whilst reversing present income discrepancy trends; B) Restoring a functioning democracy, and; C) preventing mankind from being on a collision course with man-made mass extinction. How do we correct these issues? Well I happen to have the bare minimum solutions.
So having digested that, ask yourself – is any Stupidparty candidate likely to make a dent on any of these issues (issues that the vast majority of Americans would support, especially if they understood the dynamics of each – which I explain here)?
So what are the Democratic Presidential Candidates saying? How does the substance of their message compare to the substance of the best of the Stupidparty output?
“I think many people have the mistaken impression that Congress regulates Wall Street,” Sanders told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in May 2012, “In truth that’s not the case. The real truth is that Wall Street regulates the Congress.”
“In my view, a corporation is not a person,” Sanders wrote Dec. 8, 2011 in the Huffington Post, “A corporation does not have First Amendment rights to spend as much money as it wants, without disclosure, on a political campaign. Corporations should not be able to go into their treasuries and spend millions and millions of dollars on a campaign in order to buy elections.”
“We got a collapsing middle class,” Sanders told Bill Moyers in October 2014, “We have more wealth and income inequality today than we’ve had since the 1920s. We have all of these enormous issues. And what big money can do is put an unbelievable amount of TV and radio ads out there to deflect attention from the real issues facing the American people.”
“You have to bring people together who may not agree on every issue,” he said, “but who understand that the middle class is collapsing and we are moving toward an oligarchic form of society, where the billionaires will control the economy and the political life of this country.”
“Forty years after Barbara Jordan fought to extend the Voting Rights Act, its heart has been ripped out,” she said, “What is happening is a sweeping effort to dis-empower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people, and young people from one end of our country to the other,” she continued, “Since the Supreme Court eviscerated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, many of the states that previously faced special scrutiny because of a history of racial discrimination have proposed and passed new laws that make it harder than ever to vote.”
“We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all—even if it takes a constitutional amendment,” Clinton said in opening remarks at a roundtable event with Kirkwood students and instructors. (This is insufficient)
“I will do everything I can to appoint Supreme Court justices who protect the right to vote and do not protect the right of billionaires to buy elections.”
As a senator, Hillary Clinton supported progressive tax policies that required millionaires to pay their fair share. She opposed the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, and she supported a variety of middle-class tax cuts, including tax credits for student loan recipients, and keeping in place the tax cuts for those who make under $250,000 a year.
Clinton has said, “that inherited wealth and concentrated wealth is not good for America,” and she has consistently voted against repealing the estate tax on millionaires, doing so in 2001, 2002, and 2006.
The U.S. can become the “clean energy superpower of the 21st century,” Hillary Clinton said Thursday, urging businesses and the government to build up the renewable sector, “Climate change is the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face,” the former secretary of State and likely 2016 Democratic front-runner said Thursday at Harry Reid’s annual energy conference in Las Vegas, “The threat is real, and so is the opportunity … if we make the hard choices.”
Gun Culture: “We cannot let a minority of people, and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people, hold a view point that terrorizes the majority of people,”
The Hillary finally nails the gun issue (not long after the penny had dropped for Obama). “You know, the NRA’s position reminds me of negotiating with the Iranians or the communists, the NRA tries to keep gun owners — the ones who are members — really upset all the time so they can keep collecting their money, because they tell them they’re the only thing that’s going to stop the black helicopters from landing in the front yard and people’s guns being seized that’s the argument they make. And it works with some people and it has turned a lot of people into absolutists themselves.”
But of course Obama really nailed the issue: “And I would particularly ask America’s gun owners who are using those guns properly, safely, to hunt for sport, for protecting their families, to think about whether your views are being properly represented by the organization that suggests it is speaking for you,”
We await Hillary’s fleshed-out explanation of how she will actually reverse income discrepancy trends, etc. It is her right for strategic reasons to be non-specific at this time – but it is also somewhat concerning. Bernie’s statements are less equivocal, but one must bear in mind that he is an independent from Vermont – a state that is very healthy and the polar opposite of the very sad, backward, impoverished, gun-toting, polluted, highly incarcerated, less free, uneducated, asset-stripped, crime-ridden, bigoted, myth-driven environment in most Stupidparty states. At the very least, having Bernie in the race will force Hillary to understand how angry she should be and to remember why the Democrats lost the midterms elections.
So this leads back the beginning, an epic search for intelligent life in Stupidparty land. You might get the occasional mirage that disappears on approach, you might hope to stumble upon an oasis, but any such refreshment is only accessible to about 2 percent of the of the Stupidparty base –which is what John Huntsman discovered in 2012. A land deprived of substance, of enlightening ideas, thunderous selflessness, not even the drip-drip of a few truths, any fonts of knowledge, wells of intellectual integrity, the shady palms of empathy –without that, you have nothing but a desert.
So now we know that we have no other option: Nobody respects cowards. No more compromise. Stupidparty will trump cowardice every time. When the time comes, “Never mind about maneuvers, go straight at them.” —Admiral Horatio Nelson